ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Resource Opportunities Centre, since it's inception in 1998, as the Terence Bay & Area C@P Site, has been keen to use today's new technology for the betterment of our community. Our mandate clearly reflects our desire " The Resource Opportunities Centre provides access to information and technology-related learning and resources for the community it serves."
Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors the ROC has accessed funding through a wide variety of government programs that have created over 60 local employment opportunities.
We have provided work experience, computer skills training and job search services to area residents. We offer a variety of computer courses, from basics to more advanced applications including web design, accounting, Microsoft Office applications and children's'/youth workshops and more. We act as a hub of information exchange through our web page, newsletter and established community network.
"Teaching Technology Through Tradition" is the first in what we hope will be a series of digital histories collection projects undertaken by the Resource Opportunities Centre.
The ROC Board made successful application to Nova Scotia Department
of Community Services and Human Resource Development Canada under
the Labour Market Development Agreement, which provided funding
and Human Resources for this project. Funding was also successfully
obtained from Halifax Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia Department
of Tourism and Culture.
The Resource Opportunities Centre, located in Terence Bay Elementary School serves the communities/villages of Terence Bay, Prospect, Shad Bay, McGrath's Cove, East and West Dover, Brookside, Blind Bay, Bayside, Lower Prospect, White's Lake, Hatchet Lake, and Goodwood, all of which are featured in this project.
Many of the communities in the area were thriving fishing communities in the past, and have suffered economically and emotionally, as a result of the fisheries crisis. Many of these communities are also very rich in cultural heritage, having been recognized internationally for their arts and crafts, weaving, rug hooking, woodworking, folk artists, painting, and sculpture. Many of the buildings and institutions, which historically supported the cultural activities in the area, are no longer in existence, while other groups and shops have sprung up in attempts to revive this heritage.
These small coastal villages have traditionally been very self reliant and community oriented. When the local economy began to decline due to the crisis in the fishing industry, many residents were forced to seek employment in the city and beyond. Since this trend began we have witnessed a decrease in community activity and involvement, as most families have two parents who work outside the area and have little time or energy to put into community volunteer efforts.
Some of the communities along the Prospect Rd have become suburban/bedroom communities, where people have moved to live outside the city, but whose lives and work remain focused away from the local community where they live. Other communities, have been proactive in maintaining a strong sense of community and developing opportunities for residents within the community.
All are communities strung along the circuitous Route 333, separated from one another by distance and lack of public transportation.
The aim of this project was to provide a forum for these small communities to work together to support one another, as they did in the past. We designed our "Teaching Technology Through Tradition" project to be completely portable, in order that our staff and volunteers could work out of many locations in neighbouring villages, to gather and share the stories, records and memorabilia, while at the same time ensuring our technological resources were being put to good use in the wider community.
Our "Teaching Technology Through Tradition" project gave ROC the first opportunity to collect and digitize information about the history of our area.
This project clearly demonstrated the wealth of stories and information that abounds in each of the unique villages that make up our area. Through the course of the last twelve months, we have amassed an enormous amount of information, some of which we have not been able to include in this presentation, however we sincerely wish to thank everyone who worked with us so generously.
This initial sampling was done in partnership with HRDC's Job Creation Program. Our Job Creation Participants for the project came to us with a range of IT skills and work experience. Through the process of project design and by working collaboratively, each JCP participant has gained valuable work experience and learned new skills that they will be able to use as they rejoin the workforce. In turn the JCP staff shared their knowledge with interested community members, both through informal and formal training sessions. Thereby increasing the skill base of local residents.
The focus of this project was to use the interest, enthusiasm and community momentum gained through the digital histories collection to introduce residents to the world of Information Technology.
We designed a systematic approach to information gathering, targeting villages individually, by identifying "community gatekeepers". We were well equipped for this task and used our portable computer, laptop, mobile dial-up Internet connection, digital mini disk recorder, digital stills and video camera as well as our portable scanner to capture the information without having to remove treasured possessions from the homes of participants.
Once we had identified willing and knowledgeable residents to interview, many of whom freely gave photographs and documents for scanning, we shared the results of the collection in informal gatherings through the use of our LCD projector and screen. These informal presentations were much enjoyed by volunteer participants and often led to group reminiscing. Through these kinds of gatherings it has been relatively easy to establish a community sense of ownership and pride in the project.
Project staff and community volunteers researched each of our volunteer interviewees family history using the Internet and mini presentations were given in the homes of the interviewees to demonstrate this application of Information Technology.
We held regular planning meetings with stakeholders to allow for a collaborative approach to design, layout and content development. Through this process volunteers, work placement and project staff identified areas of skill development that were needed, and training sessions were arranged through ROC connections.
The establishment of the Prospect Road and Area Seniors Network has been a tremendous community resource for this project. The network provides access to the older residents from all of the villages in the area through their ever-growing membership. Collectively the community knowledge and life experience of our senior citizens is priceless and we hope to showcase some of the characters that make our area unique in this sampling.