HELENA — The Emmy-winning organization Maps Media Institute started its second session of classes on Monday, which are all free of charge.
What started in 2004 as a class of 20 students, MAPS now offers a variety of courses from film and music to tech and podcasting.
“I’m going through my head trying to think ‘what is the most popular,’ and it’s really hard to choose. The students just, they love all of them and the instructors,” said the Director of Communications and Marketing at MAPS, Janna Williams, about their class selection.
One student, Nohla Mehus, has been in maps for the past few years. She is a part of the nonprofit’s teacher assistant program, a paid position for youth.
She said, “It is really great to have someone kinda more your age to relate with. I feel like people, or kids at least, are more likely to engage and follow along with somebody who is more around their age group than to follow an adult around. So, that is fun that I get to do that.”
This was the first time that MAPS has won an Emmy. The Board of Governers’ Award, was given to them in June and it is a category not guaranteed to be included annually.
Williams said, “It’s beyond words, and it speaks to a lot of work by a lot of people over a lot of years.”
MAPS has two locations: Lewis and Clark County in Helena and Ravalli County in Hamilton.
In addition to their on-site classes, they offer media labs taken statewide to First Nations and rural communities.
At the same time as their regional Emmy win, MAPS was featured in the Trailblazers in Diversity segment by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest.
“The work that we do really is to get to the stories of voices that might not otherwise be heard. Voices that might not have the opportunity to have a platform to share,” said Williams.
Even though classes started this week, students can join at any time. You can enroll at their website, https://mapsmediainstitute.com/