[Multimedia Collaborative] is almost entirely composed of people who are homeless or have been homeless.¬† Alvarenga recruits trainees through his church and from homeless shelters. Alvarenga said he hopes to help them develop skills that can result in employment in media or other fields.¬† About 30 people have been trained over the past two years, some getting jobs and others doing freelance work or moving on to other pursuits.
Thirty-some years ago, Goddard College was very active in the development of community media, so reading of successes such as Alvarenga’s is especially heartening to me. CCTV systems at the time were not required by law to provide community access channels ‚Äî much less free or low-cost entry into televised media. Goddard students were among many sent afield to start-up local community access operations (locally, that meant ‚Äî for starters ‚Äî Vermont’s impoverished Northeast Kingdom). The results weren’t meant to be stellar or Emmy-worthy; the purpose was to empower the average citizen by giving them the tools and knowledge they would need to offer alternative views and opinions to that which the mainstream media of the day carried. It’s great to read that the efforts continue.