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Holy Moly, Connectopod is on a roll!

So here, then, is a very listy post to help you keep up with all of our connecto-happenings.

1. Our regular team is winding down for summer with one last episode still to be edited for this school year. Then it's off for a well earned break for our core Connectopod youth reporters!

2. While the team rests up for fall, Andrea and I start our third week of a 5 week workshop with Haskell Steam Magnet and our group of 1-3rd grade 'diverse learners with a variety of disabilities.' We've created a new research/source game just for them tomorrow. We are adapting our curriculum to meet their needs and it's working out great so far. Can't wait to share their voices with you.

3. LAPL wants Connectopod! We will be doing a series of 1 day podcast workshops with students at the Pacoima Branch thanks to the force of nature support of their Young Adult Librarian, Marcia Melkonian. She inspires kids to love literature and is always thinking outside the box for ways to spark their own curiosity.

4. Remember seminarian Joachim Ssebwana, whom we interviewed in December? We'll be training him Connectopod style and he'll collaborate with us on an experimental project. When he returns to Uganda in this summer, he will be our connection on the ground to help with the lessons we will teach via Skype, and to handle the games and demonstrate our "reporter on the go" kit equipment. Our goal is to have these students collaborate with our reporters and contribute to the Connectopod podcast throughout the school year. Foreign Correspondents, baby!

5. This one is huge. We are collaborating with The Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood this summer on a 5 week project called "Changing the Narrative." We will be working with young men and women of color, high school age, to create a podcast where they can present themselves in a more nuanced and accurate way than they are currently represented in advertising and media. You will be reading more about all the moving parts of this project in the next blog.

6. Grant writing is the hardest thing I have done in a long time. Seriously. Even childbirth was less painful. We applied for our first one in collaboration with SJLI (see above). We are so thankful for their mentorship and especially for Angela Peterson, who guided us through the Godzilla task of creating our Data Arts profile. Our completed profile allows us to apply for other grants as well now. Please cross your fingers for us. Cross everything.

7. Speaking of that, Connectopod is officially a 501c3! Retroactive to last October. So if you were one of the kind individuals that donated to Connectopod, or one of our future kind supporters, it's tax deductible.

8. Welcome lovely and talented smarty farty, Jessica Jewell Lanier, former Director of Marketing and Communications at LA-based nonprofit, TreePeople, now Communications and Social Media Manager at Suzy Amis Cameron's One Meal a Day for the Planet (OMD) to our board. We are so excited to have her!She has been a dynamo supporter of Connectopod since our beginning, supporting us with her social media marketing expertise, ideas and connecting us to movers and shakers that would dig us. Connectopod reporters interviewed her too! (See, you never really leave Connectopod, you just become family.)

9. We have interns! Welcome Ana Perez and Mabel Moran from CSUN. After only two sessions, they are already saving us from being lost in our Google drive and schooling us on the socials. You'll be seeing more of them here too.

10. Really? You need a ten? Sheesh.So demanding. Well, we actually do have more we are working on for fall but we can't talk about them just yet. Winky winky!

So that's our nut for now. We are so grateful for all the support, leads, mentorship, ideas, volunteers, help, counseling, encouragement, talents and participation from our families, friends, reporters, interviewees and supporters. It's hard to believe Connectopod is coming up on only our one year anniversary. Our mission to use podcast to reach kids facing challenges as a means of bettering literacy, empowerment and connection has been a joyful journey that feels right on track.

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