Tampa, Fla. — One pencil may not seem like a lot, but to a child in Afghanistan it could mean a better life. Undergraduate students in Dr. Kelli Burns’ public relations issues class are learning about the educational needs of underprivileged school children in the Middle East. The class is creating cause-related campaigns to encourage donations, collect school supplies and raise awareness about the importance of childhood education in Afghanistan.
This endeavor began with the help of retired Sgt. Rex Temple. He was stationed in Afghanistan when he came up with the idea to start a school supply drive to help the children he met during his deployments. The children were eager to learn, but they didn’t have the tools to do it.
Rex teamed up with his wife Lisa Temple and the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation in Tampa to launch this campaign in June 2009. Since then the couple has shipped more than 18,000 boxes of donated school supplies to the Middle East.
For USF public relations students, it couldn’t be a better opportunity to use their communications skills to help promote the school supply drive.
“These students are using the skills they are learning in the classroom to build awareness and coordinate communications efforts for a good cause,” said Dr. Burns. “They’re incorporating social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets into their campaigns.”
USF public relations students have organized bake sales at the Bullmarket and coordinated other events to raise awareness about the school supply drive on campus. Other groups have partnered with local businesses to raise donations and get the word out beyond the university.
Many donors may not have school supplies on hand to donate, but there are other ways you can support the cause. If you’re interested in making a donation, checks can be mailed to Brian Jordan, Holland & Knight LLP. 201 N. Franklin Street – 12th Floor Tampa, FL 33602.
Contact: Bradley Walker