Caroline Bissonnette is nearly a lifelong resident who now lives in Milwood and has previously lived in the Vine for a year. She is the second to publish from the Fall 2020 class of ON THE GROUND's Community Correspondent's Program. A grant-funded program that compensates participants for attending training workshops and pays to publish their stories, its purpose is to teach journalism basics to residents who are interested in lifting community voices and telling the stories of their neighbors and businesses and organizations that are addressing quality of life issues.
Why did you apply to the Community Correspondents program?
I applied to the Community Correspondents program because I was excited about the opportunity to contribute my voice to the conversations that matter most here in our local community.
What impact do you hope to make?
This year as the nation focuses its attention on Washington D.C and elsewhere I hope to be able to highlight the issues which are impacting our local community right here in Kalamazoo. By shining a light on the people working to implement solutions to local issues I hope to amplify important voices in our midst which are often overlooked.
What topics do you hope to highlight in your writing?
The two issues I hope specifically to cover are local environmental issues (a subject I have had a passion for and spent time researching since college), and also hope to highlight the voices and stories of women within our community, especially those who are working to better our community in unusual or impactful ways. Women's voices have too often been silenced over the course of history and I hope to do my small part to help turn up the volume!
Any thoughts you'd like to share about the Community Correspondent program? What can you say to encourage others to consider participating in the Community Correspondent program?
The Community Correspondents program was an amazing chance to connect with like-minded individuals who are deeply invested in the community, and it also provides aspiring journalists with an opportunity to dive deeper into local issues. Kathy, our editor and instructor, was both knowledgeable and encouraging - she allowed each participant both the direction needed to grow as a journalist and writer, as well as space and resources to thrive while working independently. For anyone who is looking to take the next step into journalism, I can not recommend the course enough!