(The following blog post was written by Madison Scullin, Account Executive for Thrive Public Relations)
Thrive Public Relations is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Youth Oasis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sheltering and supporting at-risk youth in Baton Rouge, La. We, at Thrive Public Relations, have been given this opportunity to serve our community through a unique service-learning class offered in LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. Service-learning classes at LSU are facilitated by the Center for Community Engagement, Learning & Leadership (CCELL). CCELL’s website states that the goal of service learning is to “address critical community needs, build student leadership skills, and reinforce course content. [Service learning] enriches students' service experiences by raising questions about real-world concerns and promoting critical thinking about civic responsibility.” As a hardworking group of aspiring public relations professionals, we are inspired by this opportunity to stretch our wings in the public relations industry while impacting our community in a positive way.
Our mission is simple: We are dedicated to raising a sustained awareness of critical issues that have a direct impact on the Baton Rouge community, while bridging the gap between nonprofits and their publics. Youth Oasis is an emergency shelter for runaway, abandoned and homeless youth ages 10-17 in Baton Rouge. The shelter provides safety, meals, clothing, medical attention and therapy for the at-risk youth who find solace within its walls. Throughout the semester, we will be planning and executing a yearlong public relations campaign for Youth Oasis in order to raise much-needed funds and long-term awareness for the organization. The organization is dedicated to eliminating homelessness among youth in the Greater Baton Rouge area by providing temporary shelter and long-term living options.
Child homelessness is a frightening issue that plagues not only Baton Rouge, but the United States as a whole. The National Center on Family Homelessness reports that there are 2.5 million homeless children in the United States. That's a shocking 1 in 30 children who are homeless annually. Digging deeper into these stats showed that Louisiana was ranked fourth in the country for risk of child homelessness in 2013, with 39,918 homeless children reported from 2012 to 2014.
From the get-go, it was clear that there was a lack of awareness of Youth Oasis in Baton Rouge. In a group primarily comprised of Baton Rouge residents, I was the only group member familiar with the organization. This wasn't because of Youth Oasis's presence in the media, either; I knew of Youth Oasis because I drove by it every day on the way to middle school. It is this unfortunate lack of awareness that led to establishing a central goal: to raise awareness of the issue of child homelessness in Louisiana and call to action the people with the power and willingness to donate to the cause.
Our assiduous team is made up of an account executive, strategy director, event director, writing director and design director. Together we plan to raise awareness for child homelessness, create deliverables that result in community action, and bridge the gap between Youth Oasis and its key publics. Through our hard work and perseverance, we hope to develop and maintain relationships with key media outlets and those who donate to Youth Oasis.
We are very excited to venture into the world of public relations as it relates to civic responsibility. We strongly believe that our public relations campaign will provide Youth Oasis with the resources it needs to save thousands of youth in Baton Rouge, and we look forward to seeing the organization grow and thrive.