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Legal aid Drupal meetup May 26...and a whole lot more on the way!

By Samantha Kyrkostas on May 06, 2016

One of the other projects I've been working on is the Drupal community technology initiative grant (TIG) that started in January and was awarded to Idaho Legal Aid Services as part of the Legal Services Corporation's Technology Initiative Grant program (thank you LSC!). If you are on the LSNTAP or DrupalShare listservs, you hopefully saw Mary Zimmerman's announcement that the first Legal Aid Drupal meetup is scheduled for May 26 online. This is the first of a quarterly series of online meetups. This meetup is just one of several components in the 2 year TIG project.

The TIG grew out of activities from the 2015 TIG conference. So much good Drupal stuff was being demonstrated and talked about that year--the newest release of DLAW, the triage platform out of Maine and Massachusetts, and we at ILAO had just announced our move to Drupal. Kathleen Caldwell reached out to me with the idea of putting something in for the 2016 TIG cycle around the idea of promoting these projects and creating some infrastructure for the legal aid Drupal community. Then she roped Mary in to be the LSC-funded grant applicant (thanks Mary!). I think the project grew as we brought in other members of the community--Brian Dyer Stewart, Abhijeet Chavan and Urban Insight, Rochelle Hahn, Vince Morris, Brian Rowe, Scott Friday, to help develop the project.

Under the grant, the partners on the project have agreed to:

  • Plan and lead these quarterly meetups where we bring the community together to share information, brainstorm ideas, and learn from each other
  • Six trainings on Drupal-specific topics. Look for a training needs survey in the very near future to help us prioritize what we focus those trainings on.
  • A space for sharing code developed by the community
  • Mentoring and support from the developers in the community, including from myself, Brian Dyer Stewart, Scott Friday, and Urban Insight.
  • A hackathon in conjunction with the 2017 TIG conference
  • A community developed Content Scorecard module to help sites evaluate content. This was Vince Morris' brainchild and ILAO has contracted with Idaho to build it. We'll be collecting feedback from the community as we start to pull together requirements for the project.

If you use Drupal in legal aid, please consider attending the meetups and getting involved in this project.

I am thrilled that Idaho Legal Aid Services selected ILAO to be a partner on this project. I've benefited immensely by the greater Drupal community, especially so many here in the Chicago area that have shared their expertise with me as I've made the transition to Drupal developer/architect and can not wait to share back what I've learned and what ILAO is building with the rest of the community.

ps: After the meetup was announced, Ken Montenegro posted a reminder to the LSNTAP list that there is also a broader nonprofit Drupal group through NTEN that meets online monthly. Their May meeting will discuss Content Strategy for Mobile.

pps: We've been busy working away on the website build as we approach a July 25, 2016 launch date. Interested in a sneak peak? Come to our May 25 Annual Benefit. Unfortunately, the final sprint to the finish line has limited our blogging.

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