Thursday, December 14, 2006

Many Directions

This is the first week since I started this that nothing particularly passionate comes to mind to write about. The blogosphere is such a shrill place at times, and I've been at a loss to really have anything to be overly concerned about, for which I really can't complain. This doesn't mean I'm not busy, though. I've got numerous projects that I'm trying to split time between, not the least of which is completing Christmas shopping and getting cards, letters, and gifts out to loved ones here and out of town. Online shopping has helped with this quite a bit, but I'm still trolling locally for a few things. Made some good progress today on a number of fronts.

I've volunteered at KAFM, our local community public radio station, since it opened its' doors in 1999. I've mainly been behind the scenes, helping with clerical work, some technical maintenance, and answering the phones during fund drives. This year, the opportunity presented itself to take a role in the production of a regular program at the station, and I felt called to give it a try.

Words is a program that solicits participation from school-age children, and involves the students researching a word in the dictionary, learning how to spell it, and use it in a sentence. We have a standard script that they read, and they come to the station either individually or as part of a class field trip to record their words and see what a radio station is like. After they record their words, we find topical music that somehow goes with the word, and edit and mix these into a 1 minute segment that runs three times each weekday.

I'm co-producing the program with Linda Skinner, another volunteer who has a teaching and broadcasting background. Between Linda's connections at the schools, excellent rapport with teachers and kids, and my technical contributions, we are making slow progress in developing a process to recruit participants, get them to the station to record, and effect post-production in time to have all of the next month's words ready by the end of the preceding month.

It's been a daunting process so far, with some unexpected pitfalls, but a great learning experience and a chance to connect with different people. It's been fun trying to figure out music that matches up with the word or its' example sentence, and using software to edit and mix the child's voice and music. I'm optimistic about our ability to maintain and expand this community outreach, including taking Words "on the road" to involve schools who may be unable to participate due to travel constraints or distance. It feels good and right to be involved with this.

My brother-in-law will be coming in from Massachusetts to spend Christmas with us. He lives in a group home on Cape Cod, and a family that is visiting relatives in Denver will escort him to DIA, where I will pick him up. He's an interesting guy who hasn't been on a plane in probably 20 years, so I hope things will go well. My wife will be making sure he's OK while he's here, because I'll be working and getting Words put together for January. I hope to be able to show him the usual cool things around GJ while he's here, and we'll be driving him back to Denver after the holiday.

There is one thing I saw today that I thought was an impressive use of the media to get an important message out. The Rocky Mountain News' coverage of the ICE raid on the Swift plant in Greeley included a blurb about the response of the United Way of Weld County to issues pertaining to families and children affected by family members, in many cases both parents, being arrested during the operation. Information about this effort is available here.

While I agree with Ralph D'Andrea's take on the issue, I am compelled to consider the plight of those who are guilty of nothing but following their parents into this country. The social service infrastructure in the Greeley area is likely going to sustain a significant impact from the fallout of these arrests, and while the federal government is indeed not at fault for doing their job, there is an opportunity for compassion and service here. My check is in the mail.

That's how I'm managing the numerous directions in which we all seem to get pulled when the holidays and the end of another year arrive. Best wishes to you in your navigation, too.

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