Service-Learning Experience: Connecting our Experiences, Skills and Passions with Local Nonprofit, Connections for Life

By Cate Brooks

Three and a half years of countless classes, internships and long hours in the lab have brought us to the final stretch – the Public Relations Campaigns course at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. Some of us have been looking forward to this course, some of us have been dreading it and some of us had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we walked into the first class. So here we are, six mass communication seniors: myself, Courtney Costello, Amber Mason, Kelli Griffin, Erin Caruso and Shaunda Johnson. Together we form MorphPR, a public relations agency with a focus in integrated communications. At MorphPR, our mission is change. We strive to influence public perception through strategic planning and intentional messaging.

Our Public Relations Campaigns course, taught by Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple, is both a service-learning and communication-intensive course. LSU offers an amazing opportunity for professors to take learning outside the classroom and help students gain a sense of civic responsibility through these service-learning classes, and the results of service learning are proven for students of all ages.  I am excited for the service-learning component of this course because I know that the work that I produce with my agency will benefit someone else. Furthermore, working with a real-life client will give each of us an opportunity to work on our client relationship skills.

Image via: http://bit.ly/1CPtdS5

This semester we are partnering with Connections for Life to create a full communications campaign aimed at meeting the organization’s specific needs. This local nonprofit helps rehabilitate women who have recently been released from incarceration, providing support and encouragement to help these women transition from dependence to independence. Studies have shown that rehabilitation programs significantly reduce the number of repeat offenders. This statistic shows that a program to help women in this situation is desperately needed, especially in Louisiana where the incarceration rate is the highest in the nation.

We are determined to tell a story, to connect people in the Baton Rouge community with Connections for Life and to help them understand that the women in the program are no different from themselves. Public relations practitioners can pour information out to their audience and media, but this information only truly takes hold when there is a compelling story behind it. With Courtney C. as our strategy director, Amber M. as our research director, Kelli G. as our writing director, Erin C. as our event director, Shaunda J. as our design director and myself as account executive, we are confident that we can work with Connections for Life to create a captivating story that encourages the local community to support this life-changing program.

We look forward to the rest of this semester and to this campaign with excitement and passion. Follow us on this journey, and stay updated on Connections for Life through their Facebook page. Now is our time to make a difference in our community through the skills that our Manship education has given us, and we’re ready.

Cate Brooks is a senior mass communication major from Roswell, Ga. Connect with her on LinkedIn or view her digital portfolio to learn more about her.

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