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Health Communication Class creates PSAs for Family Promise

Students in the Penn State Berks Health Communication course, a service learning class, are creating public service announcements for Family Promise of Berks County, a nonprofit organization that services the needs of Reading’s homeless population.

The class will meet with Family Promise on Friday, March 1, 2013, at 11 a.m. in room 157 of the Franco Building to discuss their progress on the PSAs.

The executive director of Family Promise visited the class and spoke with the students at the beginning of the semester to share the mission and goals of the agency. Throughout the semester, students have been working in small teams to create public service announcements for the agency. Each team is responsible for creating a print PSA, an audio PSA (to be used on the radio or on the web) and a video PSA (to be aired on TV, on the web, or during presentations).

Their instructor, Dr. Kesha Morant Williams, Assistant Professor of Communications Arts and Sciences, has been conducting health research and teaching health communication courses for quite sometime. She explains that she always had a commitment to community, and found that this project was an excellent way to honor that commitment.

The project is connected to the Penn State Berks Center for Service Learning and Community Based Research. This class uses service learning through community participatory research to create useful health messages addressing the needs of Family Promise of Berks County.

Morant Williams received funding from the Howard O. and Jean Beaver Endowment for Community Service to have the PSAs professionally printed. Throughout the project, the students became motivated to begin a drive to collect necessary items for the families the agency serves.

“Once we began the project, my class Service Learning Leader Tiffany Wesner was really moved and wanted to find an additional way to help. She asked if I was okay with her beginning a campaign to gather items that Family Promise needs for the families they serve. I said that was a great idea,” explained Morant Williams. “She contacted the agency and asked what they needed. I reached out to a few honor societies, (Lambda Pi Eta and Chi Alpha Epsilon) and Tiffany reached out to the Berks Honors Program. One of the students in my class, Quatima Spearman, is a Lion Ambassador; she reached out to the Ambassadors. They agreed to use this as their service project and have donated a lot of items, such as toiletries, socks, towels, and blankets, just to name a few.”

Family Promise of Berks County is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year service agency providing temporary accommodations for homeless families. It serves as an alternative to the shelter system, which often separates family units. When families are accepted into the program, they commit to working with a case manager to achieve goals specific to their needs. Family Promise of Berks County serves families with children without regard to race, religion, or age. Families may stay in the network 45 to 90 days provided they are adhering to guest guidelines and making progress in their efforts towards self-sufficiency.

For more information, contact Morant Williams at 717-203-7740.

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