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WikiSoCal 2017
summaryNew Approaches for WikiVolunteer Engagement We believe that the most accurate information should be accessible to every person on earth. We also want to make it possible for every person to be part of the wiki movement, in whatever ways they can, inclusive of all cultural backgrounds, ages, and abilities. We build volunteer programs with organizations who want to work to create sustainable volunteer activities across our wiki projects. We welcome you to join us!
targetSpanish, Simple and English Wikipedias
type of granton and offline training activities and events
amount$30,000 USD
grantee• [[User:WikiSoCal|WikiSoCal]]
contact• dr.mel.ganus@gmail.com
project managerDrMel
this project needs...
project manager
community organizer
created on03:44, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
round 1 2017

Project idea[edit]

If you build it, they will come.

  • Mysterious voice to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams

It's not about saving our world, it's about saving theirs.

  • Michael Douglas to Paul Rudd in Antman [1]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Accessibility to comprehensive, accurate information has grown so much over the years, but still there remains an incredible room for improvement. Beyond working to make it easier for every person online to access high-quality information, Wiki improvements need to come from more community-wide efforts, supported by volunteers from Mexico and the United States. Wikipedians have an ever more pressing need to protect and improve the quality of information available online and to support the work of the volunteers and community members that make these improvements possible. Retention of quality volunteers in the wikipedia community could be better. There are numerous volunteers and organizations willing to help the wiki movement in a wide variety of ways. We are making an urgent call to engage and support more volunteers to support the wiki movement. Together we can promote knowledge worldwide and create opportunities for ongoing involvement and support for wikipedia volunteers.

What is your solution?[edit]

WikiSoCal the usergroup has a unique solution to the retention and ongoing care of new volunteers. This solution can be broken down into a three phase volunteer program:

Phase Simple Spanish English
Phase 1: Partnership Development American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Wiki Mexico Quality of Life Enterprise: Supported by Media Arts Center of San Diego
Phase 2: Community Outreach Individuals who are blind Spanish speakers Adults and children of San Diego
Phase 3: Improved Accessibility of Wikipedia Projects Simple English Spanish English

Phase 1 is the active partnership development with organizations who support accessibility in many forms. AFB is committed to working with Quality of Life Enterprise to engage with other organizations to support the community outreach for volunteers.

Phase 2 is the community outreach phase. With the use of social media, PDF brochures, and email, WikiSoCal will continue to grow the recruitment of volunteers. By being active in the community online and offline (i.e., schools, public and private events, etc.) wikiSoCal establishes rapport with organizations and individuals. Some of our community outreach will be establishing more partnerships with organizations to create access to more volunteers. Our main goal for this project is to bring in more volunteers that are blind, young, English, simple English, and native Spanish speakers.

Phase 3 involves more than just improved accessibility to articles on Spanish and English platforms. We will be incorporating new learning pattern activities during our community outreach that will directly affect the quality of current articles. Quality can be measured by using the Programs and Events dashboard that collects data for campaigns.

History of WikiSoCal[edit]

WikiSoCal began their pilot testing in February of 2016. The team members gained valuable experience working to help develop WikiCon USA, including survey past attendees and submitting a new proposal. Users from WikiSoCal who experienced WikiCon USA 2016 partook in an extraordinary 4-day weekend of outreach and community building activities, with a theme of "Inclusivity".

WikiSoCal’s particular set of logistic and programming contributions to the

Total Amount of in-kind donation for 2016= $75,000

1. an in-kind donation of space and staff time from the San Diego Downtown Library (worth more than $35,000), 2. discounted housing rates at the closest hotel and hostels (worth more than $3,500) 3. a day of activities hosted at Balboa Park with special access to most museums (worth more than $5,000) 4. a collection of incredible expert volunteers willing to give their high-value time to our cause, advising and offering their resources to help make the events as inclusive and meaningful as possible (worth more than $30,000 in combined pro bono time).

WikiSoCal was granted $750 to help with the monthly meetup costs to continue to grow the user network in San Diego. As a team WikiSocal developed a retention check process. This data provided statistics based off of the learning design modules used in the meetups. This ongoing method can improve the quality of active and new volunteers within the movement. In the pilot testing of 2016, WikiSoCal’s retention rate for quarter one was nearly 50% of volunteers. We strongly believe that with an inflow of outside support within the movement and other organizations we can create a reliable training process to increase the retention of quality volunteers.

Invitations to WikiSoCal activities for 2017 are posted at www.meetup.com/wikisocal (please sign up!), and include:

· Promoted monthly meetups, inclusive of all WikiFans, friends, and family - with activities for all ages, abilities, and backgrounds · Weekly planning sessions with core team members, face-to-face and online, to design and test our learning pattern activities and collect longitudinal data to improve the training and retention of quality volunteers.

Project goals[edit]

  • Establish 3 collaborative organizational partnerships.
  • Design, test, and share 6 new learning patterns for wiki projects, with data from the outreach dashboard during our community engagement phase (i.e., Metrics will include: articles created, articles edited, number of editors, and words added).
  • Develop an ongoing volunteer program that directly improves accessibility for quality information on Simple English, Spanish, and English Wiki projects.

Who will you be doing outreach with?

We are working to outreach to the blind and the sighted, English and Spanish-speakers within and beyond the United States and Mexico. In the US, more than 23 million people have identified ourselves as blind or vision impaired. We also have 45 million Spanish speakers within the US, and . And millions of other people looking for opportunities to make a difference in the world. Our outreach objectives are extremely inclusive – everyone is welcome to participate in any of our activities and events, and will be given guidelines for identifying how to do what they want to do. 


Already completed - 2016

February to April - First 3 WikiSoCal Monthly Meetups, held at Mission Valley Branch Library in San Diego, CA (supported by $750 PEG grant), invited by Downtown Library to hold monthly editathons in their computer lab. Applied for $30k IEG grant, and joined WALRUS group.

May to July - Began intense WikiCon research, planning, resource and partnership development for small and large multi-day events in 2016 & 2017; two additional meetups in May (photo hunt in Balboa Park) and June (first Editathon in Downtown Library); IEG grant was unsupported by mid-July all WikiSoCal activities suspended until WikiConference North America concluded.

October to December - New team members and advisors recruited to support WikiSoCal growth. Monthly editathons and meetups begin again, with meetups in October and December and additional site visits and planning meetings for core team at Balboa Park.

2017 - So Far January through April 4 (grant submission deadline):

  • Intense momentum and development of partnerships with American Foundation for the Blind, Wikimedia México, San Diego's Balboa Park and Libraries.
  • Extensive outreach to experts, potential partner organizations, students and other volunteers.
  • Wikimedia Mexico's Paulina Sanchez visited San Diego for first site visit (sponsored by Paulina Sanchez).
  • Two more small monthly meetups, held at Mission Valley library in January & February.
  • Weekly planning meetings with core team at Balboa Park.
  • Finalized PEG grant report from 2016.
  • DrMel's trip to San Francisco, representing WikiSoCal (sponsored by AFB) for tours and meetings with Wikimedia Foundation, Wiki Education Foundation, San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind, and lunch with Dr Phil Zimbardo.
  • DrMel's trip to DC, representing WikiSoCal, for AFB National Leadership Conference (sponsored by AFB), announced additional recruiting, partnership agreements and event planning. Grant writing and additional fundraising activities developed.
  • Grant development, partnership recruitment, strategic and event planning.
  • Assist with Downtown Library's first Human Library event, recruiting volunteers.
  • Continued needs and resources analysis, with research, design and test of service learning activities
  • Continued development of partnership and volunteer recruitment and agreements
  • Designed WikiConSoCal t-shirt fundraiser for Booster.com.
  • Monthly meetup and wikithon at Mission Valley Library, Sunday, March 26
  • Weekly planning meetings at Balboa Park and online
  • Ongoing communications with existing team, partners, advisors and new recruitment
  • Designed new WikiSoCal Volunteer, Service Learning and Internship Programs
  • Monthly meetup and wikithon at Mission Valley Library, Saturday, April 15


  • Prepare for summer activities
  • Monthly meetup and wikithon at Mission Valley Library, Sunday, May 28
  • Weekly planning meetings at Balboa Park and online
  • Ongoing communications with other team members
  • Marketing online and offline: Welcoming of individuals of any age, culture, and ability.
  • Learning Patterns at Wiki campaigns: pre and post surveys soft skills, skills training in areas of interest.

June: July:

  • Comic-Con community outreach
  • GLBTQ Pride March community outreach
  • Learning Patterns at Wiki campaigns: pre and post surveys soft skills, skills training in areas of interest.

August: September:

  • Finalize 2017 event and activity designs and decisions
  • Training for event volunteers Learning Patterns at Wiki campaigns: pre and post surveys soft skills, skills training in areas of interest.
  • Learning Patterns at Wiki campaigns: pre and post surveys soft skills, skills training in areas of interest. MAX QOL


  • Events in Balboa Park and around the San Diego and Tijuana areas, with remote participation from around the world
  • Publicize all materials and make learning activities available freely online


  • November 6-8, National Federation of the Blind "Dare to Be Remarkable" training conference
  • WikiSoCal Project assessments
  • Monthly meetup
  • Support for WikiConference North America in San Diego, as needed
  • Collaborate with AFB for their Technology Fair


  • Plans for 2018
  • Grant and funder reports


Total Requested: $30,000 for expenses through December 31, 2017

Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 Partnership programs Volunteer program 1 1 15000 15000 USD Development and management
2 Outreach events Festivals 1 3 2000 6000 USD Community engagement
3 Outreach events Wikithon meetups 1 6 500 3000 USD Community engagement: Meetups/ campaigns
4 Outreach events Team meetups 1 18 100 1800 USD Organization meetups
5 Evaluation Metrics 1 6 months 200 1200 USD Progress monitoring and report metrics
6 Overheads Bookkeeping 1 6 months 333 2000 USD Technology, travel, supplies, etc
7 Contingency 1 6 months 166 1000 USD Unexpected expenses that may occur

Project team[edit]

About the idea creators[edit]

WikiSoCal is a growing collection of community organizers and organizational representatives working together to develop extraordinary volunteer program and service learning activities. DrMel has been a Wikipedian since 2004, with many years of experience as a philanthropist, community organizer, volunteer program developer, learning designer, and behavior change expert. In 2016, she helped co-found WikiSoCal with a series of editathons, and became conference facilitator for WikiConference North America. Kirk Adams is president of the American Foundation for the Blind, our lead partner. Ivan Martinez and Paulina Sanchez represent Wikimedia Mexico. Phil Zimbardo's Heroic Imagination Project brings us even more volunteers who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others. We are also working with a number of San Diego's GLAM and nonprofit organizations, with a special focus on community building events and volunteer service learning activities in San Diego's Library System and Balboa Park Museum District.

HOW DO WE ALL FIT TOGETHER? Together with our partners, we are developing internationally inclusive volunteer programs and communities, with high impact, accessible, and engaging service learning experiences. Each partner organization has committed to ongoing support for these projects with time and other resources as available. The wiki movement is one of the most significant projects in human history, and one of the most meaningful any of us have been part of. We are trying to make it easier for our volunteers to help within the Wikimedia projects, and hope you, the Wikimedia Community, can help. Be idea creators with us, and help with the creative problem solving! With an incredible number of potential volunteers available from the communities we are part of, we believe this work is not only possible, but critically important to continue with. We invite you to join us in making this possible.

Project team[edit]


  • Dr Melissa Ganus - DrMel - QoL-X, Project Director, Partnership Development, Outreach & Designs
  • Paulina Sanchez - Psanchez820 - Wikimedia Mexico Organizer, Program Design, Spanish Inclusivity
  • Priya Dharshini – TiagoGracia – Project Management, Finance, Graphic Design
  • Rocco Petrongolo – Rocco91928 – IT Coordinator,  Mediawiki, Programming
  • Julia Gomez - EB90 – Project Management, Learning Designs, Outreach, Assessment
  • Stan Wilson - Slwsandiego - Project Management, Logistics, Operations



  • Dr Brian Detweiler-Bedell - Psychology, Heroism and Resource Development
  • Nedra Weinrich – Regional, National and International Social Change Campaigns
  • Steven Wright – Strategic Planning, Graphic Facilitation, Visualizations
  • Helaine Blumenthal – Wiki Education Foundation, Blindness, Wiki & Education
  • Dr T. Noble Foster, JD - Meditation and Negotiation Skills
  • Tyler Walker - ImprovEverywhere and flash mob expertise
  • Linda Nguyen - Logistics, Housing, Tourism
  • Caitlan Hernandez – Blindness and Education
  • Jon Mindas – Fundraising and Nonprofit Program Development
  • Sophie Ellis - Youth Programs and Activity Design
  • Thea Finney - Public event management
  • Dr Zanna Smith - Research and Applied Psychology
  • Kaitlyn Heap - Graphic Designs and Youth Programs
  • Dr Nat Finney - Grant Writing, Education and Sciences
  • Dr Stephen Carroll - Metalearning, Writing, Nonprofit Funding
  • Dr Andrea Letamendi - Popular Culture, ComicCon and Applied Psychology
  • Stephen Nicholls - Personal Safety and Self Defense Instructor
  • Dr David Caruso - Emotional Intelligence Development
  • Valerie Sutton - American Sign Language, SignWriting and ASL Wiki
  • Ian Seyer - Technical advisor and Design Vision

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Beyond our growing group of current volunteers, interns, advisors and core team members, we want to acknowledge the incredible support we've had from so many other wonderful people who aren't active in our projects at the moment. Once we've got our systems setup, we'll be inviting all y'all to join us again! Many thanks to each and every one of you. Looking forward to catching up.

Get Involved[edit]

Community engagement[edit]

Through our extensive network of collaborative organizations, in our region, nationally and internationally, we will be able to invite and include anyone who is interested in being part of the wiki movement. San Diego is a fantastic destination city, with ample venues and housing to host any wiki events. Our project will include strategic plans for social media and live outreach materials and scripts for events and other opportunities.


  • Project manager Committed to continuing the development of WikiSoCal volunteer programs and outreach activities. DrMel (talk) 04:05, 20 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Advisor Committed to working on ideas to include the Spanish speaking community into WikiSoCal activities. Psanchez820


Want to endorse this as a good idea? Or express your comments and questions? You can review what others have posted below and add your name and comments by:

  • answering a couple questions in this SurveyMonkey Questionnaire (especially for people without wiki editing experience),
  • posting your comments and questions on this proposal's Discussion Page
  • clicking the button in the upper right infobox above, and/or wiki-editing this section directly.

Thank you!

  • Slowking4 (talk)
  • Commendable project. But easier said than done! DiptanshuTalk 10:29, 3 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is an incredibly important project since the goal of Wikimedia is to compile all human knowledge, it is only fitting that all humans be included and it is far from that right now. I fully support this project and hope to be able to work together with WikiSoCal to make it a reality. Psanchez820
  • from Kirk Adams [2], President of American Foundation for the Blind (afb.org): "The American Foundation for the Blind is dedicated to the inclusion of people who are blind and visually impaired in every aspect of life. Accessing and creating knowledge and information is one of the highest level activities in today society, enhancing the inclusion of people who are blind in these activities by engagement with Wikipedia is a goal that we fully support." [3]
  • I strongly believe that the quality of what will be produced within this project will be profound. I am willing to devote my time and knowledge for the benefit of others, not only for the individuals involved today, but all of the recruited volunteers to come. EB90 (talk) 23:46, 14 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • from Dr. Phil Zimbardo, Founder and President of Heroic Imagination Project[4]: "Wikipedia is one of the most important sources of information on the planet, and we are enthusiastic about having WikiSoCal here in California. Our world needs so many more heroes in these troubling times when democracies are being threatened by autocratic elites. We in the Heroic Imagination Project are working to inspire a new generation of everyday heroes, especially among our youth."[5]
  • Valerie Sutton, Director ASL Wikipedia Project "We wholeheartedly support and endorse WikiSoCal's efforts in improving support for volunteers and we hope to actively participate in working with WikiSoCal and supporting them in their efforts in the future. Our Deaf writers and editors need assistance in learning how to edit Wikipedia articles. It is a win-win project. It helps Wikipedia increase the numbers of happy and ongoing volunteers, and it also gives Wikipedia a good reputation for being inclusive to everyone, including those from the Deaf Community and other groups that until recently, have not been included. If volunteers have good experiences and good feelings related to Wikipedia, there will be more volunteerism. I have been surprised at how daunting a task it is, to learn how to use Wikipedia software, and in my case, I need to be able to teach others how to do it too, using American Sign Language, and so I need to be trained and I welcome the help from this project." [6]
  • In working with individual and families who suffer from various mental/physical health ailments over the past eight years, I can unequivocally write this endorsement for Dr. Melissa Ganus and her amazing team for this projected grant. WikiSoCal has produced a team and a concept that is advanced when it comes to producing an all-encompassing and interactive opportunity for children of all ages and abilities. With the support of this grant, WikiSoCal will be able to launch volunteer outreach programs that not only reach those with disabilities but will bring new and energetic volunteers to Wikipedia.Jmindas02 (talk) 20:10, 22 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Phenomenal organization. WikiMedia has created one of the most powerful non profits in the world, and expansion of its activities towards volunteer inclusion only makes it more cohesive and capable. This projects seem well outfitted to achieve its goals and foster growth. Ianseyer (talk) 23:49, 29 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Community notification[edit]

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips? We are ready to notify everyone of our proposal and would welcome having your suggestions and help sharing it across your circles. Please post comments here or on our talk page with descriptions of any people or groups you'd recommend we reach out to, and what links you'd recommend we use. Thank you!


  1. citations needed. Anyone want to add those?
  2. http://www.afb.org/info/about-afb/president-and-ceo-biography-7543/25
  3. from message sent to DrMel by Kirk Adams 3/12/17
  4. www.heroicimagination.org
  5. from email sent to DrMel by Zimbardo 3/14/17
  6. Valerie Sutton, Director ASL Wikipedia Project, submission from survey monkey.