578 Communications works on evaluation and stewardship with Mentorship Academy

We did it.

578 Communications and Mentorship Academy’s “Thankful for Mentors” event happened on Nov. 21 after months of planning. It was a busy day for the ladies of 578, but we are so pleased with the outcome of the event. Mentorship Academy’s cafeteria was filled with people interested in learning more about mentoring and how it is important to this school.

Madison Hentze, strategy director for 578, started the event off by introducing the student-run PR firm, and talking about what we were doing for Mentorship Academy. She did such a great job representing our firm and showing the audience why we are all so passionate about working with this unique nonprofit.

Photo courtesy of Helen Butts

Photo courtesy of Helen Butts

After Hentze spoke, Dr. Graysen Walles, executive director of the school, graced the crowd with his interesting story of how mentoring shaped his life. It was the same inspiring speech that made 578 Communications want to work with him in the first place. Dr. Walles emphasized to the crowd how important mentoring was to his life, and how he wouldn’t be standing where he was today without the guidance of the adults that shaped his future.

Photo courtesy of Helen Butts

Photo courtesy of Helen Butts

Mentorship Academy is such a different school than others in Baton Rouge, and we thought it was important for the potential mentors to see that. After Dr. Walles spoke, select seniors of the school gave tours of each floor. The attendees were able to physically see how Mentorship Academy strives to provide their students with a quality education, and we hope that these people will want to join the cause by mentoring a student.

Photo courtesy of Helen Butts

Photo courtesy of Helen Butts

Now that the event is over, 578 Communications is working on the “evaluation” and “stewardship” aspect of the R.O.P.E.S. process. Although we don’t yet know if we have reached our goal of 30 mentors, we do believe that we have made the Baton Rouge community more aware of the school and why mentoring is important. For stewardship, we sent a thank you email to each of the attendees of the event, and we will encourage Dr. Walles to continue this contact with the potential mentors.

I think I speak for all of 578 Communications and all of the campaigns class when I say that we learned so much during our last semester of college. It is so different practicing public relations with a real client rather than just learning about the process through lecture. Dr. Jensen Moore was such a great professor, and I will definitely take what I learned in this class and apply it to any career in the future.

578 Communications sums up our semester with this video, and we hope you enjoy hearing what we all took away from our capstone class.

So, for 578 Communications, it’s Presley Brouillette signing off for the last time. Geaux Tigers and Love Purple, Live Gold!

Presley Brouillette

@presley_breigh

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PR tenants emphasized as Mentorship Academy event creeps closer

It’s crunch time.

Time for freakouts, last-minute tweaks, frantic calls, community and media outreach and frequent client contact. Why all the scurrying, you ask? The big event, Mentorship Academy’s mentor open house, is in one week.

This event is a first for all of us involved. It’s the first time 578 Communications and most of its agency members are planning a formal event. It’s the first time Mentorship Academy has attempted to recruit mentors. And it’s the first time Mentorship Academy students will have formal mentors, if all goes according to plan.

Making this happen is exciting but mostly nerve-wracking at this stage in the game. Will anyone come to our event? Will they sign up to be a mentor? Will we meet our goal of 30? What if we fail?

Every time I start feeling overwhelmed (like now), I consult our master to-do list, which helps me see what we’ve accomplished and the practical things I can do instead of worry.

We’ve created several of our eight required deliverables — a flier, press release, media advisory, etc. — and have more on their way. We’re beginning to distribute materials to the community and media outlets, and have more to release. We crossed something pretty neat off our list: proclaiming Mentorship Day in Baton Rouge. I wrote a proclamation and account liaison Helen Butts dropped it off to Mayor-President Kip Holden’s office, who signed it, making Nov. 21 officially Mentorship Day in the Capital City.

On the other hand, there’s still much more to do. We need to recruit the downtown community more heavily. We need to buy and make decorations. We need to work on gift bags. We need to make sure catering is arranged. And I’ll stop there before we all get too stressed.

This experience is proving that organization and a dependable team are crucial.

I’ve also come to realize and appreciate the value of two major aspects of being in public relations — client relations and networking.

It’s important that we have a good relationship with our client because we need to be able to ask last-minute questions and trust that both sides are taking care of their assigned responsibilities. It’s all about trust and communication.

Networking has been very important for us in preparation for the event. We’ve reached out to our friends and peers who work in the downtown area to let them know about Mentorship Academy’s mentor recruiting event and to get them to spread the word with their colleagues in the area.

Networking has also helped us with media outreach. Instead of blasting various media outlets and putting our news releases and advisories into hand for whom they’re irrelevant, we’ve connected with members of the media we know personally who can direct us to the appropriate reporters or handle the materials themselves. It’s crucial that PR professionals remember the media as a group of individuals rather than a faceless entity.

Let’s have a collective finger-crossing as the big night creeps closer.

And don’t forget: 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at Mentorship Academy. You can have an effect on a high school student’s future with just a small investment of your time.

Mentorship Academy students do some pretty cool things. Don’t you want to be a part? Img: facebook.com/mentorship

– Emily Herrington
Design director
Twitter: @em_herr
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/emherr/

For more information about the event, visit our Facebook event page and Eventbrite.

Follow 578 Communications and Mentorship Academy on Twitter!

578 Communications and Mentorship Academy: Event Countdown

(Memo courtesy of Emily Herrington)

(Memo courtesy of Emily Herrington)

I’m back again! As the event coordinator for 578 Communications, I am feeling quite the range of emotions when it comes to our open house event. We are slowly, but surely getting closer and closer to the big day at the Mentorship Academy. It is two weeks and one day from now to be exact (but who is counting down?) – on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at the school. I am really hoping to see the community interest in the mentorship program.

578 Communications is so excited to see the product of implementing our public relations skills and skills and all of our hard work. It is hard to believe that the end of the semester is so close already. There have been a lot of late nights, early mornings, last-minute meetings and endless group texts up to this point. Our next step is promotion promotion promotion. Our design director, Emily Herrington, has created an awesome flier about the event. We will be making our way around town to distribute the fliers and get the word out.

Speaking of promotion, I would like to talk a little bit more about what the mentorship program actually is – we’ve done a lot of talking about how great it is, so here are some of the details:

The great thing about the mentorship program is the flexibility. The Mentorship Academy is willing to work with business and academic individuals to tailor the program to their schedule. Once you sign up to become a mentor, you will be paired with a student based on your profession and their interests. You have a lot of say when it comes to choosing the meeting times. You can choose once a week, once a month, or whenever. You can choose three sessions, five sessions or whatever suits you best.

Does the possibility of changing a student’s life move you to spend your Thursday evening with us to learn more? Well, if you’re still on the fence – there will be free food. Just saying. You can sit back, relax, and learn more about the amazing opportunity that the Mentorship Academy is aiming to provide their students. There are no strings attached when it comes to the event. Tell your family and friends – we would love to see all of you there! You will also have an opportunity to get more information about becoming a mentor, if you choose!

I hope to see y’all there!

Alex

For more information about the event, visit our Facebook event page and Eventbrite.

Follow 578 Communications and Mentorship Academy on Twitter!

578 Communications and Mentorship Academy: Implementing PR strategies

Bailey Bigler, research director of 578 Communications, here to share more about our campaign’s progress. We are steadily moving forward and taking steps to make sure that our open house event is a success. Like we have discussed before in earlier blogs, our agency’s promise to the Mentorship Academy is: To create a program that is committed to finding long-term professional and academic mentors to encourage students to undertake a four-year college or university path and provide a foundation for success.

We have been creating deliverables (flier, press release, social media release, brochure, etc.) for this event in hopes of recruiting at least 30 mentors by Dec. 2013.  Next week we will be posting fliers to promote our event around LSU’s campus and businesses around the downtown area. We are also in the process of recruiting a guest speaker for the open house event to speak about the importance of mentoring.

Throughout this process, we have seen firsthand what the Mentorship Academy is all about. Everyday we are learning just how amazing this school really is, and how important recruiting mentors will be for these student’s futures. “Close to 60 percent of more than 1,600 adults responding to a 2000 survey felt that mentoring programs are a very effective investment in reducing youth violence and other youth problems and would like to see the number of programs increased” (Foster, 2001).

Because of the technology-rich curriculum, the school differentiates itself with other charter schools by “creating engaging, personalized and productive learning” (Mentorship Academy). Mentorship seniors will be leading the tours at our open house event.  These tour guides will be able to talk with potential mentors and answer any questions they might have. 578 Communications will be training these students by going on the tours with them before the event and asking them difficult questions they might have to face. This not only helps guests learn more about the school, it also helps the students learn good communication skills and prepares them for future job interviews.

Pictures we have published in our blog highlight how dedicated the faculty is to letting the students express themselves.  We hope that our campaign will bring in more positive influences for these students.

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Image courtesy of Bailey Bigler

At the moment, all six of our group members are looking forward to graduating in December and getting a job. This service-learning class is putting all of us at an advantage by really showing us how it will be like to work in a real PR agency, which is very exciting.

Until next time,

Bailey

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Moving Along with PR: Planning with Mentorship Academy

photo copy

Wall of Faces

578 Communications is constantly moving forward with our campaign for our client, Mentorship Academy. We are currently still planning and settling details for our open house event, which Presley discussed in our last post. Nov. 21 is creeping up on us, so we are trying to stay busy and motivated to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Our next step is to recruit attendees to the event. Emily, design director, will create fliers promoting the school and open house. We plan to post these fliers around LSU’s campus and around downtown businesses. LSU students are constantly looking for ways to stay involved in the community, and this event could be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the mentorship program. Also, because downtown professionals are our other target audience for potential mentors, we decided hanging fliers around various hotspots downtown, like coffee shops or various lobbies, would be beneficial in grabbing the professionals’ attention. Emily will also create brochures promoting the program. We plan to hand these brochures out to the guests of our event to provide more information.

This semester-long campaign has really taught us what the real world is like. The work we are doing does not just affect us and our GPA, it affects real people and real institutions who count on our services to better their cause. We have learned many competencies that employers look for, which will potentially help us stand out from other candidates in our future job hunts.

We have learned to be creative by coming up with ideas for mentor recruitment and implementing various forms of outlets to send out our message. We have learned to deal with problem solving, because things do not always happen as planned and that’s the reality of the situation. We have realized you have to be flexible and think on your feet. We have learned how to motivate others, whether it is motivating our group members, motivating our client to go above and beyond expectations or motivating Baton Rouge residents to donate time toward a mentorship program. Overall, I think we have definitely learned the importance of time management. This project is truly time consuming, and we don’t have our teacher giving us a personal schedule of what to do and when to do it. We have to create our own schedules and focus on our own time management.

Things seem to be going smoothly, and we can’t wait to see our event come to life with our great client, Mentorship Academy.

Until next time,
Helen

Be sure to follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

photo

Mentorship Academy’s School Motto

578 Communications and Mentorship Academy: Putting the “P” in R.O.P.E.S.

Presley Brouillette, writing director of our all female-run firm, reporting for 578 Communications. The ladies of 578 have been working diligently on our public relations campaign, and we finally have our event plan set up. Our campaign feels closer and closer to being completed now that we are on the “P” of the R.O.P.E.S process.

Image courtesy of Emily Herrington

Image courtesy of Emily Herrington

After much brainstorming within our group and with Graysen Walles, executive director of Mentorship Academy, we have an idea of what our event for recruiting mentors will be (and its such a relief to have it planned out).

578 will be hosting our event at Mentorship Academy on Nov. 21, 2013. We plan on having speakers who have been positively affected by mentoring, and possibly even thought leaders in the community. The ladies of 578 have grand ideas for this event, but some parts are still in the works (which means they are secret as of now, but stay tuned).

Image courtesy of Presley Brouillette

Image courtesy of Presley Brouillette

People will show up to the school on Nov. 21, eat hors d’oeuvres, hear inspiring speeches and get shown around the school by select seniors of the Mentorship Academy. At the end, we hope to gain at least half of our campaign goal of 30 mentors from the event.

Walles is very excited about this event, and he is backing us 100%. It’s definitely a relief to know that all AV costs are taken care of because the school has these things already. Also, the event is being held at the school, so we are saving money with venue cost as well. We can spend this extra money on food and decorations, which is always a plus for any event.

I believe I speak for all the ladies of 578 when I say that our relationship with Walles and the Mentorship Academy has been nothing but positive thus far. As we told him in one of our first meetings, the Mentorship Academy was all of our first choice when it came to whom we wanted to work with. We are all passionate about this cause, and I do believe we will hit our overall goal of 30 mentors by December.

Image courtesy of Presley Brouillette

Image courtesy of Presley Brouillette

As Madison Hentze said before me, we do not want this campaign to be complete once we graduate. We want to set up a program that Walles and the Mentorship Academy can use for years to come to recruit and keep mentors for these children throughout their high school career. It’s not over once we graduate.

Stay tuned, world. 578 Communications has a goal, and we have our minds set to meet it- if not surpass it.

578 and Mentorship Academy: Learning the R.O.P.E.S

Madison Hentze, Strategy director of 578 Communications, here reporting for weekly update duty. A month after its establishment, our student-run public relations firm has set in motion our exciting and promising Mentorship Academy campaign.

Following multiple agency meetings exploding with grand brainstorming ideas, 578 Communications put the R in R.O.P.E.S – a cherished PR mantra – by conducting research about Mentorship Academy and the publics we hope to connect with. Even though an inconvenient government shutdown threw a wrench in some research plans, 578 prevailed and kicked off our semester-long nonprofit campaign for Mentorship Academy.

One of the first things the ladies of 578 Communications aim to begin planning is a celebratory event spotlighting Mentorship Academy and its unique mentoring program.

Image courtesy of http://mentorshipbr.org

Image courtesy of http://mentorshipbr.org

578 Communications recently set a goal of recruiting a group of at least 30 professional and academic mentors to compose Mentorship Academy’s first mentor class. Event director Alex Fish and the rest of 578 are confident that a stellar event highlighting the downtown-based school facility, its cutting-edge learning techniques and its distinctive mentor program would attract and impress our target publics. The event planning prospects are endless and 578 is more than enthused to get in touch with our creative side and let the planning begin.

Image courtesy of Helen Butts

Image courtesy of Helen Butts

In the mean time between research and event brainstorming, I have personally seen my dedication and passion for this campaign blossom. I believe I speak for my 578 sisters as well when I say that I truly support Mentorship Academy Executive director Graysen Walles’ vision for the school and its mentor program.

I believe that 578 Communications’ campaign will promote community involvement in the Baton Rouge area while contributing to our social responsibility as future public relations professionals. Mentorship Academy’s goal of changing the life paths of its students, who could otherwise fall by the wayside, is inspirational and impactful. In the opinion of this Strategy director, Mentorship’s goal is a clear example of civic engagement as it identifies and addresses a matter of public concern and makes plans to face it head on to promote change.

578 Communications will meet with Executive director Graysen Walles for a second time to cement campaign details and work to establish a campaign budget. The team is eager to share our progress with Dr. Walles and to get his input on our plethora of plans.

578 Communications has just set the ball rolling on Mentorship Academy’s campaign, and our firm hopes to move from the R to the O.P.E.S. in the very near future. Don’t change that dial; we’ll be back with more.

Yours in public relations,

Madison Hentze

about.me/madisonhentze

Preparing for the dive: Conducting public relations research for the Mentorship Academy

Design director Emily Herrington here, writing on behalf of 578. As of right now, the wheels are turning and this public relations campaign is moving along. After our group’s meeting with Graysen Walles of the Mentorship Academy, our heads were swimming with ideas.

Our conversations and thoughts after the fact went a little something like this: “We should do this!” “How cool would it be if we did that?” “Or what about this?” And on and on.

After waiting a few days to let things settle, we finally  found our footing and focused on what we had to do: set a goal for ourselves, determine objectives and move forward with research, the first step of the PR process.

We realized that we were lucky enough to have the most difficult type of goal to accomplish — task management. With task management goals, we’re not just trying to let the public know we’re here and make them aware of what we do, we’re actually trying to get them to do something, to change their behavior and inspire action. We want members of our target audience to mentor a high school student at the Mentorship Academy.

The school currently has zero mentors, has never attempted to formally recruit any mentors and has no real gameplan in place. Just ideas. And lots of them. As daunting as this undertaking may seem (and actually be), it could be really great for us. Because we’re starting from scratch, we can easily see the effect we’ve had and whether we accomplished our goal.

While defining our goal, we also developed one (of sure-to-be several) objective that will bring us closer to accomplishing our goal. Here’s what we came up with:

Objective for business and academic professionals to have an effect on action, specifically to recruit 30 mentors to generate relationships with Mentorship Academy students that encourage and promote accountability, achievement and academics by December 2013.

Before we start hosting events and following through on some of the bigger aspects of the campaign, we need to know who we’re talking to and who we want to talk to. Do they know that the Mentorship Academy exists? What do they think about it? Are they willing to donate their time to its mission?

We’re going to find the answers through the survey that we created last week. We need to be informed before we start reaching out to our target audience for help. It isn’t fair for us to ask them to change their behaviors and do what we want them to do without us knowing anything about them or how they feel.

In conclusion, this past week has been a foundation for the beginning of our campaign. It’s important that our feet are planted before we dive in. This phase of the PR process is crucial to us because it keeps us grounded and prevents us from becoming overzealous.

It’s truly exciting to discover what’s next for 578 Communications and its work with the Mentorship Academy.

Until next time,

Emily Herrington
Twitter: @em_herr
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/emherr/

578 Communications Meets Mentorship Academy

I have known that I wanted to work with the Mentorship Academy since day one. Our first client meeting for MC 4005 was interesting, to say the least. All of the potential clients presented awesome opportunities to our class. I knew nothing about the Mentorship Academy before they made their presentation. However, it took about five minutes to solidify my desire to become the event coordinator for the Mentorship Academy.

All of us at 578 Communications were excited to finally get the chance to make the trip downtown to the school and meet with its executive director, Dr. Graysen Walles. We wanted to get a clear picture of Dr. Walles’ vision for the future of the Mentorship Academy. The goal is to provide the students of the Mentorship Academy with a business or academic professional to serve as their mentor and provide guidance in preparation for life beyond high school. The focus of the mentorship program is to help students prepare themselves for the university and business world.

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 10.58.26 AM

photo courtesy of mentorshipbr.org

Our group learned very quickly that we were starting from scratch – a completely blank slate. It took a few seconds for that fact to sink in at our meeting with Dr. Walles, and I have to admit I even experienced some panic. However, that panic quickly turned into excitement. We are starting with nothing. We can do so many different things. This will be so easy to measure success at the end of the semester. A million thoughts ran through my head, so I did my best to scribble them all down on paper before I forgot.

There are so many possibilities for this mentorship program. 578 Communications has a chance to make a real difference in the lives of these students. This program has always been something the school has strived for, but they’ve met many obstacles along the way. They finally decided to seek outside help to figure out the best way to jumpstart this program. This is where LSU steps in.

The demographic of the school is diverse, but the majority of the students come from low-income areas. The idea is to show these students that you can do anything, go anywhere, if you work hard enough. We are helping these students. I think that was the biggest appeal about the Mentorship Academy from the beginning.

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Mentorship Academy students on display in the main hall

We were blown away by the inside of the school. The downtown location had us wondering how exactly they could successfully lay out a school. Each floor is dedicated to a specific grade level. Students’ projects and art lines the walls of each floor. Teachers and students alike stay after school to participate in clubs, sports, or work on projects. It’s just like any other school. But better. This school, along with its mentorship program, is going to come together to make an incredible impact on the lives of these students. It’s up to 578 Communications to get this started. 

student media room

student media room

art club meeting fliers

art club meeting fliers

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student projects line the walls of the school

We definitely have our work cut out for us. I can’t think of a bigger motivation than impacting the lives of these students. The potential in this Mentorship Academy is huge – but it also has the potential to not be such a huge success. This project will reflect exactly what we at 578 Communications put into it. I am confident in speaking for the rest of my group when I say we’re ready and excited. I’m so excited to have Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple be our professor (and our mentor) through this. This is not just a project we want to complete successfully by the end of the semester. We want to set this up so that the gears keep spinning long after we’re gone. We want to make a lasting impact.

This isn’t just about these students’ education – it’s about the impact we can make on their lives.