'Outlooks' Newspaper Giving Members a Voice

Welcome to QC Enews Empowerment

The noun “outlook” has several meanings according to Merriam-Webster. Depending on its use, it can be a place with a particular vista, a worldview, or the prospect for the future. 

Here at Quality Connections, Outlooks has another definition; it is the name of the newspaper created by our members and giving them a voice on what is important to them. Our first story is about this relatively new program that draws from the talents of all our members.

It’s part of our continuing effort to empower our members to share their vision, which also includes our QC Learning newsletter and Route 66 The Ghost radio – communication channels that are also driven by the people we serve.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Enews Empowerment.

– Armando Bernasconi,
Co-Founder and CEO

'Outlooks' Newspaper Giving QC Members A Voice

In the latest edition of Outlooks, the member run newspaper that is created entirely by Quality Connections members, you can find the following articles:

  • The cover story about Flagstaff Makers Space, the 5,000-square-foot workshop co-op on Kaibab Lane that includes a tool library, wood and metal shops, a clay studio, and a digital fabrication lab.
  • A wide-ranging interview with Flagstaff Vice Mayor Austin Aslan that covers not only being a member of the City Council, but the books he has authored, and the adventures of being an EMT.
  • An inside look on how the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce puts on the annual Holiday Lights parade, plus some tips on using the public library.
  • A review of the Goosebumps book series.

The one thing all of these stories have in common is that they were of interest to our members, who brainstormed what to write about, conducted interviews, drafted stories, laid them out and published this quarterly journal.

The March 2023 edition of Outlooks is only the second one to come out (the next volume is slated for next month, but the publication already is transforming Quality Connection members into budding journalists exploring the world and giving their perspective on what’s going on in the community.

The newspaper was an outgrowth of QC Learning’s monthly newsletter, which focuses on work being done within the Montessori-based adult education program, said Katrina Matlick.

“We were working on the newsletter and I wanted to have more sections written and photographed by members in the program, and that evolved into its own newspaper,” said Katrina. “Part of it is about getting our members out into the world and seeing what’s going on outside, and even having interactions like interviews that might be a little uncomfortable.”

It was also about sharing those stories with a wider audience. The public can pick up a copy at Quality Connections, the public library and a few other places, plus the editions are posted on the Quality Connections website.

The process for creating each publication is very much a team effort, and Katrina estimated that as many as 50 members can be involved in some aspect of a single issue, including brainstorming the stories to be covered and questions to be asked in interviews.

Building a story is even more of a group activity. Students rotate into a morning class that works on the newspaper.

“They listen to an interview in class and talk about what people said and do we keep it in the story or not,” Katrina said. “It’s a great way to learn about paragraph structures, what should be in a lead or introductory paragraph and how to write a conclusion.”

Everyone can participate in the newspaper in the afternoon and that includes working on the layout and formatting, done on computer. APS prints the 200 copies of each edition in return for Quality Connections working on an APS project to create packets of seeds for communities that have suffered wildfires.

Katrina said she thinks Outlooks will expand to include other types of typical  newspaper fare – some comics, recipes (along with beautifully photographed food), and even an advice column. They are also hoping to increase distribution of the publication so they can venture into that other part of the newspaper business – getting paid advertisements so they can invest in better equipment and software to produce their paper.

More 'STARs' for Quality Connections

Vicki Barber presenting Katrina Matlickwith her STAR Award.

Katrina Matlick, a member of the QC Learning team who helped launch the Quality Connections Outlook newspaper, was one of the Silver Tree Achievement Recognition – or STAR – award winners last month.

The awards celebrate the accomplishments of both members and employees at Quality Connections and are presented quarterly.

The award was a little bittersweet, as Katrina, a Quality Connections employee for the past three and a half years, was leaving her position the next day to pursue her dream of becoming a tattoo artist.

We wish her the best and are so proud of all the STAR award recipients this quarter.

Here’s the full list of outstanding members and employees who were honored:

Evergreen Academy Preschool Alexis Velasco – Teacher Myrtle Rinaldo – Member/Trainee Group Home Services Jozette Duncan-Moore – Employee John Thoren – Member/Resident In-Home Services Lenora Trujillo – Employee
QC Learning Katrina Matlick – Instructor Daniel Trujillo – Member/Student QC Office Tonnya Jensen – Employee Employment Services Savannah Encizo – Job Coach Rose Whitman – Member

We need Quality Connections . . . like you!

You can help individuals with disabilities become independent and productive members of our community. There are many way to be a ‘Quality Connection’ and get involved and all of them are important:

Every purchase from QC Office equals employment and job training opportunities for a person with disabilities.

Enable a person with disabilities to become a productive member of our community.

You’ll be doing good. Plus, you’ll get a dollar-for-dollar credit on your AZ state taxes (up to $800!)

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