Loading...
Menu

Activities For The Civic Geek

p))<{color:#000;}.

72 www.InformoTron.com Activities For The Civic Geek

Activities For The Civic Geek

 

 

 

(First Edition)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Steven Savage

 

 

 

 

Activities For The Civic Geek

 

First Edition

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Steven Savage

 

All Rights Reserved. The materials in this book are provided for the personal use of the purchaser of the book. No redesign, editing, reproductions, or creations of a derivative work from these materials is permitted without the permission of Steven Savage. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including but not limited to, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission – except for the inclusion of quotations in a review or personal use.

 

The information in this book is offered with the understanding that it does not contain legal, financial, or other professional advice. Those interested in such advice should consult a competent, properly-certified professional.

 

While it is the sincere intent of this publication to provide accurate information in regard to the subject matter, the authors and all those affiliated with the publication of this book assume no responsibility for events occurring to any person or entity taking action or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication.

 

This book is not completely comprehensive.. Some readers may wish to consult additional forms of information, some of which are provided inside this book.

 

This book is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind.

 

 

AUTHOR: Steven Savage

www.StevenSavage.com

 

First Edition

 

www.InformoTron.com

 

 

Other Books by Steven Savage

 

Fan To Pro: Leveling Up Your Career Through Your Hobbies

 

Convention Career Connection

 

The Power Of Creative Paths

 

The Focused Fandom Series

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Focused Fandom: Cosplay, Costuming, And Careers

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Focused Fandom: Fanart, Fanartists, and Careers

The Career Series

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Epic Resume Go!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Quest For Employment

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Resume Plus

 

 

Keep Up With The Author

 

Keep up with all my books by subscribing to my newsletter. You’ll get updates on my project, free content, and more!

 

You can find out more about what I’m doing at http://www.StevenSavage.com/.

 

You can find my books and more free resources at www.InformoTron.com.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Build Community 8

Start A Group 9

Help Out A Group 10

General Charities And Causes 12

Adopt A Charity 13

Marathons 14

History, Research, Knowledge 16

Get Academic 17

Get Historic 19

Citizen Science 23

Literacy, Reading, Writing 25

Start A Little Free Library 26

Access To Books 27

Promote Literacy 30

Promote Literacy With Comics 33

Skills And Talents 36

Fix-It-Up 37

Teaching And Workshops 38

Demonstrations and Presentations 40

The Environment 42

Electronics Recycling 43

Environmental Issues 46

State Of The World 49

Free Speech 50

Health Initiatives 52

Promote Space Exploration 54

Technology Refurb And Access 56

Cosplay and Costuming 58

Cosplay For Good 59

Geek Culture Plus 61

A Diverse Geekdom 62

Promote Accessibility 67

Support The Troops 69

Support Industry Veterans 71

About The Author 72

 

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[] Introduction

“This is what I do.”

 

Geeks are active people – we do. We write, we game, we craft, we cosplay, we review. We’re always tweaking, inventing, and making.

 

We want to apply this. We want to make the world better, help people, improve our subculture and the culture at larger. There are issues to address, challenges to face . . .

 

. . . but were do we start?

 

We ask “What can I do?”

 

This series is where you can start. Think of it as a helpful, non-comprehensive, and hopefully inspiring guide to applying geekery for good. Each section is simply one suggestion, often with helpful examples or links, of one thing you can do to make the world a better place as a geek.

 

A lot of this came from my work on www.CivicGeek.com, and is a way of taking it farther.

 

Now, let’s see what you can do.

[] Build Community

[] Start A Group

Want to do something for your community? Found a group, club, or organization for people like you and bring folks together.

Communities are made up of smaller communities, or make up larger communities. If you want to do something to be a civic geek, then go and found your own community. Find something that should exist and found a group, club, or organization.

Try “scratching your own itch” and ask yourself what should exist. Does your area need a writer’s group? Does your area need a gathering for cosplayers? Are you looking for a good group to play video games with? Find something you want then go found it.

It’s not particularly hard – I recommend meetup.com as a great starting point, but you can do it through many forms of social media. Go on, find what’s needed, gather your friends, and make something.

Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. But as is often noted you don’t know until you try – and you can always see what it’ll evolve into.

Resources

*
p<>{color:#000;}. www.meetup.com – Always an excellent way to start groups.

 

 

 

[] Help Out A Group

Go find an existing geek group and get involved.

Maybe you’re not up for founding your own group or club. Fine. Take your specialized skillset, go find an existing club or convention or event that needs your help, and volunteer.

Geek clubs and groups and events are usually made up of volunteers – and frankly, not enough volunteers in most people’s experiences. Your average convention needs a lot of good will, a lot of warm bodies, and a lot of volunteer brains to run. These clubs and organizations need people that can help out.

That’s where you come in as a Civic Geek.

Ask yourself what skills you have, what skills you can provide, and go volunteering. If you’re willing people will respond – and if you’ve got a specific skill set you mind find yourself deeply involved right away. Good skills and good volunteering are important combinations.

Don’t know what you’re good at? Doesn’t matter. Gophers, people setting up the snacks, whatever. Start somewhere. You’ll find your niche.

Most conventions, clubs, or events have some kind of contact web page or volunteer form, so it shouldn’t be hard to get access. Some good networking will help as well.

On top of all of this, you might improve your existing skills or develop new ones. Maybe you’re an accountant and you help with a conventions finances. Maybe you want to develop public speaking so you run public auctions for a comics club. Helping out can help you out.

It’s my firm believe that every geek should be involved in some geek group, preferably local. Being involved face-to-face is good for civic geekery.

Resources

*
p<>{color:#000;}. www.animecons.com – Anime con listings!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. www.conventionscene.com – What it says, a list of conventions and events for geeks!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. www.costume.org/conventions.html – International Costumer’s Guild’s con list – great if you’re a cosplayer.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. www.meetup.com – Still a great place to find groups

*
p<>{color:#000;}. www.upcomingcons.com – Much as the name says, they list upcoming conventions. A great place to find cons to help out at.

[
__]

[] General Charities And Causes

[] Adopt A Charity

Pick a charity and have you and your group/convention do events to support it.

This is probably the simplest thing you can do, but it’s also effective. Almost any major geeky con has an associated charity or two, raising money for them with sales, donations, auctions, and so forth. It’s almost an afterthought.

Of course it shouldn’t be an afterthought – clubs and cons and the like can do a lot of good. It doesn’t even have to be raising money – maybe you rally your group to work phones, or gather books or school supplies, or whatever you want to do or try. Find the right cause and get imaginative.

You could even get creative with all sorts of theming and synergies:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do a blood drive at your vampire fiction event.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you’re a fanfic group, donate time to maintaining the webiste for a good cause.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Your literature-oriented convention could promote literacy (and maybe give people a chance to join a literacy organization).

There’s too many suggestions to even try at this point – but remember it can’t hurt to pick something relevant and give it a try. Your only risk is doing less good than you intended . . . but always do more than doing nothing.

Oh and if you don’t have a group or organization that’s charity inclined? Do it yourself. Better a $10-a-month donation off your credit card than nothing. Besides that monthly deduction can keep reminding you there’s always more to do . . .

[] Marathons

Turn your hobby or geekery into a marathon and use it as a charity drive.

You remember those six hours you spent on a computer game. Or that marathon RPG session. OK, actually in a few cases you don’t, but either way what you did for fun was to endure a kind of mental gauntlet.

What if you did this to raise money?

Marathons, especially in Video Game communities, are a popular way to raise money for a good cause. People band together and play games for ridiculously long times – and often play ridiculous games as well. This is often done publicly, usually online, for people to enjoy, get involved, and wonder. It’s good fun, but it’s also great for awareness, camaraderie, and raising money.

Of course it doesn’t have to be video games,though those are ideally suited for marathons and as noted they’re quite popular. Why not have a marathon RPG session? Marathon comics drawing session? Cosplay creation? Anything can be marathoned, and with online streaming and social media you can involve the world – and get them to donate.

You could also tie it into other efforts:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A cosplay marathon could also be a tutorial for people, raising interest – and money.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A game marathon could be run by your company around the games they make.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Game mod makers could make a mod just for a charity event – then release it.

 

The sky, and your access to caffeine, is the limit.

 

Resources

 

RPG Marathons

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Role-playing Gamers Giving A Bleep – Does RPG marathons for good causes.

Video Game Marathons

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Crystals For Life – Does RPG speedruns to benefit the JDRF and their work on Type 1 diabetes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Desert Bus – Since 2007 Desert Bus has been raising money for Child’s Play via webcasting marathons of the infamous never-ending bus driving game “Desert Bus.”

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Game To Aid – A charity that raises money via broadcast video-game marathons, often with various creative (and at times painful) themes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Games Done Quick – Does game speedruns to raise money for charity.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Gaming For Others – A UK group that does marathons for charity, and works with Special Effect.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Hyrule Hustlers – Video game enthusiasts who sponsor Childs Play and run Zelda-based events and marathons.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Indie Games For Good – Indie Games For Goods raises money for Child’s Play by focusing on Indie Game marathons.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Marathon Gamers – A gaming marathon group thta does marathons for charities.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Mario Marathon – A yearly all-Mario gameathon to support Child’s Play.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. One Big Game – A nonprofit that raises money by selling games.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. U-Pick Video Game – Raises money for charity via marathons where others pick the games.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Video Game Nightmarathon- Does Halloween-themed and horror game marathons for charity.

[] History, Research, Knowledge

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[] Get Academic

Your fandom may not just be fun or expression – it’s an area people want to study and you can help.

At first draft, fandom activities may seem a bit shallow to an outsider. However they aren’t to passionate fans and to people that study psychology, history, and culture. Fandoms offer fascinating areas of exploration and understanding.

This is why people can get actual degrees in popular culture. There’s something there worth studying. This is why there are academic institutions that study video games, because it’s worth it.

If you’re so inclined, it’s worth getting involved.

There’s many things you can do so a few suggestions:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Join an academic organization and fund them. A membership pays the bills after all.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you can contribute, do so! Write, provide web mastery, whatever.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Help academics speak at conventions, clubs, or events.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you’re an academic, go speak on issues – even if you’re an amateur.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Promote the appropriate organization through your club, event, or writing.

There’s a lot of options. Go find what works for you.

Resources

 

Anime

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Anime And Manga Studies – Focuses on news and articles on the academic studies of anime and manga. It’s owner also does a symposium an Anime Expo.

 

Comics

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Comics Research – A curated guide to books and resources about comics books, comics trips, and fannish information. Open to contributions of material and suggested resources.

 

Video Games

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Canadian Game Studies Association – A Canadian organization dedicated to interdisciplinary study of digital games.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Digital Games Research Association – An association for academics and professionals who research digital games and things related to them. Includes events, a journal, a conference, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. International Journal Of Computer Game Research – A non-profit, open-access, cross-disciplinary journal to publish and promote the studies of games. Open for donations as well!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Journal Of Virtual Worlds Research – A journal (open to contributions) on virtual worlds.

[] Get Historic

Love your fandom, love your geekdom? Get involved in archiving and preserving history.

History is important to all of us – to understand the past, to know where we came from, to predict where were going. Preserving history and recording history are important for that very reason. With our preserved and recorded history, we loose something.

So go and preserve and record the history of your geekdom.

With a little research, you can probably find some organizations, group, or club that’ll let you make an effort to expose future generations (or much younger generations) to the history of your given geekery:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There’s collections that preserve fandom artifacts like ‘zones.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There’s archival museums and organizations that keep track of rare artifacts like video game memorabilia.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There’s living museums, where people can see displays or even inexact with things like old games and toys.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There’s almost certainly organizations, mailing lists, and groups dedicated to recording history about given subjects.

You can probably find some way to help keep the history of your favorite geekery – and preserve it for others to study and learn from. From making donations of money to donations of artifacts, from recording history to pointing people towards useful research, you can do a lot so we can all learn later.

Or learn now . . .

Here’s a few place to get you started!

Resources

 

Comics

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cartoon Art Museum – A museum for all forms of cartoon art, performing preservation, displays, events, and more. Established in 1984, it has a permanent home in San Francisco.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Digital Comics Museum – An enormous archive of researched, curated, public domain golden age comics available free – and always open for donations and assistance!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Wonder Woman Museum – A museum dedicated to Wonder Woman – and sponsors various charities as well.

 

Computing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Computer History Museum – A Silicon-Valley based museum of computer history, complete with exhibits, programs, and many volunteer opportunities.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. International Internet Preservation Consortium – An international organization focusing on improving tools, standards, and practices of web archiving and preserving information. Reports, events, and memberships are available.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Internet Memory Foundation – A non-profit focusing on preserving the internet for heritage and cultural purposes, and develops a lot of technologies and projects. There’s opportunities to get involved.

 

General:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cushing Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection – Not just an archive of science fiction and fantasy works, but the Cushing Collection also accepts fanzines and fanworks. A great chance to donate and make (and save) history!

 

 

Pinball

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Internet Pinball Database – An online database of pinball machines and history. Always needs volunteers.

 

Video Games

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Atari Party – A Californian organization that hosts events with hands-on use of classic Atari game consoles. Always looking for volunteers – and you can always found your own!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. California Extreme – A convention of video game and pinball enthusiasts where the actual machines are brought into one big arcade. Includes panels and other events – and accepts volunteers.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Digital Games Museum – An archive of games and game memorabilia that does shows and displays. Based in San Jose, California, but open to support from anywhere.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The International Arcade Museum – A giant database of games that you can help with! Also contains huge archives of past relevant magazines and more. They even hope to build a physical museum someday!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Video Game History Museum – A video game history museum that covers a wide variety of subjects, histories, games, and focuses.

Get Into Citizen Science

 

Citizen Science is the idea that we, as citizens, can and should be involved in scientific pursuits, research, and promotion. It’s a profound idea mixing civic involvement, science, and of course pure geekery.

“Citizen Science” is a lovely term for people from all walks of life doing and helping with scientific work as citizens. You don’t have to be a scientist to help – but you may work with them, collecting data, building tools, crunching numbers, and more. It’s a mix of citizenship, crowdsourcing, and science.

It’s hard to sum up just what you can do as a citizen scientist, because there’s so many options. The resources below can guide you, but a few ideas:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You may gather information on environmental change in your area – great for your friends, family, club, or convention to help out with.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Use your writing skills to transcribe rare documents and scientific information into more enduring formats – or even other languages.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Promote science education at your convention.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Use your knowledge of your local area to help with civic disaster planning based on your area’s unique challenges.

That's just a a small idea of what you can do as a citizen scientist. A little research will almost certainly find a project that's right for you and your geeky interests -or your club, convention, writer's group, and more.

If you don’t have time? Well invite citizen science groups to your school, place of work, club, or convention so they can talk about what they do and recruit people.

As a citizen scientist you’ll help out worthy causes, learn, and make connections. There’s really no downside to it except you only have so much time in the day.

[]Citizen Science

Computing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Code For America – An alliance of coders and citizens that innovate on technology, draft policies, and create apps to help citizenship.

Environment

*
p<>{color:#000;}. 100 Resilient Cities – Focuses on helping 100 cities develop resilient policies.

Space

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Nasa Science: Citizen Scientists – NASA’s extensive citizen science resource with news, tools, and projects people can participate in.

STEM

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Citizen Science Alliance – A collaborative effort of scientists, software developers, and educators to promote and organize citizen science and citizen science projects, as well as science awareness. Their projects are tracked in Zooniverse.com.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Science Cheerleader – A site focusing on Cheerleaders who chose science careers, promoting science awareness, and where the former can promote the latter, all with good humor and a serious mission.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Scientific America’s Citizen Science Page – Scientific American’s resource for citizen scientists, listing projects and updates. A good way to find something to fit your interests.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. SciStarter – A site to find, join, and contribute to scientific endeavors. Contains a large database of citizen science projects for you to check out.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Zooniverse – The Citizen Science Alliance’s website for hosting citizen science projects. A good place to go and find specific projects to get involved in.

 

 

[] Literacy, Reading, Writing

 

 

[] Start A Little Free Library

Start a Little Free Library at your club, local comic shop, game store, or elsewhere.

 

You love books and want to get them out there and into people’s hands. Great comics, amazing job advice, helpful manuals on programming – whatever you love, you want it out there. You also know that reading is best when shared, as part of a group, and it can change people’s lives.

 

Consider making a Little Free Library at your geeky establishment of choice. Little Free Libraries are small containers, some quite artistically designed, where people play by the take-a-book-leave-a-book rule. Little Free Libraries encourage craftsmanship (to make), socialization (giving people a place to gather and interact), and of course reading because they involve books.

 

A few suggestions:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have a portable Little Free Library that travels from convention to convention.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have a themed Little Free Library at a comic store, game store, or so on that focuses on given product.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have a themed Little Free Library for a book club dedicated to fantasy, SF, etc.

 

Resources

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Little Free Library – http://littlefreelibrary.org/ – The place that started it all.

 

 

[] Access To Books

Get yourself, your club, or your convention involved in getting books to people in need.

 

We all love books, and we probably have pretty easy access to them. Not everyone else is so lucky. Maybe you and your fellow geeks want to help people get their hands on good books to enjoy, to improve their lives, and to widen their visions. Books are powerful tools.

 

You – or our club, convention, or fan group – could collect books for those in need. Have a day where everyone brings in their unused books and donations. Have a donation bin or drop box at your club or convention. Go to a local library sale, get a lot of cheap books, then donate them and help out two good causes at once. Or perhaps your library needs books and you donate right to them.

 

As for who you can help, there’s many organizations, local, national, or international that you can get involved in. Check out the resource sections below.

 

Resources

 

Book Drive Guides

*
p<>{color:#000;}. American Library’ Association’s Guide – Activities For The Civic Geek: Access To Books – The ALA’s quick guide to gook drives.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Read To Grow’s Guide – https://www.readtogrow.org/images/customer-files//TOOLKIT2010.pdf – A helpful guide to a book drive.

 

Organizations

(Note, you can often find many local organizations that need books. These are more international and North America centric).

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Books Through Bars – http://booksthroughbars.org/ – Provides books to prisoners.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Books To Prisoners – http://www.bookstoprisoners.net/ – Provides books to prisoners.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Bring Me A Book – http://www.bringmeabook.org/ – Serving underserved communities with portable libraries, teaching read-aloud skills, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. DarienBook Aid Plan – http://www.darienbookaid.org/ – Provides books to organizations, including Peace Corps.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. First Book – http://www.firstbook.org/ – Works to get children access to books.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. International Board on Books For Young People – http://www.ibby.org/ – An international organization commited to bringing books to children.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Kids Need To Read – http://www.kidsneedtoread.org/ – A charity promoting a culture of reading, providing books to various institutions, especially those that support disadvantaged children.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Milk And Bookies – http://www.milkandbookies.org/ – Helps children do their own “book raising” campaigns.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reach A Reader – http://www.reachareader.org/ – A clearinghouse for youth books.

 

Organizations – Comics

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Comics For Heroes – http://comicsforheroes.org/ – Gets comics to people who can’t normally get them, from troops overseas to kids in hospitals.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Comics For Kids – http://www.comics4kidsinc.org/ – Collects and donates comics to kids, with a focus on literacy and developing creativity.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Operation Comix Relief – http://www.operationcomixrelief.org/ – Sends donated comics to soldiers serving on the front lines.

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[] Promote Literacy

Share the love of literacy by getting involved with organizations that promote it.

Literacy is power. It lets us learn, lets us connect, it lets us communicate. To be illiterate or poorly literate is to be at a horrible disadvantage. If you’ve ever seen the impact of illiteracy or poor literacy on people’s lives, you know how awful it can be. If you’ve not simply imagine your life if you couldn’t read.

If you want to help promote literacy – which fits we pro-literature geeks – there’s a variety of literacy initiatives you can get involved in.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Personally, you can teach and instruct people.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You can get your friends, your gaming group, our club involved in literacy programs – more people, more power.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You can raise money through your convention, event, or drives for literacy programs.

Nothing is more geeky than literacy, so why not help promote it.

There’s also an enormous amount of pro-literacy groups to get involved in. There’s something for every geekery, every inclination, and every location.

Best of all, imagine combining this with other pro-reading initiatives . . .

Resources

There’s a large amount of literacy programs, from global initiatives to local towns and cities. Here’s just a few places to get involved in or take inspiration from. This list could be (and may become) much larger.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Alaska Literacy Program – http://www.alaskaliteracyprogram.org/ – An Alaska-based literacy charity with an emphasis on training and certifying teachers and tutors to impart reading, writing, and speaking skills.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Behind The Book – http://www.behindthebook.org/ – New York Based organization that focuses on literacy programs and access to authors for underserved schools.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Believe In Books – http://www.believeinbooks.org/ – Supports literacy programs, scholarships, grants, and book distributions in northern New Hampshire and western Mane.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Book Ends – http://www.bookends.org/ – A nonprofit focusing on empowering children through literacy and a focus on leadership in communities.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Bring Me A Book – http://www.bringmeabook.org/ – Serving underserved communities with portable libraries, teaching read-aloud skills, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Family Reading Partners – http://www.familyreading.org/ – A coalition of people and organizations that promotes literacy via family reading practices.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Florida Literacy Coalition – http://www.floridaliteracy.org/ – Florida-focused group that supports adult education, adult literacy, and family literacy throughout the state. Many opportunities to get involved

*
p<>{color:#000;}. International Book Project – http://www.intlbookproject.org/ – Uses sustainable programs and partnerships to combat illiteracy on a global scale – with the goal of ending it.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Literacy Kansas City – http://www.literacykc.org/ – A Kansas community-based literacy effort that uses research to ensure their programs are maximally effective.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. LitWorld – http://litworld.org/ – A global nonprofit that does on-the-ground solutions to address literacy.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Lullalee – http://www.helpakidread.org/ – Lullalee promotes reading, literacy, and social change, including the use of e-learning and technology.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Might Writers – http://www.mightywriters.org/ – A Philadelphia organization that supports writing and literacy by providing free classes and teaching.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. ProLiteracy – http://www.proliteracy.org/ – Focuses in safe, strong, sustainable socieities by building literacy around the globe with a variety of initiatives.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Raising Readers In Wyoming – http://raisingreadersinwyoming.org/ – A wyoming-based organization that provides children with books, and parents with ‘prescriptions’ for reading, to promote literacy.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reach Out And Read – http://www.reachoutandread.org/ – A nonprofit organization of medical providers who promote literacy and school readiness in pediatric care with parental advice.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Read Indeed – http://stanleefoundation.org/ – A nonprofit literacy organization, inspired by Maria Keller, that collects and distributes books to children.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reading Is Fundamental – http://www.rif.org/ – The largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States, working with kids, parents, and community to bring the benefits of reading to children.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reading Partners – http://www.readingpartners.org/ – Promotes literacy via one-on-one coaching and a structured curriculum

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Room To Read – http://www.roomtoread.org/ – Focuses on literacy and gender equality around the world, working with local communities and governments.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Stan Lee Foundation – http://www.stanleefoundation.org/ – An organization that builds alliances among various groups to promote literacy.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Reading Tub – http://www.thereadingtub.com/ – A volunteer-run nonprofit promitng family literacy.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Tracy and Clerenda McGrady Foundation – http://www.tracymcgradyfoundation.com/ – Founded by the NBA All-Star and his wife, the foundation focuses on multiple, world-wide literacy projects.

 

[] Promote Literacy With Comics

If comics are your thing, why not specifically promote literacy with your favorite medium.

Comic books were probably one of the first forms of literature many of us picked up. From newspapers to comic books to manga, it’s one of the earliest experience many of us have of reading. It’s still a favorite of many – and a way to teach literacy because they’re so beloved and accessible.

It wouldn’t be too hard to rally your fellow comic fans, clubs, groups, and stores to organize to donate comics, time, or money to the right organizations. There’s a lot of history and a lot of community to build on – and there’s comics-oriented literacy organizations who need your help below.

Resources

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Comics For Kids – Collects and donates comics to kids, with a focus on literacy and developing creativity.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reading with Pictures – Promotes literacy with the use of comics in the classroom. Heavily oriented towards ways to get involved!

 

 

Good writing is the key to many things in one’s life and career – and for many it can become their life and their career. We geeks are literary types, so why not pass on the skills to others?

If you’re a geek, you’re probably a reader. However, I’d give it a pretty good chance that you do at least some writing as a geek, and a very good chance that someone in your sphere of geeky friends is a writer of some kind, ifsemi-professionally. In turn almost all of us depend on some writing skills in our lives and careers – or would have better lives and careers with writing skills.

A lot of us writing and trying to write. A good way to be a civic geek? Share that writing ability with people.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. First, we can share it among ourselves, people teaching each other and editing. Wether it’s publishing that RPG, writing that novel, or documenting that bit of history we can train or be trained in our own geeky communities.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We can also rally our writing-inclined fellows to teach in the larger community. There’s doubtlessly local writing programs that, along with literacy programs, help improve people’s skills. I’m sure any of them would welcome a larger group of participants.

There’s also many, many ways to help improve people’s writing skills.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Training. Experienced people can teach writing in classes, panels, seminars, online feedback, as part of formal education, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Critique. Nothing like helping people get better at writing. But why not formalize it, from having regular reviews among your club or group to having triage or portfolio reviews at conventions.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Writing jams. Regular times to sit down, socialize, and write are great for writers.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Bringing in the pros. Maybe your local group of writers isn’t as professional as some – but you doubtlessly know people who can help you and others improve with seminars, speaking, and volunteering.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Programs. As noted there’s plenty of literacy and writing programs out there – just a few are below – so go support them!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Donations. No time to teach, rally, or otherwise do hands-on-help? Or maybe you just want to raise money for a good cause? Try rallying donations for good causes for writers and writing skills.

Plenty of options. Which are you going to try?

Resources

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Alaska Literacy Program- An Alaska-based literacy charity with an emphasis on training and certifying teachers and tutors to impart reading, writing, and speaking skills.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Girls Write Now- Supports future female writers with mentoring, advice, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Mighty Writers- A Philadelphia organization that supports writing and literacy by providing free classes and teaching.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. NaNoWriMo- Everyone knows National Novel Writing Month, but they’re an organization that relies on organizers, donations, and more – and that’s your chance to get involved!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Wonder Writers- A charity that promotes writing and writing skills for young people from grades K-12.

 

[] Skills And Talents

 

[] Fix-It-Up

Rally your geeky friends and cohorts to help others out by applying your technical, creative, and constructive skills for repair.

It’s easy to take for granted how we can buy stuff to replace broken stuff – though it’s a bit wasteful to just throw things away (and some like electronics are a bit hard to recycle).

It’s also easy to take for granted the skills that let us repair things so we don’t have to throw stuff out. I imagine you’ve got a few friends or even a whole club very good at making and fixing things, from cosplay to computers.

So, hold a Fix-It-Up Event.

Maybe at a convention or a hackerspace or a church or what have you, go and hold an event where you repair things for people. You don’t just help them save and reuse things, you might teach people valuable skills:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cosplayer? Do clothes repair for people or charities.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Technical? Computer repair and reuse or repurposing might be your bag. If nothing else dead systems can yield parts for others.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Handy? Repair appliances, furniture, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Gamer? Help people repair or clean their treasured old systems.

There’s also many ways you can combine this. A clothing repair shop can reuse cosplay scraps. Handy geeks who help out with basic repair can also use their skills to do convention setup. Combine electronic repair with good recycling practices and education.

Plus, when you team up, you can combine tools, though you’ll probably get very territorial about who owns what.

So go ahead and try and do some fix-ups.

[]*Teaching And Workshops*

Chances are any geek has a pretty valuable skillset others would like to learn from or use – so why not get educational and teach people.

If you’re a geek you’re enthused about something, and quite likely you do something with it. From fanfic to coding games, from cosplaying to running cons, from historical enthusiasms to your extensive film library you have developed quite a set of skills.

Of course you may also be good at stuff that may not seem particularly geeky that’s still valuable. Your writing skills that forge both fanfic and video game reviews may also be useful for your technical writing career. You might be well organized which is why you run your club and game clan. Maybe you just have skills you share in a geeky setting (such as the way I talk job skills in geekdom).

You and your crew are smart and skilled in things both geeky and not. Start sharing it.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Teach geeky skills to people who don’t have them – how many folks would like to be a bit better at computers, use your cosplay knowledge to sew better, or enjoy learning about Japanese cooking (that you learned due to your love of anime).

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Teach geeky skills to your fellow geeks. I mean, we all have to start somewhere.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Teach skills that your fellow geeks need. Sure there’s many budding authors and artists, but your work in PR could be what they need to know how to sell themselves.

 

You also have plenty of venues to do this in:

*
p<>{color:#000;}.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You could take your skills to any community center, school, or what have you. This is great for all those geek skills others may need.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You can hold events at conventions or other geek events. They’re always looking for panels and features.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You can do workshops and get people hands-on. After all hands-on is one of the best ways to learn.

Best of all when you do these things, alone or as part of a team,you learn how to teach and instruct. As you do more of it, you get better at it. This can open up new options in lives and careers, just be useful overall – or be something you eventually do panels and training on for others . . .

[] Demonstrations and Presentations

Teaching is one thing, but sometimes the most educational thing is to see something in action – then learn how to do it! That’s where demonstrations and presentations come in.

I’m all for we civic geeks giving panels and teaching, for doing hands-on work. But sometimes the most educational – and fun – thing to do is to do demonstrations and presentations as part of an educational initiative. Show something in action, then tell people how to do it – it’s fun, and in some cases a lot easier to get educated after you have an idea of how cool the thing you’re doing is.

A good presentation/demonstration works like this:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You actually show off something in action – like say a costume or repair skills.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You demonstrate how it works and how it’s done.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You get people involved in figuring out how to do it.

It’s more complex than a class or a workshop because you and your compatriots actually have to show stuff off – and if what you’re trying to teach people is something complicated, extensive, or acrobatic you’ll need space, time, talent, and possible insurance. A lot more preparation is involved.

The advantage of all of this is that it gets people’s attention, they learn quicker, and it’s fantastic publicity for your group, convention, and so on. It draws people in and that means they get educated and you get to be a good civic geek.

Here’s a few ideas to get you going:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A cosplay group could not only demonstrate costumes, they could assemble one – then teach people useful and fun costuming and clothes skills.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A group of computer enthusiasts could quickly break down or assemble a computer then show people how to do it directly.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A writer’s group could demonstrate self-publishing and formatting – all you need is a good overhead and computer.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Even if the skills you or your group want to teach are abstract you can act them out.

Good demonstrations and presentations take being a training-oriented civic geek farther. Give them a try.

 

[] The Environment

h2<>{color:#000;}.

[] Electronics Recycling

Most geeks love their electronics. Electronic waste and disposal presents quite an environmental problem – and ignores how other people can use technology others casually throw away. Getting into electronic recycling as a civic geek gives you many ways to help out.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re probably awash in technology. You either have a lot of it, use a lot of it, or both.

The problem is a lot of this technology is pretty hard to dispose of – and is useful when reused. Deadly chemicals have to be handled in recycling, valuable metals have to be reclaimed. At the same time there are people that can reuse technology that you might throw away. For technical geeks, this is a chance to do some good by getting involved in electronics recycling.

Here’s a few ideas:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You can get involved in collecting and donating old cell phones or computers. There’s many places that gladly take old technology.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You could get your geeky friends, club, or whatever to refurb old computers before donating them.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There are groups that do refurb of technology you could join.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Run a drive at a con or club event to collect old technology

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you’re a science-heavy geek, you can arrange viewings on films on recycling or speakers at your events. Just the dangers and methods of recycling electronics alone is fascinating (and a bit scary).

The benefits of this are threefold: you make recycling easier, many electronic recycling efforts help people out, and you become aware of the impact of electronics on the environment and more. It’s not just helpful – it’s broadening.

Resources

 

Computing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Close The Gap – Takes computer donations from european countries and refurbishes them for emerging nations. Also works to recycle unusable equipment safely.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Computers With Causes – Takes donated computers and either gets them to charitable programs, or sells them for funds used to go to programs

*
p<>{color:#000;}. PCS For Schools – Refurbishes and upgrades donated computer equipment and uses it to bridge the technology gap in schools

*
p<>{color:#000;}. World Computer Exchange – A US and Canadian non-profit that reduces the digital divide with education, donated computers, and more.

 

Technology

*
p<>{color:#000;}. AZ StRUT – Arizona chapter of Students Recycling Used Technology, an organization that supports learning, refurbishing and donation of electronics, and proper recycling of electronics.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cell Phone Bank – Takes donations of cell phones and recycles them for use as emergency phones.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cell phones For Soldiers – Provides refurbed cell phones and more to soldiers so they can keep in touch.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Green Electronics Council – A nonprofit focused on environmental leadership in electronics

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Hope Phones – Outfits global health care workers (part of Medic Mobile) with donated cell phones

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Komputers4rkids – Focused on Southern California, the goal of Komputers4rkids is to bridge the digital gap in technology, and they accept electronic donations to help do it.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. National Center For Electronics Recycling – A nonprofit that works to build and coordinate initiatives to improve electronic recycling.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Silicon Valley StRUT – California/Silicon Valley chapter of Students Recycling Used Technology, an organization that supports learning, refurbishing and donation of electronics, and proper recycling of electronics.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Step Initiative – The Step Initiative takes a long-term view of understanding, planning for, recycling, and avoiding e-waste.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Christina Foundation – Promotes technology reuse and helps connect people with local organizations and individuals that need their donations.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Wireless Foundation – Recycles used cell phones and focuses on stopping family violence.

 

[] Environmental Issues

We’ve got to live on this planet (even if some of us want to explore beyond it), and that means a keeping a healthy environment. Geeks can do their part to make sure we keep Earth livable.

If you’re at all informed about environment science, you’re probably a bit concerned about the environment. From global warning to the effects on fracking, it’s a bit hard not to come to the conclusion we could manage our use of the planet much better. As we geeks are usually quite enthused about science, we’re also painfully aware of the problems we face.

Fortunately there’s no small amount of people out there you can help, get involved with, or donate too. Everyone’s got the same idea as you, and there have been organizations dedicated to helping us preserve the environment around for a long time.

It’s also hard to know where to start. Here’s a few suggestions to get you going.

It’s also hard to know where to start. Here’s a few suggestions to get you going:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Donate or get your geeky club/group/convention to donate to appropriate causes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Donate time. This is great if you’re particuarly oriented towards either STEM (and the hard science of the environment), have the skills needed by the various groups (such as web work or speaking), or both. Time is often more valuable than money

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Speakers. Run a convention? Get speakers from appropriate organizations to discuss the science and issues of the environment. If you’re part of a fiction-writing geekdom, you can combine good world building with good awareness of how our world has structural problems.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do citizen science – From dedicating time to local citizen science groups, you can often find people focused on daily, hands-on scientific activities from recording to explaining issues.

There’s problems. Maybe we geeks can do what we can to help out.

Resources

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Engineering for Change – A community to connect engineers, governments, social scientists, and more to share knowledge and solve problems in a sustainable way.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Engineers Without Borders Canada – A nonprofit Canadian organziation that supports sustainable community engineering projects around the world.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Engineers Without Borders USA – A nonprofit US organziation that supports sustainable community engineering projects around the world.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Marine Conservation Institute – An organized, sustainability-oriented institute focused on protecting marine ecosystems. Heavily driven by partnerships, alliance, and outreach.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Nerds For Nature – And all-volunteer organization that brings together communities, scientists, and technologists to understand and preserve nature, including hands-on projects. Located in California.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Oceana – An international organization focused on sealife preservation and marine issues

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Project Noah – A software platform that brings citizen scientist together in various projects to record and preserve biodiversity and understand nature.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Skeptical Science – A site dedicated to explaining the science of global warning. Always looking for help in donations or paper review.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. World Wildlife Fund – Focuses on preserving and protecting wildlife and related environmental and pollution issues.

[] State Of The World

 

[] Free Speech

Free Speech shouldn’t be empty talk – it’s a real life issue, and one that’s often misunderstood. Do something real about free speech issues in an intelligent way.

There’s two problems with Free Speech – there isn’t enough of it, and most people don’t know what the hell it’s about.

For the latter, we need more education, better understanding, and occasionally informing people they’re full of crap for thinking someone defriending them on social media is censorship. However, I’d like to focus on the former – actively helping people get over it and understand it.

Internet drama aside, there are a lot of threats to free speech – often subtle. A banned book list at a school library, lawsuits designed to squelch opinion, and countries outright controlling what people think and see. Issues of internet access, net neutrality, and freedom. Maybe we geeks can do something about it.

Something like:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Invite authors who’s books and works have been banned to your events.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do reading groups of controversial literature.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Get involved with organizations that support freedom of speech, from donations to getting speakers to events.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Provide access to banned literature or promote it at events.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If it’s relevant to your geeky media (books, comics, video games) do panels or studies of free speech in various countries.

Beyond doing good and helping overcome the at-times subtle censorship people face, being involved in free speech efforts also teaches you what it’s really about. It’s one thing when people complain someone deleted their message board comment – quite something else to realize a beloved book was widely banned in a state. Sometimes understanding free speech is best done by seeing it’s lack.

Here’s a few groups to get you started:

Resources:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Banned Book Week – Celebrate the freedom to read – and take a stand against censorship – with Banned Books week.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Free Press – A savvy organization focused on a free press.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Public Knowledge – An organization focusing on intersecting issues of technology and free speech – access, copyright, net neutrality, innovation, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund – A non-profit organization focused on protecting the First Amendment rights of everyone in the comics/publishing/reading chain. Provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance and education.

 

[] Health Initiatives

Health issues are always important. For geeks, we’re no different than anyone else – but we also have our own unique challenges, interests, and opportunities.

Geeks and health have a complex relationship in my experience. Some people are health geeks, practicing carefully-researched techniques to improve health, often fascinated by the science (like me). Some joyously celebrate the idea of pizza and caffeine as a lifestyle (especially at a con). Some people are drawn to geekdom as health problems limited their physical options – and they pursued the intellectual. Yet others love to cosplay – and really want to loose those last ten pounds.

Health is an issue to everyone, and to we geeks we have a few special, unique concerns and inclinations. So if you want to be a Civic Geek, consider serving the health of the geek community. You just need to find what works for you:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you have knowledge of healthy diets and practices, perhaps you can share it. From effective geeky cooking to tips for exercise in a busy life, perhaps you can speak at events or even lead your local geek group in healthy practices.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you’re aware of specific health concerns, you can speak on that as well. Or you could try forming a support group among your fellow geeks who have similar concerns.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Health support is very important at conventions, events, and so on. Perhaps you can lead, get involved, or even invite organizations to help out.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Depending on your given inclinations, maybe you or your con or club will get involved in public health issues, such as technology and support.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There’s charities that focus on health issues that may need assistance – and some are looking for technical and social solutions you and your fellows might be able to help with.

There’s many, many ways you can take being a civic geek for health.

A lot of these efforts can also tie into other interests. Citizen science can tie into health issues. You can cosplay to raise money to fight a given disease. There’s a lot of options to promote good health as a Civic Geek.

Resources

General

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Operation Hammond – A network of medical professionals and trained people that provide medical services for conventions and staff training.

Prosthetics

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Limbitless Solutions – Technologists of all kinds coming together to develop low-cost/free prosthetic solutions!

 

[] Promote Space Exploration

There are few things more geeky than space exploration. So gear up and geek out to help us get to the stars.

Space may be the final frontier. Exploring space has given us many scientific benefits. But sometimes it seems we forget the value of space travel and get distracted by issues here on earth – forgetting that everything from weather satellites to new technology to the unifying drive to explore benefit us now.

Space travel also requires advocacy. It’s expensive. It’s hard work. It’s often riven with politics.

If you’re any kind of geek you probably support more, better, and frankly expanded space travel. If you’re a specific kind of geek you probably are really a supporter. So help you and your fellow geeks promote space exploration.

You could:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Invite people to speak on it at various geek events – what’s a good convention without a discussion of space travel?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Support some of the causes listed below – or join them. Everyone needs help.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Find local events sponsored by various space-supporting group and get your friends and geek groups to go there.

We’re not going to get off the planet waiting for someone else to do it for us.

But you can make a difference.

Resources:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. 100 Year Starship – They want humanity to be able to leave the solar system by the 22nd century. Speaking, events, advocacy, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Centennial Challenge – A NASA event to help develop new space technology. If you’re not in the US there’s probably similar groups in your country.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Penny 4 Nasa – A group working to raise awareness of NASA, get increases in funding, and promote space exploration. If you’re not in the US there’s probably similar groups in your country.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Planetary Society – Sponsors charities, events, advocacy, and projects to promote space exploration.

[] Technology Refurb And Access

Technology is critical to people’s lives these days. Not everyone has access to computers and computer knowledge. Technical geeks can make sure people have access to technology – and teach people along the way.

If you don’t have internet and computer access, you’re at a disadvantage in the modern world. A lot of people have trouble getting computers.

Ironically, a lot of people are also throwing equipment away.

These are two causes that can come together – refurbishing computers and getting them to people that need them. After all, why throw it away when you can fix it, update it, maybe teach a few lessons – and then get them to people who need them.

There’s a few ways to do this:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. First, you have to collect equipment and get it to people that can fix it. Just the collecting alone can keep you busy – as long as there’s someone to fix it up.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Then there’s fixing up and refurbing the equipment. Any kind of technical geek can probably rally people to do this – or find people that do.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Finally, get it to people who need it. If you can combine this with the fixing, it becomes extra educational.

You can do one or all of these parts of the process to help people out. But there’s also many ways to do this:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Your local club/group/con can do one or all of the parts above.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Your can ally with other groups like hackerspaces and schools to do the work. It might build great alliances.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You could combine this with other events – what if you have a fix-it workshop at a convention? With a hackerspace fix-it session?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You could combine this with other educational activities in computer literacy or fix-it skills? People could make their own computer from old parts.

People need technology. You can make sure they get it – while learning and make electronics recycling easier.

Resources:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Close The Gap – Takes computer donations from european countries and refurbishes them for emerging nations. Also works to recycle unusable equipment safely.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Computers With Causes – Takes donated computers and either gets them to charitable programs, or sells them for funds used to go to programs.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Free Geek (Portland) – A Portland nonprofit that recycles used computers and parts to provide computers and job training to those in need.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Free Geek Chicago – A Chicago nonprofit that recycles used computers and parts to provide computers and job training to those in need.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Little Geeks – A Canadian charity that refurbishes donated computers, and gets them to children in need.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Motor City Free Geek – A Detroit nonprofit that repairs and recycles computers, teaches and educates, and works on Open Source.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. PCS For Schools – Refurbishes and upgrades donated computer equipment and uses it to bridge the technology gap in schools

*
p<>{color:#000;}. World Computer Exchange – A US and Canadian non-profit that reduces the digital divide with education, donated computers, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}.

[] Cosplay and Costuming

 

[] Cosplay For Good

If you can make costumes, if you can cosplay, if you can slip into a role, wouldn’t it be great to use those skills to do good.

Lots of cosplayers already do. They attend events in character, provide skills, raise money, and even visit children in full costume. So why not you and your friends?

It could be something as simple as holding a charity drive or selling off old costumes. It could be as complex as having a group of “superheroes” (played by you and your friends) visit children in need. It could be some kind of amazing event people haven’t even dreamed up yet.

Cosplay, costuming, crafting, acting are all skills that you can do a lot with. Just imagine the possibilities . . .

. . . actually to help you here’s a few organizations to take a look at for ideas or to get involved. I’m sure there’s many, many more out there.

Resources

 

Charitable Work (Inside The US)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cloud City Garrison – Famous for many events, cosplay is just one thing they do.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Heroes Alliance – Cosplayers who use their skills for charity and community events.

 

Charitable Work (Outside the US)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cosplay For Charity – A Belgian cosplay group that attends and helps with charitable events.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Pause For a Cause – A Singaporean cosplay group involved in charity events as well as other ventures.

[] Geek Culture Plus

p<>{color:#000;}.

[] A Diverse Geekdom

Geekdom is about enthusiasm, intelligent, and imagination. Those things are better when we have a broad community that supports different people – and it’s the right thing to do.

Geekdom, that grand celebration of enthusiasm and brains and inspiration, is a wonderful place. However there are times – let us be honest – it has been to narrowly defined. It’s been defined by race, gender, even sexual preference and economic strata. The image of the white, nerdy, straight guy still haunt us – even those of us who are white nerdy straight guys. People in geek history get forgotten because they didn’t fit the mold – or shut out because they don’t.

So it’s up to we geeks to make sure this is a place for everyone. Otherwise we really can’t call ourselves geeks, can we?

Try these ways to get active:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. There’s many good causes. Again, simply donate or raise money for them. There’s a list below.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Donate equipment. A lot of good geeky causes involve IT skills and training, so maybe you – or your employer or company – can make a donation.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Go get involved. A lot of organizations fighting the good fight for equality and diversity need people to teach, speak, and more. You may just learn something when you get hands-on.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Visibility. A lot of people don’t know that the issues of bias that can occur in geekdom, so make them visible in your writing, your convention rules, convention events, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Invite. A lot of the organizations listed below (and many others not listed) would be delighted to speak at your business, convention, club, campus, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Team Up. Many causes for geeky diversity and underserved communities involve training and projects, such as teaching coding or website development. Why not have your club, con, or even business employ people from one of these groups?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Think Geek broadly. Challenge and change yourself.

Geekery really isn’t geekery without diversity. We ignore ideas. We forget history. We forget people. Making an effort for a broader, more historic, more inclusive geekdom is really something for all of us.

See if any of these organizations and groups can help you do more.

Resources:

 

Geeks Of Color

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Black Girls CODE – Introduces girls from underrepresented communities to coding. Focuses on community outreach, education, and technology awareness

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Code 2040 – A nonprofit assisting communities of color by creating paths for education, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Con Or Bust – Focuses on helping geeks of colors and creators of color attend conventions.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Hidden Genius Problem – An Oakland-based nonprofit that encourages technological skills and entrepreneurship for young men of color.

 

Female Geeks

Computing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Anita Borg Institute – A historic institute to assist women in technical careers, fostering innovation by ensuring a broad range of people in technology. Provides a variety of services and ways to get involved.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Girl Develop IT – A nonprofit that provides accessible programs for women who want to learn coding.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Girls Learning Code – A Canadian non-profit that focuses on helping young women learn technical skills in a supportive atmosphere.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Girls Teaching Girls To Code – A Bay Area program where women in CS teach Bay Area high school girls to code.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Grace Hopper Celebration – Produced by the Anita Borg institute, this is a celebration of women in computing.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Ladies Learning Code – A Canadian non-profit that focuses on helping people learn beginner technical skills in a comfortable, social way.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Made With Code – Promotes women in coding with projects, events, and mentoring. Has several alliances and supporters.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Mothercoders – An organization focused on helping mothers get tech-savvy and up-to-date for this economy

*
p<>{color:#000;}. National Center For Women And Information Technology – Focuses on correcting gender imbalance in technology, and bringing the balance of diversity to the industry.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Rails Girls – A worldwide group that works to empower women with technology.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Ada Initiative – An organization that supports women in technology, with a heavy emphasis on codes of conduct, training, and an embrace of open source.

 

STEM

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Geek Girl Dinners – Promotes geek girl friendly events, resources, and connection.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She’s Geeky – An SF Bay organization that provides events and and conferences around the USA for women in STEM.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Tech Girls Canada – Provides national leadership for the various industry groups in canada encouraging women in tech careers.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Women Rock Science – A blog about women in science, from resources to history to recent discoveries.

 

Video Games

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Girls Make Games – A series of international summer camps encouraging girls to explore the world of video games.

Writing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Girls Write Now – Supports future female writers with mentoring, advice, and more.

 

Equality

Fandom

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Fandom For Equality – A multifandom organization supporting representation in media.

Fans-Firefly

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Can’t Stop The Serenity – Firefly/Serenity fans working together to support Equality Now.

Media

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Box Scene – A nonprofit organization focused on representation of people in media

STEM

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Platform – A nonprofit working to increase the participation of under-representted people in the “innovation economy.” Has an annual conference and works with YesWeCode.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Tech Access – Nonprofit focusing on providing students of color access to STEM careers via setting expectations, providing role models, and access.

Writing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We Need Diverse Books – Focus on promoting diverse narratives in children’s literature. Reaches out to individuals and groups in children’s publishing, and is always looking for people to help out.

[] Promote Accessibility

Access to geeky pursuits can be challenging for some people; but you can help with access for people and even do more!

We take it for granted that people can enjoy the same geeky stuff we do. It’s out there, right? Accessible, right? Not quite.

Some geeks suffer from assorted challenges. It may be temporary, like a broken leg or reaction to a medical procedure. It may be far more permanent in the case of disabled limbs and color blindness. If you’re an able-bodied person who’s ever been seriously injured, you know exactly what it’s like to not be able to do the things you love, if only for awhile.

If you’re a geek with a disability or a challenge, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

However we geeks are inventive folks and are at our best when more people can enjoy our community. It’d be time well spent to help geeks who have some challenges, temporary and permanent, enjoy the same things we do.

You could:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Work at a convention and advocate for accessibility policies.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Work with groups that make video games, books, and more accessible to people who have limits.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Promote awareness of just how geek communities can be more open and accessible to people who have their limitations.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you’re really technical, perhaps your geek group could get involved in charities, fix-it-shops, repurposing/refurbishing technology, and other ways to provide accessibility to people – geeks and more.

These activities aren’t just good for geekdom and the people benefiting – they’re good for you and your communities. You learn how other people live, broaden your horizons, open your hearts and minds – and learn ways to help others.

Here’s a few geeky activities to look into to get you started.

Resources

 

Cosplay

*
p<>{color:#000;}. CosAbility – A group focused on helping cosplayers work their physical challenges/disabilities into cosplay!

 

Video Games

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Able Gamers – A charity that works to improve the lives of people with disabilities through video games, including charity work, consultation with gaming companies, and more.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Special Effect – Helps people with disabilities play video games with special technology and a variety of fundraisers. Takes donations and runs events.

[] Support The Troops

Being in the military is challenging, as many people know. Support the geek troops by supporting your mutual interests!

Being stationed away from home and loved ones, moving around when required, tough training, unexpected surprises – being in the military, simply, isn’t an easy job. We’ve all known people in the military life, know the challenges – and know supporting the troops is one way we civilians and current civilians can help our. If we’re geeks, gamers, and so on, we can help out our geeky brethren who wear the uniform.

After all we’re geeks. We know the importance of games, comics, literature, anime, and so on. We know what our fellow geeks in the service like. Let’s make it easier to get it to them.

You could:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Join any number of groups (I’ve got a few listed below) to help out.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Your events, club, and conventions could support groups that help out geeky troops. Imagine a manga donation marathon!

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You could invite current and former members to speak on their experience to your supporting group or club so people know exactly what they experience.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Find ways to get care packages of appropriate material to those in the service.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Work with current military charities in your own geeky ways.

You get to make a real difference in the lives of people, you’ll learn more about what military service is like (or show people), and you get to do good for people in uniform.

In your own, geeky way.

Comics

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Operation Comix Relief – Sends donated comics to soldiers serving on the front lines.

 

Literature

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Books For Soldiers – A non-profit corporation that gets your books to US troops.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Operation Paperback – A nonprofit that gets used books to American troops and military veterans.

 

Literature and Technology

*
p<>{color:#000;}. United Through Reading – Connects US military personnel with their children by video-recorded book readings.

 

Technology

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cell phones For Soldiers – Provides refurbed cell phones and more to soldiers so they can keep in touch.

 

Video Games

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Military Gamers – A community and support network for military and former military gamers from the US military. Promotes healthy gaming and support.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Stack-Up.Org – Gets games to troops and veterans, and builds bridges between civilians and the military with a love of gaming.

 

[] Support Industry Veterans

Sometimes the people that are vital to our geeky communities hit hard times. Rally to help them out.

We’ve all seen sad stories of people that were foundational in our geekery. The great artist who has a tough time. The great author who’s in a health crisis. Many people who were vital but now forgotten having hard times. As geeks, we can help. These are people that made our world, our industry, our media. When they have financial troubles, we can chip in as civic geeks.

What you can do varies by industry, industry awareness, and more, but a few things you can try:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Some professions have organizations to raise money for industry veterans in need. You can always donate.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For organizations helping out veterans in need, some do various charity events.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If a famous veteran has a problem, perhaps your group, club, convention or guild can raise a fundraiser.

What you can do, who’s helping, and how you can help varies. I’d like to see more organizations supporting veterans of geeky media, like the one below. Then again maybe you’ll found one . . .

Resources:

Comics:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Hero Initiative – Being in comics can be a tough road, and this organization helps support comics creators in need.

RPGs:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. RPG Creators Relief Fund – Helps out RPG creators in need.

[] About The Author

Steven Savage is a lifetime geek. Starting with a childhood interest in science, science fiction and computers, to an IT career that started in his twenties, he’s never stopped being an unrepentant enthusiast for video games, technology, media, and more. His enthusiasms expanded to everything from video games to healthy cooking.

 

His goal is to help people in their careers and lives, especially his fellow geeks, fans, and otaku. To that end he writes books on pretty much whatever interests him that he thinks will help people, blogs, speaks at conventions and more.

 

You can contact Steve at his website www.StevenSavage.com.

 

You can find his books at www.InformoTron.com.


You can find his creative tools and generators at www.SeventhSanctum.com.

 


Activities For The Civic Geek

Geeks have unique ways to be active citizens, and this book explores the fun (and surprising ways) that you and your fellow geeks can do good. From cosplaying for good causes to fix-it-shops, gaming marathons to e-recycling, there's always some ways to turn your passion into doing more. In short, snappy sections "Activities For The Civic Geek" explores ways you can geek for good - including helpful links and guides to organizations that you may want to follow or join up with. There's always a way to do more, so find your way!

  • Author: Steven Savage
  • Published: 2016-03-19 19:50:21
  • Words: 11039
Activities For The Civic Geek Activities For The Civic Geek