Youth Oasis is the only emergency youth shelters of its kind in the Baton Rouge area. It provide shelter, food, clothing and more to youth ages 10 - 17. These youth come from many different backgrounds. It is one of Youth Oasis' missions to emphasize the importance of education while they are staying at Youth Oasis. Most of them are simply trying to survive but Rafael de Castro, executive director of Youth Oasis, does his best to keep them in school and alive. De Castro takes his job very seriously. He told Thrive that Youth Oasis could use more clothing and food for the youth but what they really need is funding. The building itself that serves as a home to the youth needs water, electricity, mortgage payments and more. It takes a lot of money to run a place like Youth Oasis and hopefully, through donations and fundraising events, they can make it happen.
Thrive and two other campaign groups put on an event at Tin Roof Brewery to benefit three nonprofits. We worked hard to gain awareness through social media, print media, radio and television. Since Youth Oasis' privacy circumstances are so strict, it was difficult to relay how serious homelessness is in Baton Rouge to the audience. There could be no real youth for the shelter telling their story and even their pictures could not be displayed due to privacy concerns. Thrive creatively wrote posts that grabbed the audience's attention using emotion, knowledge and interesting information.
After getting the word out to the Baton Rouge community, the Raise the Roof event ended up being a huge success! Thrive raised more than $5,000 for Youth Oasis alone through donations, sponsors, silent auction items and portions of the food truck sales. The event featured multiple food trucks, sponsors, games, beer, a silent auction and a DJ. It was a major hit for the nonprofits and more than 200 locals attended!
Our hard work is still not over but we learned new things every day while working for Youth Oasis. We all learned the importance of civic responsibility and giving back to the community. It is so important to grasp the understanding of real-life problems around us. This class taught us how to, not only bring a voice to Youth Oasis, but how to care for the community and make a difference. Thrive PR was a firm created for an academic purpose but the lessons we learned this semester will forever help us in the future.
To find out more about Youth Oasis, visit it on Facebook, Twitter and its website.
This blog post was written by the event director, Abigail Miller.