For Co-Founders, Ronald Tate, CEO, and Dianne Curtain, COO, their paths crossed just that way under some unlikely circumstances. Ron and Dianne both applied for the same position with their former employee. Ron got the job but Dianne was also offered another position with the company. As time went on, they got to know each other by talking about their career interests: with Ron it was technology, right-path youth and veterans; with Dianne it was media, LGBTQ youth and seniors. Ron is a veteran with all the continued focus and thoughts about improving veteran services and opportunities and has work with at-risk youth through the public school system. Dianne has spent a great deal of time with youth in and out of the classroom, providing media instruction as well as community support for youth programs. After months of talking about their ideas, the birth of Digital Media Instructional Technology Services happened February 2011.
Digital Media Instructional Technology Services that was founded in Silicon Valley, California to tackle the obstacles that hinder the right-path youth, veterans seniors and LGBTQ youth through media and technology education and grow a sustainable regional economy, cultivate leadership and knowledge, and foster respect for all.
Digital Media Instructional Technology Services (DMITS) develops programs for building social, computer and academic skills among under-served right-path youth, veterans seniors and LGBTQ youth . Through the Our Life! And Our Voice! Programs, they gain valuable skills and resources necessary to gain employable skills and raise self-esteem. DMITS’s rich multimedia curriculum integrates life skills, media and technology with academic learning to achieve sustainable digital inclusion initiatives to benefit under-served populations.
Dianne saw a growing trend of online magazines that larger companies were taking advantage of; however, in her own experience as a photojournalist, she knew that for a non-profit- to be successful at this- they would have to have an edge. It’s Dianne and Ron’s goal to have DMITS all over the United States to help these under-served populations benefit from an opportunity they would not normally have.
A self funded startup with only two employees, DMITS soon partnered with Catalyst for Youth, a non- profit, 501 (c) 3 public charity and educational organization that primarily targets at risk youth and young adults from 13 years old through 25 years old. Along with them, they partnered with CreaTV San Jose, whose mission is to inspire, educate and connect San Jose communities, using media to foster civic engagement.
Ron and Dianne both worried that it might mean they would both lose their jobs, but instead of burying their heads, they spent many phone hours and weekends plotting and planning a business idea around their unlikely formula of serving the under-served. For Dianne, who’s had many entrepreneurial ideas and business beginnings in South Carolina and Georgia, family were not surprised by this new venture, but again, everything takes money. Beginning with an idea and a part-time salary, lots of prayers and good wishes just was not enough. For Ron too, who has started a non-profit in California working with right-path youth, he soon found the frustrations of finding dependable partners and funds to become a bit daunting.
Working together as a team and receiving moral support from family and friends, they have gotten help from freelance grant and business plan writers, students at the neighboring art college and curriculum volunteers to develop a solid and low cost concept for DMITS. They were recently featured on Outlook Video in San Jose, California, about their program, which is scheduled to start in January 2012. They were also funded by Focus Business Bank in San Jose, California, to do a PSA on the non-profit, for airing on local stations. They explored fundraising this year with the “Walk For Our Local Youth” event.
- Our Life! : Our Life is the central program of Digital Media Instructional Technology Services, Inc. provide students the opportunity to produce a web-based magazine in English on a specific theme (the theme will be depended upon what group session the student is enrolled; i.e. right-path youth, veterans seniors and LGBTQ youth
- Our Voice! : Our Voice focuses on documentaries filmed on the viewpoint of the right-path youth, veterans seniors and LGBTQ youth. We will use the documentary with a related high school curriculum they design. The curriculum and documentary will be available for free to educators.
- Higher Ground: Higher Ground engages right-path youth, veterans seniors and LGBTQ youth with social networking to establish partners and mentors.
- Connection: Offering guidance that will connect with long term help for right-path youth, veterans seniors and LGBTQ youth .
Potential partners, donors and applicants can visit them at www.dmits.org for more information about this up and coming nonprofit.