"I believe to my core that we are called to serve others. My intention of pursuing a Masters in Organizational and Strategic Communication from the Knight School was to more completely fulfill my purpose and to serve others more effectively, not only in my career, but in my life," said Shannon Hames, Knight School class of 2011.
Shannon is the marketing and development director for Right Moves for Youth, a Charlotte-based school support program whose mission is to provide the resources, guidance and motivation for students grades 4 to 12 to succeed in school and attain the life skills necessary to become proactive and contributing members of society.
"My experience in the Knight School Master's of Organizational and Strategic Communication program first provided me with an awesome opportunity to learn new skills in a safe environment," she said. "When I started the program, social media was an area I felt inadequately prepared to participate in as an individual, let alone to represent the agency that I work with - Right Moves for Youth. In the course, Communicating for the Digital Age, Dr. John McArthur taught me how to blog and use Twitter and even how to more effectively use Facebook and LinkedIn."
"My final Capstone project was exciting. Dr. Kim Weller Gregory and Dr. Leanne Pupchek encouraged me to develop something that would be useful in the future. I created a digital media literacy curriculum for the students in Right Moves for Youth. I helped the students create Wordpress blogs and Twitter accounts and showed them how to use them effectively. The introduction to these social media tools gave them a new way not only to communicate, but to market themselves as potential employees," Shannon said.
Right Moves for Youth programming is designed to promote positive youth development by enhancing participants' academic accomplishments, leadership ability, life skills awareness, self-esteem and civic responsibility.
"What's so important is that these young people are gaining confidence by getting a chance to participate in a much wider conversation than they otherwise might have access to. Digital communication tools provide them with a medium where their social and financial status is not stressed nearly as much as their ability to add value in the greater conversation."
Here are some of the student blogs Shannon helped inspire: http://ericmolina2011.wordpress.com; http://portiafulwiley.wordpress.com ; http://ikemajohnson.wordpress.com .
Right Moves for youth collaborates with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and other community partners to help student members improve their school attendance, behavior and academic performance.
"The Knight School of Communication provided me with a better platform to do my work with Right Moves for Youth. My educational experiences also help to provide unique opportunities for current and future Right Moves for Youth students."