UK - Celestion has released a library of videos on the CelestionUK YouTube channel offering demonstrations, user tips, reviews, and expert advice, enabling players and producers alike to gain maximum tonal benefit from using the extensive family of Celestion Impulse Responses. Celestion’s collection of guitar and bass speaker IR tones are suited to artists, musicians, engineers, players and producers who are working at home right now, and are available for audition and download at CelestionPlus.com.
Celestion IRs (impulse responses) are accurate digital representations of the company’s speakers, available for download. They allow users to closely simulate by digital means, the tone that one would get from playing a guitar (or bass) through one of Celestion’s physical speakers.
The videos are presented by a wide variety of accomplished artists, songwriters, performers and mix engineers.
Nashville-based guitarist, songwriter and musical director Chris Wrate has worked with A-list artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Ariana Grande, David Foster, Daniel Powter, Colbie Caillat and Charice, as well as playing on TV shows like Oprah, American Idol and The Tonight Show.
Celebrated guitarist Pete Thorn is a long time Celestion IR user and has presented several comprehensive videos demonstrating the flexibility of Celestion IRs and highlighting some of their main advantages.
British guitarist Robby Miller is known for performing and recor
Europe - MA Lighting has highlighted its free educational web tools as it aims to help its users cope with the downtime during the coronavirus crisis “in the best possible way”.
MA Tips videos provide new grandMA3 knowledge every week. MA Lighting‘s own free of cost E-learning platform is a powerful tool when entering the world of MA training.
The grandMA3 software is the soul of the grandMA3 platform and is designed to accommodate the current and future needs of lighting control. Users can download and test it for free.
For those who wish to connect with fellow MA users, the MA Forum is the place where they can ask questions about grandMA3 and dot2 and exchange views with other users about all kinds of MA topics.
MA has compiled a list of its free resources here: www.malighting.com/news/stayhomeandlearn.
UK - The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre (UKT) have launched a digital resource to support the theatre sector during the COVID-19 crisis.
Theatre Means Business, available via theatremeansbusiness.info, provides an ongoing programme of webinars hosted by experts in their field. The webinars aim to cater for a wide pool of viewers, from furloughed workers to those in charge of the future of their organisation. Topics covered include business interruption planning, audience development following extreme events, and fostering diversity and inclusion.
Most webinars will be available free of charge (with optional donations) to non-members, although select sessions may require membership at SOLT and UKT.
Upcoming sessions include Reboot: Your Baseline for Recovery; Zoom In On: Developing Small-Scale Shows into Commercial Productions and Supporting Mental Resilience in the Performing Arts During COVID-19. For the latest listings, please visit //theatremeansbusiness.info.
Germany - Ravenna recently launched a series of webinars as a way of staying in touch with customers and users. Centred around the topic of audio-over-IP, the first session, Ravenna and its relationship to AES67 and ST2110, was a general overview held on 14 April. Given the enthusiastic response - the first webinar was vastly oversubscribed - Ravenna has rapidly increased its hosting capacity and fine-tuned the programme.
All webinars will take place on Tuesday at 15:00 CEST (14:00 BST and 09:00 EDT). Duration is scheduled for around 60 minutes with time for questions/discussion afterwards.
The next session, which takes place on Tuesday 28 April at 15:00, is an introduction to AES67 & ST 2110 and continues the theme of the first session with a closer look at both standards and how they relate to each other. The following webinar on Tuesday 12 May offers a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts of both standards and touches on interoperability.
Registration for both of these sessions is open now is via the trade shows and events page on the Ravenna website.
“We’re thrilled to have had such an overwhelming response to our first session,” says Ravenna evangelist Andreas Hildebrand. “Given the huge number of webinars that are currently available, we weren’t anticipating quite so many people, but we’re very happy to have been proved wrong! We have published a provisional schedule on our website, but we’d like to encourage people to come forward with suggestions for topics they’d like to see covered if they’re not already l
USA - On 22 April, Elation Professional is launching The Elation Hour, a weekly virtual presentation that will delve into the more personal side of product development while also addressing the technology and process behind the company’s most popular product series. Also on the schedule are a series of discussions with some of the industry’s most noted designers who plan to share their own personal insight and experience across the broad scope of entertainment lighting.
Hosted each Wednesday by Elation national sales manager John Dunn and global product manager Matthias Hinrichs, the first Elation Hour presentation - Behind the Products - R&D - will take place on 22 April at 10:00am PT (6pm BST). The free webinar is an opportunity to hear about the more human aspect of a busy R&D department while gaining insight into the how and why behind some of Elation’s leading technologies.
Next Wednesday, 29 April, three of America’s top lighting designers for television - Victor Fable, Joshua Hutchings and Ed Motts - will take part in the first Tools & Techniques discussion. They will relate their own adventures in lighting while gaining a greater understanding of the ins and outs of TV and film lighting. Over the next several weeks further designers will share their knowledge and experience in Lighting Festivals/Outdoor Events, Broadway/Theatre, Trade Shows/Corporate/Special Events and Concerts/Live Events.
The Elation Hour series will also include virtual product launches of some
USA - While today’s wireless equipment is easy to use and designed to keep the thornier technical issues out of the way, many gremlins lurk invisibly in the realm of the airwaves. The more users know about them, the better their end results will be. That’s why Lectrosonics has produced the new video series Wireless Side Chats, hosted by vice president of sales and marketing Karl Winkler and available as a playlist on the company’s YouTube page.
Winkler, who earned degrees in stringed instrument performance and audio engineering, then embarked on a career in concert sound before joining Lectrosonics in 2004, explains “vital topics in a straightforward style that’s highly approachable for audio beginners”.
Originally broadcast on Facebook Live, the Wireless Side Chats represent “an opportunity for everyone to enrich their wireless knowledge from the comfort of home”. The term is a wordplay on Fireside Chats, the broadcasts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression during the 1930s, which, appropriately, were a tipping point in the cultural importance of radio.
Four video episodes have been produced to date. Episode 1 covers the history of early wireless equipment, the wavelengths and tenants of the radio frequency spectrum, and how availability of frequency bands within that spectrum has changed over the past few decades. Episode 2 identifies the seven most common wir
World - Chroma-Q is offering free weekly training webinars on a number of lighting topics.
The multi-award winning LED specialists kicked off the series last week with a webinar about LED Colour in Practice. This included an overview of some of the technologies that go into creating tools for discerning designers, why small details can make such a big difference when it comes to the end result.
“Supporting our wonderful industry and the individuals in it is our top priority,” explains Paul Pelletier, global brand manager. “It is important to us to use this time wisely and as an opportunity to help our industry learn new skills, as well as build on existing ones. We were delighted with the turnout of our first webinar and hope to reach even more people with our series of upcoming webinars.”
Upcoming webinars in the series: White LED in Practice - Friday, 24 April; Colour References and LED – CRI/TM-30 and more - Friday, 1 May; Camera Sensors and LED Lighting - Friday 8 May, and LED Fixture for Installs, What to Consider – Friday, 15 May.
USA - Audio-Technica has been offering a series of resources to help users adjust to the circumstances brought about by the health crisis, including blog posts and tutorials educating on best practices and solutions for content creation and live-streaming, developing a home set-up, and more.
Of particular note is the Basic Audio Techniques for Video tutorial series on YouTube, which features 13 different videos covering the basics of hand-held and lavalier mics, wireless systems, boom mics and more - concepts that are more important than ever in the DIY era of social distancing.
The videos are “short and engaging, easy to follow and filled with useful info”. Most of the techniques outlined in these videos are applicable to both a home setup and the wider world of video production in the field (once our lives return to normal).
In the clip Selecting the Right Handheld Mic, different types of handheld mics are compared and contrasted, with a short demonstration of the properties of cardioid pickup patterns. Additionally, lavalier mics are outlined in multiple videos, with an overview of different types of lavaliers and their uses, the technique of 'reflected lavalier mic'ing' (which uses a lavalier taped to a hard surface as a boundary-type microphone), strategies for hiding lavaliers out of sight, how to use a tie bar clip to fasten a lavalier to a video subject, and the basic use of lavalier windscreens.
Boom-miking fundamentals are also explored, with Intro to Booming comparing different types of audio capture to
USA - ETC has introduced On Headset, a new audio series that allows listeners to programme a major theatrical production in realtime whilst listening to the audio cues of a lighting designer.
“Our goal with this project is to fill the gap between the traditional classroom or ‘e-training’ methods of console learning and actually sitting behind an Eos desk in a theatre,” explains ETC senior field service engineer Victor Seastone, “This is a console flight simulator to help with both.”
The series features esteemed Broadway lighting designer Ken Billington and a lightly curated recording of the headset conversations during technical rehearsals of the New York City Centre Encores’ Me and My Girl in May 2018. The New York City Centre, a well-known and distinctive theatre, welcomes 300,000 visitors annually to its establishment which was founded in 1943. The Encores! series has combined the traditional American musical theatre with original orchestrations for more than 25 years.
The recordings are broken into 13 episodes, which start as Ken begins putting cues into the console and end after the dress rehearsal - which for Encores, is about 90 percent of the lighting time allowed.
“We are so lucky to have these strong relationships with lighting professionals so we can create and share content like this for our users,” says ETC senior controls product manager Anne Valentino. “Thanks to the designers and crew who helped make this possible.”
Users can find the audio series on their preferred podcast streamin
France - In line with its ongoing commitment to scientific research and the advancement of the audio industry, L-Acoustics has announced the release of three new White Papers: Measurement Quality at Low Frequencies, Measurement Quality at High Frequencies and Optimum Measurement Locations for Loudspeaker System Equalisation, all available for download on the L-Acoustics website.
“Our White Papers have been conceived in a condensed format, and are published on our website and social media channels, in order to reach the widest possible audience,” comments Etienne Corteel, director of education & scientific outreach at L-Acoustics. “They are formatted to present our rigorous scientific research in a user-friendly way, and represent our commitment to the wide acceptance of science-based sound design principles.”
L-Acoustics has also made its entire catalogue of AES scientific articles available for download free of charge. This includes recent subjects such as Optimum Measurement Locations for Large-Scale
USA - TAIT is now offering free online training courses for iQ Powered by Navigator to the live event community. By providing these courses, everyone interested in participating is given an opportunity to learn, engage and prepare for future automation experiences, says the company.
Whether a first-time learner or an experienced show operator, the iQ Training Video Series is tailored to all levels of entertainment automation. After watching the series, viewers will know how to operate machines using a variety of methods, add windows to workspaces, create time saving pre-sets, program a show using various cue lines and organizational helpers, as well as stop and restart cues.
“iQ is designed to make the power of our Navigator platform accessible to all users of entertainment automation,” shared Scott Chalfant, director of product management for TAIT Navigator.
“If you’re new to automation, these courses will help you quickly understand how to use iQ to programme and move axes in a show. If you're a more experienced user, these videos will introduce you to new ways to do more with less of your time. We welcome you to visit our courses online and see for yourself,”
In addition to the launch of TAIT’s online training, Scott Chalfant co-hosted USITT’s News @ Noon webinar on Thursday, 16 April dedicated to iQ Powered by Navigator.
The training videos will be offered at no charge until 15 May. New releases may be made avai
Italy - Outline has announced the launch of a series of free webinars in English focussed on some of its most representative (patented or patent pending) technology, in the context of sound reinforcement and the signal processing world.
The first webinar, scheduled for 20 April at 9 am, covers Newton, the FPGA processor - technology in which Outline has invested since 2010 - presented three years ago and chosen by some of the world’s top rental companies, PA techs and post-production studios, as well as for broadcast applications.
The webinars will be hosted by Outline’s Fernando Rey Méndez (Newton specialist) and Paolo Calza (pro applications engineer).
Registration is via www.outline.it/webinars.
Italy - The RCF Audio Academy team continues to present a series of webinars focusing on RCF technologies and best practices in live sound and installed audio. These webinars are presented by RCF specialists from around the world in multiple languages, streamed live on the RCF online platform.
Topics covered include Sound System Design courses for line array systems, subwoofer alignment and tuning, design of controlled directivity systems in difficult environments, design of EN54 voice alarm systems, and many others. Viewers and students will also have the opportunity to ask questions via a chat window during each live stream. Seats for these webinars are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the seat limit is reached, attendees will see a message that the classroom is full. Attendees who are unable to attend can then subscribe to the next session available.
These webinars are already part of RCF’s Audio Academy educational programme. RCF has renewed the programme to guarantee "the best possible service to customers during this unique moment in our history".
"As well as the webinars, which are open to all, we also provide customer support in the digital world. We will also publish numerous tutorials on RCF products - in addition to the many already available - with guidelines, usage tips, and tricks of the trade", says Lucio Boiardi Serri, coordinator of the Pro-Live section of Audio Academy.
"Electroacoustics is a complex topic that needs to be studied thoroughly before applying to the field. The mission of the RCF Audio Academy
Europe - One of Audac’s key values is to create a personal connection between one another and being part of something more than a business relationship. To keep realising these goals in these challenging times, Audac has launched its new education platform
Users will be able to follow various live webinars on the education platform. These interactive live experiences presented by an Audac expert offer the chance to get to know the brand and its solutions. During the webinars, viewers can use a chat function to ask questions that will be answered directly by an Audac representative in the chat.
Audac doesn’t see the live webinars as just a temporary solution to bridge these difficult times. Instead, the audio manufacturer looks at it as a long-term strategy to trigger leads and partners in a different way.
Another way to start learning is via the online training videos. These consist of various pre-recorded videos, ranging from entry-level trainings that introduce you to the products to in-depth trainings that explain all different functionalities. After completing a video series, you can test your knowledge about the subject by taking an exam. Pass all exams and you will be rewarded with a certificate.
The Education Platform is live now and will receive updates in the near future.
South Africa - Blond Productions, based in Midrand, Johannesburg, a rental company specialising in the TV and film sector, like everyone, is grappling to survive under a national lockdown in which productions and businesses have shut down completely.
Blond’s owner and MD Christiaan Ballot has retained all his full-time staff and wants to look after everyone as best as possible, which is challenging given the scenario, involving some creative thinking to try and make “the best” out of a grave situation.
Something that immediately sprung to the minds of Ballot and Blond’s head of show lighting Ryan Lombard was to utilise the enforced ‘down’ time to engage the staff in various technical training.
“While we all wish this was over, it has presented the perfect opportunity to do all those things we never get time for around the office,” Ballot declared.
Lombard adds: “Training and education on the kit are always on our ‘To Do’ list and although it’s also always high on the agenda, as a busy company, availability for both me and the crew is a big obstacle as we are almost always out on site somewhere working on active productions.”
So, Blond has turned the lockdown into a time asset with everyone stuck at home and only connected via the internet. Lombard is presenting the lighting sessions.
The primary focus so far has been on lighting equipment and console education, and they train on a grandMA2 with the two full-time lighting department staff – Donavon Blomerus, and Lucky Lewele – each taking a grandMA OnP
Italy - Powersoft has committed to continue its online training drive with a pair of hour-long Deva webinars that will take place on Wednesday, 15 April at 14:00 (CEST) and 18:00 (CEST). The sessions will be led by Powersoft’s Deva unit sales manager, Cosimo Cecchi, and used to demonstrate all of the functionalities that make Deva “such a powerful safety device for modern towns, cities and companies”.
Cecchi will walk attendees through all of Deva’s features such as facial recognition, queue countering, and SOS and public warning messaging – all abilities that have proven the product to be eminently useful, particularly in recent weeks, as the multimedia device proved vitally important to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Italy.
Town and city councils such as Bergamo, Soresina in Lombardia (northern Italy), and Scandicci (Florence) originally installed Deva as their all-in-one multimedia systems, allowing them to broadcast real-time audio streaming and messaging, video surveillance, or Wi-Fi relay to inform and protect tourists and residents. Despite these myriad uses, few could have expected that the Deva systems would be pressed into service in such dire circumstances only a few months later.
With social distancing becoming an integral part of our day-to-day life Deva has proven invaluable in the areas where it has already been installed. As a completely self-sufficient, wireless, and remotely programmable system, Deva has been primarily repurposed as a health & safety and emergency device. It is now predominantly used to send
Europe - The Ravenna Educational Webinar series launches next week and all interested parties are invited to attend.
The first session, hosted by Ravenna evangelist, Andreas Hildebrand of ALC NetworX, takes place on Tuesday 14 April at 15:00 CET. Entitled Ravenna and its relationship to AES67 and ST2110, it is scheduled to last around 50 minutes with time for questions and discussion afterwards. Registration is via the trade shows and events page on the Ravenna website.
Seats are limited to 100 per session and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
This first session is deliberately designed to be fairly broad-spectrum, offering a brief history of audio networking in general, why Ravenna was developed in the first place and leading onto the more recent developments of AES67 and ST2110 and how they relate to Ravenna.
“For those of you who are directly involved in the Ravenna and/or AES67 & ST2110 world on a day-to-day basis, this webinar probably won’t provide any ground-breaking news, but may serve as a useful brush-up,” remarks Andreas Hildebrand. “However, for those who are not so familiar with the topic, it provides an excellent starting point for getting acquainted with the landscape of Audio-over-IP standards and technologies.”
Future topics will provide offerings for both AoIP initiates as well as seasoned professionals Details will be posted on the Ravenna website on an ongoing basis.
For further details of the Ravenna Educational Webinar series and details on how to register, please visi
Europe - In response to’ unprecedented demand’, Nexo is making some of its most popular training and education programmes available online. Starting last week, Nexo’s Engineering Support team is using its popular Facebook channel to present e-learning sessions, part of Yamaha’s extensive Audioversity tuition resource.
Led by Nexo’s primary training instructor Nicolas Poitrenaud, the presenting team includes Nexo engineers from all over the world, who will work in four different languages (English, Spanish, French and German). All tutorials are free and open to any interested party: no special knowledge of Nexo equipment is required. “We’ve carefully considered these sessions so that they will also interest engineers and venue owners/operators who may not yet be familiar with NEXO systems,” explains Poitrenaud. “We are confident that these Facebook Live sessions will provide skills and knowledge to enhance the business activities of many professionals, especially in these difficult times.”
Broadcast using Facebook Live, the first session, The Fundamentals of Acoustics, coveredtopics such as the basics of acoustics and psychoacoustics for live sound applications.
The next class will be an Introduction to NS-1, Nexo’s proprietary acoustic simulation software programme - dates can be found on the Nexo Facebook page. This two-hour tutorial will be presented in Spanish by Roberto Tschopp, with support from Hely Chirinos and Celso Papadopulos, all from Nexo’s Latin American team.
This class will present sound sys
World - Chauvet Professional has added a new Thursday Tech Talk series to its extensive training library for lighting designers and programmers.
The series will be streamed every Thursday at 2 pm EST (7 pm GMT) on Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live and LinkedIn Live.
Conducted by Chauvet Professional product managers, Thursday Tech Talks will feature How To, New Tech and Design Tip formats covering a wide-range of lighting and video wall subjects. The recorded sessions will also be available anytime at www.chauvetprofessional.com/training.
The April schedule of Thursday Tech Talks includes:
Field Servicing For Moving Heads (9 April), which covers suggested cleaning supplies, and practical tips on checking moving parts, cleaning optics, removing dust and grime build-up, and setting up a cleaning schedule.
Pixel Mapping Products Without Using Dedicated Pixel Mapping Software (16 April), which shows how to create stunning images across multiple fixture types using a lighting desk.
Red Shift (23 April), which offers a description of Red Shift and explores how the different ways it is achieved with LED fixtures. Also included is a sneak peek at upcoming innovations in some popular Ovation products.
Preset Synch Function (30 April), which looks at how syncing the menu settings of your lights in advance can save countless hours of set-up time.
A session on Setting Up F-Series Ground Support and Curve Kit was streamed on 2 April and is now available for viewing on the Chauvet Professional training page.
USA - Adam Audio is launching the ADAM EDU webinars and videos, designed to enable everyone from audio students to novices and seasoned working professionals to further their education in audio on a variety of business and technical topics pertinent to our industry.
The videos include a variety of lectures and speaking panels with engineers, acousticians, licensing and game audio specialists, studio owners, sales and marketing experts and other business leaders in the professional audio industry who share some of their insights and best practices for success.
The ADAM EDU programmes have included topics such as: Acoustical Fulfillment, Game Audio Implementation, Gear Need vs. Want, How These Notable Engineers Got Their Start, Owning and Managing a Recording Studio, Testing Your Room, Sync Licensing, Careers for Engineers within the Pro Audio Industry and Adjacent Markets, and More Business Careers in Audio.
Past EDU Events have been held at a number of educational institutions throughout the U.S., including Ball State University in Indiana, Blackbird Academy in Nashville, Ohio State University (OSU,) Oregon State University, Seattle Recording Arts in Washington State, SAE Institute in New York and the University of Southern California (USC.) Future Adam EDU events will take place via webinars in the coming weeks.
“While we look forward to resuming our face to face events in the future, at this time Adam Audio will continue to provide EDU sessions via webinars and videos so everyone in the community can remotely access this content,” comments Chr
Europe - Technological Innovations Group (TIG) is rolling out a series of webinars and online training sessions to bring its vendor partners’ solutions directly into the home offices of its customers.
The initiative comes as countries across the EMEA region are in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, with many workforces having to social distance themselves and work remotely from home.
Crestron’s Technical Institute (CTI) provides exclusive training of Crestron products at its worldwide and regional offices and online classes. Its instructor-led courses are available right now in 10 different time zones via Zoom Classroom, with peer-to-peer interaction.
For Salamander Designs, TIG will be rolling out three new webinars in English, German and French. Starting in April, these will demonstrate how Salamander Designs’ advanced, flexible furniture systems are designed to fit in perfectly with specific audio/video products represented by TIG for the commercial markets.
TIG is also working with GUDE Systems to bring its customers a first-ever webinar on 7 April, offering the chance to find out more about GUDE’s Power Distribution Units and Remote Monitoring Management systems.
Further, with the move to remote working having been extremely rapid, allowing very little time to prepare for the long-term, TIG’s partner Hoylu is hosting 30-minute webinars throughout April to showcase its interactive collaboration software. Its Connected Workspaces software provides a digital space for teams to meet and work together in a shared cloud w
Europe - In an effort to make educational training more accessible, K-array Webinar Series will host free, live presentations of its audio solutions on a weekly basis. Two new topics are being offered this week.
Control Software is a one-hour webinar dedicated to sound technicians, audio engineers and system users will explain how to configure, tune, modify and manage your K-array system to give you maximum control.
Live Sound I and Live Sound II will detail the cutting-edge features employed in K-array's Live Sound solutions. Live Sound 1 will discuss at length the technology featured in the Pinnacle line, like Pure Array Technology, ideal for theatres and concert halls. Live Sound 2 is dedicated to the technology employed in the Mugello and Firenze lines, such as Slim Array Technology, Electronic Beam Steering and Advanced Bass Control, perfect for concerts, touring and live events.
Italy - RCF has introduced a series of webinars focusing on RCF technologies and best practices in live sound and installed audio. The webinars - live streaming on RCF’s online platform - will be presented by RCF specialists in multiple languages.
Viewers and students will also be able to ask questions via a chat window during each live stream. There’s no need for an account or to download any software in advance.
Register for each session individually, then you will receive notifications one day and one hour before the webinar. Go to the RCF Online Education page for the complete schedule.
Topics include: Voice Alarm and Evac Systems according to ISO 7290-19 and CEN/TS 54-32; Line array sound system design PRO for LIVE events – Use of prediction software; Sub design with RD-NET, and Live Sound Design for Professionals: Line Array Systems with Oscar Mora.
UK - In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, disguise has launched disguise OnDemand - a virtual hub that features access to free training and webinars exploring key features and elements of the disguise workflow. Held in multiple languages, multiple times a day, the platform will feature exclusive content, including the opportunity for the community to take part in specialist discussions on key industry topics, and hear from customers during spotlight discussions on showstopping case studies.
Designed as a place for the community to learn and keep up-to-date on all things regarding disguise, free online training sessions take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They are planning on running a condensed version of the Fundamental and Pre-Production Workflows Training, broken down into a series of six one-hour sessions where attendees can learn the core features, including the timeline, stage, configuring output feeds, and how to set up devices.
As part of a wider initiative to reach out to the disguise community, disguise is also offering the Designer software free until September, and giving a series of discounted USB dongle giveaways, as well as partnering with Notch on a ‘codemeter’ dongle sharing scheme, allowing more people to access to both their software.
“We understand this is a really hard time for our industry, and disguise is committed to doing what we can to support our community of freelancers, partners and customers across the globe,” said Fernando Kufer, CEO at disguise. “These initiatives are vital to support our communit