Meet Alisa from the UX team + Max, Content Producer for Rural Action: Watershed Restoration

Meet Alisa Kessler!

Alisa is working with Project C team members to make the user experience the best it can be! She is a senior in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University.

Hometown: Oakwood (Dayton), Ohio

What is your favorite part of working on Project C?
"My peers. It's a really good group of smart, creative students that make getting along and learning from each other come easy! They've all been very supportive."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens?
"I spend so much of my time in my apartment, but on nice days when I find time, I love relaxing on college green."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
"Athens has great food to offer. I love getting Big Mama's Burritos, Slovaki's, and O'Betty's on late nights out. I eat a lot of Jimmy John's, too. Insomnia Cookies is banging. Casa is great and I'm going to try Salaam this weekend!"

Describe your dream job:
"I would love to design for a professional sports team, preferably the NFL or NBA."

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
"I'd love to be able to jump from one spot to the next, kind of like a time warp in the sense that I can go to one place to another in the blink of an eye. That way I could be wherever I wanted and do whatever makes me happiest."

Do you prefer the toilet paper to roll from the top or the bottom?
"Oh my gosh, definitely from the top, do not get me started on how annoying it is to grab toilet paper that's rolled from the bottom, smh!"

Where was your first job?
"Working in the annex of the Dorothy Lane Market corporate office, helping the graphic designer and IT guy. It wasn't that fun for a 15 year old so I ended up moving into the actual grocery story and worked as an associate."

The most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
"Everything that happens, happens for a reason."

Do you volunteer anywhere? 
"I volunteer at Possum Creek Stables, it's a horse boarding facility. I manage annual horse shows for their boarders and other volunteers. I love doing it because of how happy it makes everyone and they turn out to be so much fun!"

When was the last time you were nervous?
"Today. I always worry myself with the smallest things, I'm capable of making myself nervous over anything."

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
"In San Diego, California, duh."

If you were an Adobe Creative Suite program, which one would you be and why?
"Photoshop, because I'm working in it all the time!"

Were you named after anyone?
"My first name isn't, but my middle name, Iris was named after my mom's mother who was so excited to meet me, but unfortunately passed away from cancer shortly before I was born."

Meet Max Rodriguez! 

Max is a full-time CreMedian, but when he's working with the Project C team he is producing content featuring Rural Action: Watershed Restoration. He is finishing up his senior year at Ohio University, studying Video Production in the School of Media Arts & Studies. 

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

What is your favorite part about working on Project C?
"Honestly I like driving to Trimble. Its probably one of the more relaxing commutes around here and it always get me in the zone to shoot."

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University:
"There are too many to count. I've been in the Scott Quad lab for a good 50 percent of my college career and I miss having everyone in there that graduated in 2011 working late into the night and goofing around."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens?
"The roof right outside my bedroom."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
"Union Street Diner Baby!"

Do you have any hidden talents?
"I can speak like Donald Duck"

The most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us."

What’s the #1 most played song on your iTunes right now?
"1986" by Big K.R.I.T.

If you were an Adobe Creative Suite program, which one would you be and why?
"I'd be Final Cut Pro because Adobe Creative Suite programs are too conformist"

Three words that describe you best:
Jedi. Ninja. Pirate.

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
"I like to catch up on my research, AKA sit around and browse Vimeo, music videos, and listen to some new music."


More of the Project C A-Team: Meet Ryan + Natalie

Meet Ryan Young!

Ryan is a senior studying photojournalism in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. He is a videographer producing content for United Campus Ministry. Ryan has held internships across the midwest; this summer he is taking his talents to the District Capital, working for The Washington Times. Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RMLYphoto

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University: 
"I have the best group of friends in the world, so every time we hang out it's a new favorite memory. I know it sounds like a cop out, but it's true!"

What is your favorite part of working on Project C? 
"Just the fact that there is a very tangible incentive for these organizations to let us in to their lives. A lot of times in the world of documenting it feels as though all you do is take, so it's nice to know that we're helping to give back with Project C."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens? 
"Tough call...but I'm going to have to go with Ali Baba's gyro buggy."

What do you think has been the greatest invention in the last ten years? 
"Smart phones are so incredible, but I also kind of hate them at times so I'll say smart phones are simultaneously the best and worst invention of the last 10 years."

Do you have any hidden talents? 
"An encyclopedic ability to memorize song lyrics--If you could even call that a talent."

What is the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
"There's no sense in fixating on how problems occurred, it's better instead to focus on how to fix them…or something like that."

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? 
"Spiderman. I've already got the photographer aspect down. So, I've been hanging outside of Clippinger Laboratories waiting for my radioactive spider... "

What’s the #1 most played song on your iTunes right now? 
"Summer Skin" by Death Cab For Cutie

What are your favorite things to do in your free time? 
"Hang out with friends, golf with friends, make music with friends, go to the beach with friends, go to concerts with friends."

Meet Natalie Schultz!

Natalie is a senior at Ohio University studying Interactive Multimedia. She contributes her time and talents to Project C by working as lead designer for the Rural Action: Watershed Restoration content. When she's not working on Project C, Natalie works as the graphics intern at the WOUB Center for Public Media and is a member of the Ohio University Multimedia Society. 

Hometown: Dayton, OH

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University: 
"When everything was new. I can't think of anything better than being a freshman here at OU. I wanted to get out and see everything Athens had to offer. It's this magical place that I still can't seem to get enough of; It's beautiful here."

What is your favorite part about working on Project C?
"I really enjoy the people. These people are so passionate about this project and how they can use their talents to help others. It has been very cool to be involved with the growth of Project C that has occurred over the past year. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with and be a part of such a fantastic project and group of individuals."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens? 
"Strouds Run State Park is one of my favorite spots around here, getting out on the lake whilst in a canoe is preferred. My eyes can only take so much pixelated light, I need the real thing."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
"This is tough, but since I'm especially partial to any kind of pizza, I'm going to have to say Jackie O's. Love that spent grain goodness."

Do you have any hidden talents?
"I can play songs on the piano by ear. I don't do it often and I haven't really played in front of many people."

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
"E.T., not only do I absolutely love this movie, but I would give anything to fly around in a bike basket with Elliott and his cronies. That, and he ends up consuming quite a few M&M's."

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
"Breakfast foods for sure. I have recently been on a cottage cheese pancake kick. It's my mom's recipe and they sound gross, but they put regular pancakes to shame. I usually don't tell people what they are before they try them."

Three words that describe you best:
Carefree. Goofy. Funky Fresh.


Meet Andrew + Callie: Content Producer + Event Planner for Project C

Meet Andrew Thomas!

Andrew is a senior studying video production in the school of Media Arts & Studies in the Scripps College of Communication. Andrew is one of the lead producers for The Gathering Place project. He has worked on a variety of videos in local markets and internationally, traveling to film in locations such as Indonesia, Germany, the Bahamas, and Brazil. 

Hometown: Syracuse, New York

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University: 
"Canoeing down the Hocking River on a beautiful day earlier this spring with some of my best friends."

What is your favorite part of working on Project C? 
"My favorite part is during the editing process when I see all of the elements of the story come together."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens? 
"I like jump around, Athens is great because there’s a lot to see and explore."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens? 
It would probably be Lui Lui, the salmon with curry sauce is killer. 

The most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
"Don’t make the same mistake twice."

What’s the #1 most played song on your iTunes right now? 

If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be? 
A tall, skinny, lamp.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? 
"Jelly, milk, hummus, and pitas. I don’t eat these all together, I just need to go shopping."

What are your favorite things to do in your free time? 
"Seeing live music, hiking, taking photos, playing any sport, strumming on the guitar, watching documentaries, and eating ice cream."

Meet Callie Sauter!

Callie graduated from Ohio University in June 2011 with a degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism. While she is employed full-time at Ohio University, she also works with the Project C team to plan the "A Project C Premier: Celebrating Community" event on June 1.

Hometown: Middletown, Ohio

What is your favorite part of working on Project C? 
"My favorite part about working on Project C are the passionate people that have pushed so hard to raise the money and are working to get the stories made. It is great when you see a group of students who have so much else to get done and worry about, come together on their own time to make the common goal happen."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens? 
"That's a tough one, if I have to pick one place in Athens to be my favorite it would have to be Donkey Coffee with some friends. I've got some great memories of my friends and I playing games and hanging out there."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens? 
"My new favorite restaurant is Sol, their bunch is great!"

What do you think has been the greatest invention in the last ten years? 
"Probably more than 10 years ago but I would say the greatest and the worst invention has to be the cell phone. I love being able to send people a simple text message when I don't have enough to tell them over a phone call but some people also just don't call to talk on the phone anymore."

The most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received: 
"Best advice I have received is a quote, 'Nothing is impossible because the word its self says I'm possible.'"

Three words that describe you best: 
Creative, Cheerful, and Encouraging

What are your favorite things to do in your free time? 
"In my free time I like to do a variety of crafts from scrapbooking to sewing. I'm currently working on crocheting two different blankets."


Meet the Lead Animator + One of the Project C Writers

Meet Heather Germann!

Heather is a senior studying interactive multimedia in The School of Visual Communication. Heather has worked on video documentaries in Germany, interned for Ohio University Athletics and the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club. She is the lead animator for Project C.

Hometown: Van Wert, Ohio

What is your favorite part about working on Project C?
"My favorite part is witnessing first hand how much it has grown in just one year. Anyone can think of ideas on how to improve the world, but only few actually take those ideas and turn them into actions." 

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens?
"I would have to say Old Man's Cave, or if you are forcing me to stay on campus, College Green never fails on a sunny afternoon."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?

What's the #1 most played song on your iTunes right now?
"Jimi Thing" by Dave Matthews Band

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
"Princess Auroa (Sleeping Beauty), so I can catch up on all the sleep I've lost over this Project."

If you were an Adobe Creative Suite program, which one would you be?
"After Effects, because I can take all the content everyone gives to me and I make it flyyy."

Would you rather vacation in a mountain hideaway or a beach house?
"Well, I would just go to Hawaii so I can have mountains on the left and beaches on the right, BUT if you're making me choose solely on one, I'd have to go with the mountains."

Meet Lindsay Boyle!

Lindsay is a junior in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is working with the production team on the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) story. She is the lead writer for the HAPCAP project.

Hometown: Garrettsville, Ohio (a bit north of Kent)

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University?
"I would have to say some of the best moments I've had in Athens have happened during interviews I've conducted for the InterActivist magazine and Project C. I've met so many truly benevolent and inspiring people, and their stories have pushed me to be the best I can be."

What is your favorite part of working on Project C? 
"I honestly can't pick just one favorite part of working on Project C. My top two favorites are, first, the people from the community I get to meet who all have such enlightening stories. Second, the people with which I work side-by-side. It's awesome to see so many OU students volunteering so much of their time to help out the Athens area."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens? 
"On the rare occasion I have a free afternoon, you can find me at Scripps Amphitheater, on the bike path or on my neighbor's roof."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens? 
"I can't get enough of Bagel Street Deli."

The most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received: 
"The most valuable "piece" of advice I've received isn't necessarily one piece that occurred on one occasion, but rather some things I was instilled with throughout my youth: Help others who are in need, because you never know when it could be you in their position."

Do you volunteer anywhere? If so, what drives you to volunteer for that organization? 
"I volunteer weekly with the OU Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. It's been a passion of mine since freshman year of high school. I'm blessed not only with a shelter to call my own, but also the ability to create shelters for others, so that's what I do."

When was the last time you were nervous? 
"I don't get nervous very often. The last time was probably when I was being interviewed for an opportunity to study abroad in Zambia, Africa. I ended up going, and it was a truly amazing experience."

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? 
"Seek not and ye shall find."


Meet a Project C Designer + the Face Behind BTS Footage

Meet Megan Hillman!

Megan is a working as Lead Designer with the team featuring The Gathering Place. She is a senior in the School of Visual Communication, studying publication design and Infographics.

Hometown: North Olmsted, OH

What is your favorite part of working on Project C?
“Everyone on Project C is so talented—it's great to collaborate with other creative people, especially when you can learn from each persons strengths. If there's something you don't know how to do, chances are somebody does. It's just a great experience to be a part of.”

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University:
“Going to Nationals for Ad Club for the JCPenney NSAC ad campaign.”

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens? 
“Baker Ballroom Balcony”

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
Bagel Street Deli

What do you think has been the greatest invention in the last ten years?
My iPhone

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Do what you love.”

If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be?
“An Ottoman”

If you were an Adobe Creative Suite program, which one would you be and why?
“Definitely InDesign. It's the one design program that's always open on my computer—you can do pretty much anything in there.”

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

“Coffee creamer, break-n-bakes, and wine”

Three words that describe you best:
Optimist. Perfectionist. Nerd.

Meet Sarah Miller!

Sarah is a senior studying commercial photography in the Ohio University School of Visual Communication. She is the talent behind the camera, documenting all that happens behind-the-scenes at Project C.

Hometown: Granville, Ohio

What is your favorite part of working on Project C?

“Because I'm behind the scenes, I don't really get to work with the organizations we help. I observe how everyone else interacts with each other. I guess that's my favorite part, the observing. Witnessing the changes and improvements of the area and watching fellow students devote so much of their time, money, and energy into spreading awareness is inspiring to say the least. It's so obvious that they want to be here not for themselves but for the community.

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens?
"By the Hocking River with friends.”

Do you have any hidden talents? 
"I have a knack for repairing things, whether it's with a hammer and nails, duct tape, paint, or even a needle and thread. I can make a fire better and faster than any guy I know (with a few exceptions) and I've been told I'm quite the masseuse. But my best hidden talent is that I can read my twin sister's mind and feel her pains when she busts something (again). She's definitely yelling at the screen now saying she can do those things better than me. Between you and me, aside from the sewing, she's right.”

The most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received: 
“These four ideas have influenced my life in extraordinary ways:
  1.  Love. Just love. Love everyone and everything around you as you want to be loved. And when you leave, you better leave them more beautiful than when you found them. That's the only way to be truly happy, and that's the only way you're memory in this world will last longer than some facts in a history book. 
  2. 'Everyone's got to be different. You can't copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing.' -Billie Holiday
  3. Take a chance, you may fail, but have faith and Just do it.
  4. 'A smile is the shortest distance between two people.' -Victor Borge”
If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be?
“A couch. It's the one piece of furniture that can do almost anything. Everyone can enjoy your comfort, steal your cushions to slide down the stairs, sleep and relax on you. You become a trampoline or pummel-horse, the wall of a fort, plastic perfection, and my favorite, thrown out in the back yard for movie night with friends cuddled together.”


Meet the Co-Founders of Project C

Tony is one of the Co-Founders + Co-Directors of Project C, finishing up his senior year, studying Interactive Multimedia in the Ohio University School of Visual Communication.

Hometown: Pickerington, Ohio

Favorite memory in Athens/Ohio University: 
“My time spent working on Project C. Giving back to a community that has given me so much over that past 4 years.”

Tony’s favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens: 
“Sitting out front of 7 Stewart with good friends, just enjoying the beautiful weather.”

Favorite restaurant in Athens: Casa Nueva

What do you think has been the greatest invention in the last ten years?

The most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
“From Babak Sarrafan: ‘Life is full of highs and lows...like a sine wave...remember when you are at the peak of excitement that you will hit a low and how you deal with your lowest of lows is just as important as how you deal with your highest of highs.’“

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Sherlock Holmes

If you were an Adobe Creative Suite program, which one would you be?
“Fireworks, because it is one of the most underrated tools and I have no problem with being underrated because I will still get the job done.”

Favorite things to do in your free time:
“I love creating things that make others smile. It doesn't have to be a website or application. If I think it will make one person's life easier then I will make it.”

Meet Annette Drapac!

Annette, a senior who is also studying Interactive Multimedia, is a Co-Founder + Co-Director of Project C. 

Hometown: Middleburg Heights, OH

What is your favorite part of working on Project C? 
"My favorite part of working on Project C is that it doesn’t feel like “work.” Although it is a giant undertaking, I feel very lucky to work on a project that I love, and with people who I call my friends; some of my best. This project brings me much happiness, and that is truly priceless."

Where is your favorite place to spend an afternoon in Athens? 
"I enjoy sitting in the sun on the Soldier’s Monument on College Green, or if I have to do work, I’ll usually be on the patio at Court Street Coffee."

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens? 
"Zoe – the food is creative, local, and delicious – and I’ve had great company each time I’ve been there. Della Zona and Village Bakery are favorites as well."

When you die, what do you want to be remembered for? 
"I want to be remembered as being kind-hearted, hard working, and as a person who is open and accepting of everyone."

What is your favorite group fitness class at Ping? 
"I’m not usually a group class kind of gal – I’d much rather be on a solo run while listening to Robyn."

What do you think has been the greatest invention in the last ten years?
"Portable music of any kind. That’s been with me since I was riding the bus to school."

What’s the #1 most played song on your iTunes right now? 
"Pickerall Lake by Sufjan Stevens, one of my favorite artists of all time."

If you were an Adobe Creative Suite program, which one would you be? 
"Photoshop, because we bond."

Do you have any hidden talents? 
"I can make balloon animals of all kinds. I also love the circus."


Sneak Peek 2012 Trailer

The crunch time of the quarter has officially arrived. The launch is right around the corner and it could not be a more exciting, but stressful time. This week the animation team took on the task of creating a trailer of each of the four organizations, for a little sneak peek at just what is in store for Project C this year. I am not involved with a specific organization's production team, which made this trailer even more special to me.

Last week it all began. I gathered countless hours of footage and watched every minute of it. Although I was unable to physically be out there filming each organization, our videographers and photographers gave me a chance to see just how special each organization is from a personal point of view. The raw footage had a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but it allowed for each individual and organization to truly come to life before my eyes. I was able to see the interaction between the teams and the stories that are unfolding.

Aside from the videographers I was able to work with Ohio University Alumni, Dan Barbera to create custom music for the piece.  Dan has a pure talent. After speaking with him he asked me to send over some examples of what I had in mind using as many descriptive words as I could. One hour passed –– just one HOUR –– and he sent me a rough clip that was exactly what I was thinking.

I have lived in Athens for four years, but one thing Project C always reminds me is, this community is special. There are so many organizations and community members who are working to better the Athens community. Without Project C and the chance to be able to view each of these stories, I don’t know if I would have left Athens knowing just how special this community truly is.  

Now, onto the part you have been waiting for!!!

Sit back, relax, and take a glimpse into Project C 2012! 

Heather Germann | Animator 


Sincere Thanks to our Donors

To our community of donors and supporters:

On behalf of the entire Project C team here in Athens, Ohio, I would like to extend my biggest thanks for giving your financial support to Project C and the four organizations with whom we are working to feature in this years edition.

After spending time with Good Works last year, I found myself using a simple phrase often said by the people I met: I am grateful. Today, I am so very grateful and moved by the generosity of over 50 individuals, families, friends, and businesses from not just Athens, but a multitude of locations throughout the country.

You have shown us that you care deeply about the people involved in this project, the mission of Project C, and our ultimate goal of giving of our time, service, and financial support to four outstanding organizations that work each day, to make this world a little better.

As a founder of Project C, I could not be more proud of our team who is working extremely hard to connect with you, with our organizations, and with each other. This has been a learning experience every step of the way, and throughout the last year-and-a-half, the one thing that never seems to falter is the love and support of the people surrounding us: you.

With sincere and heartfelt thanks,

Annette Drapac | Co-Founder and Co-Director


HAPCAP: Connecting, Improving and Changing Lives

Last week, I spent the better part of both Thursday and Friday in Glouster, Ohio equipped with nothing more than a voice recorder, a notepad and my inquisitive mind.

I, along with the content producers for Project C’s Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action program (HAPCAP) team, conducted interviews with six people — three on each day — in the just more than 24-hour time period. It proved to be one of the best 24-hour time periods I’ve had in quite a while.

HAPCAP is an all-encompassing nonprofit agency that aims to promote self-sufficiency and to improve the qualities of life of those struggling with poverty in Hocking, Athens and Perry counties, as well as in the surrounding areas. HAPCAP runs a multitude of programs that work to improve education, increase employment, improve housing, provide food and provide transportation in southeastern Ohio.

Doug Stanley, Executive Director of HAPCAP, talks about the many programs it provides.

Every time I go throughout Athens County to interview people working for and affected by local nonprofit organizations — which is actually quite frequently — I always return to OU with a fresh perspective on life. This time was no different.

Seeing how truly happy clients are directly because of HAPCAP programs, as well as how genuinely compassionate HAPCAP employees are, restored my faith in humanity in an area where overwhelming poverty statistics can be quite disheartening. Many of the clients experienced complete, 180-degree lifestyle changes for the better because of HAPCAP.

Bill Anderson, user of HAPCAP's Logan Public Transit program,
smiles during an interview.
There are people out there who devote each day to improving the lives of others, and they succeed in doing so more than they know. Every time I’m stressed out about this deadline, that exam or any other life event, I try to remember those people and the lives they are affecting. 

Nikina Fletcher is involved with HAPCAP's By-Car, Learn and Work,
PIPP Plus and Early Head Start programs.
Those people deal with stressful situations every single day and work to make them better, to turn bad into good. I always find that to be truly inspiring and motivating.

Just about an hour ago, I received word that we surpassed our $2,000 fundraising goal. I was so excited thinking about all of the money we’ll be able to give to local nonprofits that I yelled and told the first person I saw — no joke. I still can’t stop smiling.

Project C isn’t something we do for our résumés. It’s something we do because we care about Athens and the people in it. I am so glad I’ve been able to be a part of it for two years.

 - Lindsay Boyle | Writer


A Place of Warmth

It’s crunch time! My team members and I are embarking on our final stage of the storytelling process, editing. Our story is on The Gathering Place, which over the last month I have grown to love. The Gathering Place was a house that I walked past everyday last year on my way to class, never knowing how special it was.  It is a home-like atmosphere that supports the recovery of persons with mental illness by enhancing personal development and well-being, while fostering community involvement. There is a certain warmth about it, a warmth that could only be made possible by the people that build a sense of community there. My job as a videographer and editor is to try and capture some of that warmth and make audiences feel it as well.

 As a student practicing video for many years I have been in many uncomfortable and unpleasant filming situations. The Gathering Place however, is one of the most welcoming environments that I have ever filmed in, and that’s because of the people.  Part of my job as a videographer is to form a relationship with those whose story I’m telling, and the second part is to capture that story. The hardest part for me so far has been pressing record, because instead of filming I find myself engaged in conversation and interaction with people at the house. With the fast paced and stressful college environment I find myself in, it has been very refreshing to experience the people at the gathering place who seem very genuine and who are there because they enjoy being there and enjoy each other’s company.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own worlds and we forget that there are places out there that are run by people who spend their days not worrying about themselves but others. It’s eye opening. I appreciate everyone working at The Gathering Place who have allowed us to come in to film and have welcomed us as friends. The unsung heroes of this country are the ones that should be acknowledged and I hope that in our documentary we can acknowledge the people who are helping make The Gathering Place possible.  

- Andrew Thomas | Content Producer


UCM Lending a Hand Throughout the Area

Hey there, everyone, my name’s Ryan and I’m one of the content producers working behind the camera to make the multimedia pieces.  This year I’ve been assigned to cover United Campus Ministry.  In case you’re unfamiliar with UCM, they are a nonprofit organization that has been in Athens since 1968 and encourages engagement between Ohio University and the Athens community while promoting spiritual growth, community service, and work for justice through socially progressive interfaith values. 

Often times down here at OU there seems to be a real disconnect between the students on campus and the rest of the Southeast Ohio area that we call home for four or more years.  While there are certainly some Bobcats down here who couldn’t tell the difference between Albany and Amesville or Shade and Stewart there is a significant population of students who are working hard to break that stereotype by becoming involved not just in the immediate Athens are, but in towns throughout Southeast Ohio.  This Saturday I had the opportunity to tag along with a few of those students as a group of volunteers from UCM traveled up to Shawnee, Ohio bright and early to volunteer with the Little Cities of Black Diamond organization.

It was pretty amazing to see a group of college students gather at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning and devote most of their entire morning and afternoon to helping out people in a small town almost an hour away from campus.  Though, really, the most impressive thing wasn’t the time commitment that the volunteers made, but rather how they interacted with the members of the community in Shawnee.  This seems to be an overarching theme in all of the work that United Campus Ministry does.  Trust me, it’s a big organization that is involved in a dizzying amount of activities and causes throughout the Southeast Ohio region, but it seems that at the heart of everything that UCM does is the desire to bridge the gap between students at Ohio University and the community that surrounds them.  Needless to say there are some parallels in that and what we hope to do here at Project C, so I’m pretty excited that we have the opportunity to work with them this year, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what more they have to offer the community!

- Ryan Young | Content Producer


Athens Beautification Day

     "Wow! He is a Showman!" volunteer, Nick Shank, shouted after President Roderick McDavis opened Sunday's Athens Beautification Day. The almost uncontainable enthusiasm from both President McDavis and my friend, Nick, summed up the overall feeling of the day for me. It was so encouraging seeing students and community members blanket the amphitheater outside Scripps Hall on a Sunday afternoon because, like McDavis said, we were there not because we had to be there but because we wanted to be there.

Student and community member volunteers listening to Mayor Paul Whiel give the opening address. There's 800 people there. Eight. Hundred.
     Friendships are strengthened and created through these volunteering opportunities. You bond with other residents and community members, learning more about the place you have occupied (or will occupy) for four of the most unique years of your life. The Off-Campus Life Commission of OU Student Senate has done an incredible job organizing Athens Bday (Athens Beautification Day) this year. Their goal is a simple one, Keep Athens Beautiful. Anyone can see the beauty in Athens, not just the lively, picturesque town and it’s unique businesses but the nature that surrounds and engulfs it and most of all, the people that reside in it. Over the past eight years the event has grown from a few small groups of people to an astounding 800 students and community members this year. There were 30 projects planned covering a five square mile radius. Some of these projects were located at Stroud's Run, The Ridges, Passion Works, the Eco House, and numerous parks. Tasks ranged from graffiti removal and trash cleanup, to weeding, painting, landscaping and other pick-me-ups. Because there were so many volunteers and because we were so eager to help out, occasionally those residents and volunteers in charge had to do a little scrounging to find more jobs for us to do!

Sarah, surrounded by her signature color.
     I had an absolute blast helping out with Annette Drapac and Ryan Young at Putt People First, the putt putt golf course at The Ridges. In case you don't really know what the colorful course is all about, don't worry; I've got you covered. The course is a fundraiser that supports the Employment Services Program for People with Disabilities and the Athens Area Mediation Service (a group dedicated to finding cooperative approaches to resolving disputes in nice, calm ways). Local businesses sponsor a hole and in turn get a snazzy advertisement that becomes the obstacles for that particular hole. Too Cool.

            What else was cool? Definitely not us; we were sweating up a storm. The sun decided to grace us with its presence finally, making the day enjoyable to work in. Honestly, we could not have attempted half the projects if it was another classic day of rain, so I thank you for joining us, sunshine.
Please note the pocket protector, he's handsome and smart.
There must have been over 30 people helping out in that small stretch of land, weeding painting, sweeping, and building. Annette reconstructed a few obstacles, and she, Ryan, and I painted a few of the signs that will soon showcase advertisements. I stuck with the paint and made my way to all that was green. By the end of the day, my hands were coated in a layer of green paint. Kermit was right; it's not easy being green. Speaking of frogs, Ryan made this frog one of the most handsome frogs in all of Athens. Probably all of Ohio.

     Helping those who need it, repairing the broken, breathing new life into the old and worn out, when you look back at all the effort you and your friends put forth, there is often a great sense of humility, joy and honor in knowing that you had a part in all. The coolest part about volunteering is that anyone can do it. Any bit of effort has an affect. When I take a look around these last four years in Athens, I am so happy and so blessed to have been apart of all this change.
Annette & Sarah working hard on reconstructing the quilted obstacles.

-Sarah MillerBehind the Scenes team l Project C


New Features on the 2012 Project C website

Developing for the Future
A form that allows us to add a new organization to the site
The Project C web team has been working hard to improve the user experience and flow on the site as you read last week, but that is not all we are focused on this year. Our biggest stress on our team is to prepare for the future.

The website development team is taking this to heart as we begin to integrate the site into a content management system (or CMS) called Drupal. This framework will allow for us to easily publish new content each year with simple forms rather than developing each page individually. With the site fully integrated into a CMS, future teams will be able to focus their efforts on content production, fundraising, and marketing.

Everyone gets two votes!
Our log in and registration buttons in the corner of our site
One of the biggest changes to our website this year will be the change in our voting system. Last year we limited each IP address that visited the site to only two votes. In simple terms, this meant each household only had two votes. We realize that this severely limited the ability for everyone in the community to be able to vote.

The vote button on the project pages of the site
Our solution to this is to give each email two votes per day. All we simply ask is to register on our site and create a password to be able to login and vote each day. We promise to send out a maximum of two emails a year to remind you to either nominate or vote for the projects (no spam).

A graph that will show how many shares each project has
Tools for the Organizations
This year we wanted to give the organizations more feedback about how much support their stories are receiving during the week of voting. We are going to be providing graphs and information graphics that helps to show the sharing activity on the site.

The next 4 weeks will be nothing less than a challenge to finish the site on time, but as I always say, “Where there is faith and passion, there is hope.” And let me reassure you, I have never seen more faith or passion in a team as this one.