According to Wikipedia, "outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public. Unlike marketing, outreach does not inherently revolve around a product or strategies to increase market share. Typically non-profits, civic groups, and churches engage in outreach.
"Outreach often takes on an educational component (i.e., the dissemination of ideas), but it is increasingly common for organizations to conceive of their outreach strategy as a two-way street. In this case outreach is also framed as engagement, rather than simple dissemination/education."
I did my first outreach in May 2006 (see photo) after being a member of Connecticut Outreach Society (COS) for over 16 years. COS has two components: to support the trans community and to educate civilians about the trans community.
When I volunteered to do outreach, I had ulterior motives. I was looking for an opportunity to go out en femme that was relatively safe, but beyond the safety net of a support group meeting.
A lot of the outreach performed by COS took place at colleges and universities. I figured that these were safe places because they usually are bastions of diversity and tolerance. So I asked to be included on the outreach team the next time COS did outreach at a college or university.
A year or two later, I also joined the Stonewall Speakers outreach team.
Colleges, universities, and other organizations contact COS or Stonewall Speakers when they have a need for outreach. Then COS or Stonewall Speakers contacts its volunteers (like me) to find out who is available to do outreach at the required time and place.
Between COS and Stonewall Speakers, I receive an assignment to do outreach about four times per year. As a result, I have done outreach at Saint Joseph College, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut, University of Hartford. and Wesleyan College. By the way, if I was not employed full-time, I would be then available for additional assignments because most occur during the weekday.
Tomorrow, I will describe what happens at outreach.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Reaching Out En Femme