Author Archives: sarahrosehassani

Bringing Unity to the Community

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Elvis entered the doors of the Lakeland Harbor Community Clubhouse on September 5, 2011 to perform some of his top hits and the crowd went wild! The music was loud, the dancing was groovy, and the food was finger lickin’ good. 84 people witnessed this night unfold but were you one of them?

This 50’s sock hop event is one of the many events hosted by Noah’s Ark, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering those with developmental disabilities. Among many things, they provide a housing residence and assist the disabled in finding employment and every month they provide opportunities for the community to get involved by participating in their events.

“Our kids love music, dancing, and food.. the sock hop had it all. The event included a gourmet dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings. Music was mostly from the 50’s and 60’s with some electric slide, chicken dance, YMCA, and achy-breaky heart thrown in. We even had a surprise visit from “Elvis.” It was really Billy Warnock, one of our very own, dressed up in costume!” said Jack Kosik, executive director of Noah’s Ark.

Laura Tracy

At the end of the evening, one of the disabled girls Laura was heard to say, “We need to do this more often, this is the most fun I ever had.” For Jack and his volunteers, this simple statement from Laura makes all the work they direct towards creating events, worth it.

Noah’s Ark passionately desires participants of their program to enjoy life to the fullest. That’s why they dedicate much time and effort in planning, organizing, and hosting events like the 50’s sock hop event. They also want to build relationships between the community and the disabled.

When Noah’s Ark isn’t bringing down the house with a 50’s sock hop dance, you can rest assured that they are busy doing something. Every month they upload a calendar on their website listing all of the events for that month. The events range from special events, like the 50’s sock hop, to other events like bowling, tennis, golf, and basketball, which are more laid back and frequent.

“It’s important for us to provide opportunities for our kids, to have fun and enjoy life. I call them kids but I know their not. It’s just that I truly love and care for them like my own kids,” said Jack Kosik.

Jack Kosik and his team of volunteers also plan community events. They believe it is a key ingredient in spreading awareness, which they believe is vital for the growth and success of Noah’s Ark.

“The community relations aspect of our organization is critical because of the population we are dealing with. A lot of people still don’t know who we are and until we are able to educate those people, it’s hard to gain support and it’s difficult to build community,” said Jack.

Through community events over the past couple years, Noah’s Ark has been able to gain more awareness. It has also helped the organization educate the public on the issues and struggles people with disabilities face each day and provide opportunities for them to get involved whether that be by volunteering, spreading the word, or simply donating money to help keep Noah’s Ark functioning.

A lot of Noah’s Ark community events are also fundraisers. They provide an opportunity for people to build unity, learn more about the organization, while also having the chance to give funds that help Noah’s Ark reach others.

“Sometimes people don’t give because they think they don’t have a large enough donation. They don’t realize that any amount of money helps. Whther that be $1,000 or $10, we appreciate it all,” said Jack Kosik.

Donations for the organization were recently gained during this past black Friday weekend, from Nov 25-27. Noah’s Ark and restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday’s, came together by creating an opportunity for people to participate in Ruby Tuesday’s community giveback program.

“All customers had to do was present a flyer to their server and designate Noah’s Ark as their organization of choice and 20% of the purchase price was then donated to Noah’s Ark,” said Jack.

They also had a “Bowl-a-thon,” on October 23, 2011 located at Orange Bowl lanes on 98 North in Lakeland, FL. After the event, the community had grown closer, awarness of the Noah’s Ark was gained, and almost $8,000 for the organization was raised.

Community event planning for Noah’s Ark is more than something on the agenda. It’s something they passionately pursue because they realize they wouldn’t be where they are today without help from the community.

“The people of Lakeland are great. They are loving, supportive, and people who truly want to give back,” said Jack.

When people hear “Noah’s Ark” they often remember the story of a man who loved God, built an ark, and desired to accomplish a plan that few people believed in. The opposition he faced was great but he demonstrated the perseverance to never give up.

Like this story, a non-profit organization is pursuing their plan as well and continues to build their own “ark.” Despite the obstacles they face, their refusal to give up has been settled. They call themselves “Noah’s Ark.” Maybe because of their desire to carry people towards a life beyond the storms or maybe because they are calling for all people, the entire community, to come aboard and take part in a plan worth pursuing.

Pinterest, my favorite addiction.

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Photo Credit: Thevintageapple.com

I’m sure many of you have heard about the website, “Pinterest.com.” A lot of people use it but there are still many people who don’t know what it is. Let me inform you!

What’s Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online database with thousands of pictures. The pictures are divided up into different sections depending on what they deal with. Different sections like, food, apparel, travel, home decor, DYI, education, fitness, and a lot more.

What Do You Do?

People upload pictures and then other people can see them. When you see a picture you want to save, you “repin” it. The picture is then moved to one of your  virtual “pin boards.” You can have as many pin boards as you would like and post as many pictures to those boards as you want. I have pin boards that I’ve named, “outfit ideas,” “one day,” “yummy,” “nails,” “hair styles,” and the list could go on.

You can also click on the pictures because they have embedded links that will take you to where you can find more information about the picture. For example, there are tons of pictures of different meals. When you see something you like, you can click on the picture and it will take you to a website that gives you the recipe on how to make that meal. It’s pretty awesome!

Also, you can buy things on Pinterest too. There is a tab called “gifts” near the top of the page and you can choose the price range you want to view pictures from. On the top left side corner of each picture, it will tell how much the item costs.

Another Type of Social Media!

Let me also mention that you can follow your friends on Pinterest too. You can send pictures to them and comment on pictures they upload. You can even sync your Pinterest account with Facebook or Twitter and they will find your friends for you! Simple, easy, and loads of fun.

If this post hasn’t inspired you to set up a Pinterest account, something is clearly wrong with you! If it has, I warn you that it can be very addicting but who cares, it’s so much fun!

If you have any other questions about Pinterest, let me know! I would love to answer them for you.

10 Tips: How to write a press release

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Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds

Knowing the basics of how to write a press release are crucial if you are going to be a PR pro.  It’s important to know the correct ways in writing a press release before your even given the assignment.

Here are a list of tips on writing a press relase!

  1. Make sure the information is newsworthy.
  2. Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.
  3. Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.
  4. Ask yourself, “How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to connect?”
  5. Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.
  6. Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.
  7. Deal with the facts.
  8. Provide as much Contact information as possible: Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site address.
  9. Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release.
  10. Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.

Rated T for Teen: Turkey Bowling Event

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Photo Credit: Lynnspin.com

Midflorida credit union is hosting their first “Turkey Bowling” event for teens on Nov 22! The event will take place at AMF Lakeland lanes, located on S. Florida, from 5-9pm.

Teens will be able to enjoy free bowling, shoe and ball rental, as well as free pizza and unlimited bevarages! On top of that, they will also have a chance to win some awesome prizes. Door prizes will be raffled off throughout the event and other small prizes will be given away through competitions. The top prize will be given to the lucky teen who bowls a turkey (three strikes in-a-row!) first!

Event details can also be found on Midflorida’s Rated T for Teen Facebook page or on there RT4T blog. They are asking that teens RSVP no later than Monday, 11/ 21 on their Facebook page, so they can gurauntee enough food and lanes for everyone.

Hannah Sells, Midflorida’s youth spokesperson, will also be there bowling and talking with other fellow teens!

I wish when I was a teen, I had a bank that had cool events like this! Maybe I’ll crash the party? Only kidding!

Rated T for Teen: Witcha-Be-Wearing Halloween Contest

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Photo Credit: RT4T.com

This Halloween, Midflorida Credit Union had their first “Witcha-be-Wearing” Halloween 2011 Costume Photo Contest!

They asked teens to take a photo of their unique homemade costume creation and submit it for a chance to WIN:

$100: 1st place, $75: 2nd place, $50: 3rd place

All of the announcements took place on Midflorida’s Rated T for Teen Facebook page. They posted status updates encouraging teens to participate and even with it being the first time they had an event like this for teens, they still had a great response.

Photo’s of all the participants in their costumes can be found on Midflorida’s Rated T for Teen Facebook page, in their “Halloween photo contest 2011” photo album. Looking through the pictures, I was pretty impressed with what these teens were able to come up with.

Here are photos of the three winners!

Photo Credit: Midflorida credit union (1st place winner)

Photo Credit: Midflorida credit union (2nd place winner)

Photo Credit: Midflorida credit union (3rd place winner)

Think Before You Comment!

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For many years I have been an avid user of different types of social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. I have spent hours commenting on photos, videos, and blog posts. When I first started, leaving a comment wasn’t something that I stopped and ever thought about.This isn’t exactly the best approach…

Here are different ways to write effective blog comments!

Photo Credit: Ashleigh Lalor

#1. Determine Your Motivation: If you as the commenter know what your motivation is behind your comment, it will help you decide what kind of comment to write.

#2. Provide context: This is something that I have noticed there is a great lack of. Many times I have read through a list of comments, that numerous people have left, and the comments get so out of context that its very hard to follow what is being said. That’s why giving context in your blog comment is so important. Other commenters won’t be confused as to what you’re talking about and the original poster themselves will understand your comment better and be able to respond back in a more beneficial and productive way.

#3. Be Respectful: That is simple enough. Don’t leave rude comments that make you, as a commenter, look bad. You want to look sophisticated and you want the poster and other commenters to take you seriously. Leaving rude comments, especially containing vulgar language, will make you stand out in a bad way.

#4. Make a Point: Don’t be so vague with comments like, “I agree,” or “your wrong.” Be specific and state your opinion.

#5. Know What You’re Talking About: Don’t state that you have no idea about what you’re saying and then give advice as to what the blog poster should do or believe. Do the research in advance and don’t leave a comment until you know your stuff!

#6. One Point Per Comment: A blog comment shouldn’t be a whole paper on all of the different things that you believe on the issue being discussed. If you have a lot to say, start your own blog and make a post on the issue.

#7.  Keep it short: This is definitely something that I agree with! I cannot tell you how many times I have read comments that have gone on for years it seamed like. I don’t want to be an old lady, sitting in my rocking chair, by the time I get through reading a comment. Plus, halfway through the comment, people start to get bored. They don’t want to read a whole novel so make sure you get to the point and say the essentials.

#8: Proofread: Even if you leave a great comment, if words are spelled wrong and the grammar is completely off, no one will be able to focus on the great comment you just left. They also will start to take you less seriously because they will think you are not educated. If you take the time to write a great comment, make sure you take the time to deliver it greatly!

Benefits of Social Media Monitoring

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Benefits: 

Photo Credit: Alexa Westerfield

#1. Reading a customer’s mind: These monitoring tools give companies the wonderful ability to find out, not only what their consumers feel about them, but also what the general public feels about them. It gives them the chance to read the minds of the people when it comes to a new product, promotions, etc.

#1. Cuts back time: The great thing about social media monitoring tools is that it provides the ability to receive the publics opinion quickly. Customers can voice their opinions about a corporation or their products in a matter of seconds, which helps the company tremendously. They are able to quickly make adjustments in whatever areas needed to better serve their consumers when they have easy, quick access, to their opinions.

#3. Everyone wins: Social media monitoring is a win for everyone. It not only helps the companies but it also helps the consumers. Consumers often don’t realize that corporations do take the time to research what people are saying about them. A good corporation wants to satisfy and make their customers happy and by using monitoring tools, they are able to do just that! Companies search the web and monitor the conversations going on about their brand. They read the positive stuff and the negative stuff and learn what to keep and what to adjust.

In my eyes, social media monitoring is a new, ground breaking way, to communicate. It provides a channel in which a company’s management team is able to talk to the people outside of their company. Without it, companies and their consumers wouldn’t be able to communicate  as effectively. It’s important for consumers to realize that companies do care about what they are saying about them and their products. It’s important to remember: Communication is key!