Michelle Warren, Associate Professor of Spanish at UNK, has been part of our Bilingual Community Connectors meetings. This group has been meeting weekly via Zoom to discuss ways to better serve our non-English speaking neighbors. Through those conversations, we have begun to create more cohesive communication between organizations and identify that there is a true community need for one collective source for information; not solely to survive Covid, but also to provide clearer, streamlined access to vital information for all times of need and in different languages.
Warren through a colleague had been made aware of a web based system and app that Lincoln had created a few years ago called MyLNK. This system provides Lincoln residents to access all nonprofit and city and state service information in one place. Meanwhile Warren also became aware of grants coming from the University of Nebraska system. Warren along with Dr. Chandra Diaz wrote and were awarded a $10,000 grant to get a MyLNK system off the ground for the Buffalo County Area.
Don’t Panic Labs and a Leadership Lincoln volunteer group created the myLNK app in 2017 to allow Lincoln residents to access all nonprofit and city and state service information in one place. Previously, there was no electronic source of information that was consistently updated and easily accessible to the public. These were some of the problems that the Bilingual Community Connectors group had identified in the Kearney area, along with information not being given out in other languages. The app will automatically change the info into different languages.
Warren with the help of Matt Morris, Data Coordinator at BCCP, are hosting conversations with community members to gather information that will populate the app. “We are hoping to be able to go live with the app this fall,” Warren said. After the app is live different community organizations will receive training on how to use the app.
The group was encouraged by the system’s ability to update very quickly if needed. Information has been changing at such a rapid pace during the pandemic The app can also be downloaded onto a phone or device when connected to wifi and then be able to be used without an internet connection.
Warren credits Community Partners with helping her find support for the project. “I heard Denise (Zwiener, BCCP) say that she supported this process and that gave me hope that we could get community buy in for the project. Getting that buy in from other community organizations is what is going to make this thing a success,” said Warren.
If you are interested in being part of either the Bilingual Community Connectors or the MyLNK planning team please contact Matt, firstname.lastname@example.org/