Ted K. For Earth Day’s Million Can Redemption Plan

Click the logo to visit the Million Can Redemption Plan website.

The following are samples of what my PR course team and I accomplished for our client, the Ted K. Center, during the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The Ted K. Center is a non-profit youth center which provides educational, social and recreational opportunities for the children who live at Plattsburgh Housing Authority.

The Ted K. Center’s van broke down last summer while transporting children. With funding already minimal, the center looked to us for help in raising $15,000 for a new vehicle and increasing awareness by planning a full-scale public relations campaign.

During the Fall 2014 semester, my team members and I created a content analysis of the small youth center industry.

For this content analysis, we researched 11 other small youth centers across America and compared it to the Ted K. Center. We concluded that what made the biggest difference in funding for these successful youth centers was being involved in the community and having a strong presence on their social media.

Our campaign: “Ted K. for Earth Day’s Million Can Redemption Plan.”

In honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), the Ted K. Center teamed up with SUNY Plattsburgh to collect one million cans and bottles throughout the month of April.

This initiative brought together the Plattsburgh community and utilized the Ted K. Center’s social media, increasing their online presence. This project also benefited the environment by making new containers out of recycled products rather than from raw materials, which reduced energy usage, pollution and greenhouse gases. All proceeds went towards the Ted K. Center who were in desperate need of a new van.

We put together a promotional video, which you can view here.

Our sponsors included:

campaign sponsors

I created the content for this local business-targeted flyer persuading businesses to donate their redeemables during the month of April.

I created the content for this local business-targeted flyer persuading businesses to donate their redeemables. Click to view PDF.
Click to view PDF.

We conducted a road show of sorts, presenting to breakfast and noon Rotary, Clinton County Legislature, the city council and more.

We held a news conference Monday, February 23, 2015 at The Ted K. Center and invited local media. The following morning, our story made the front page of the Press-Republican and Cardinal Points. We were also featured on the WPTZ website, on WNBZ‘s radio and were televised on Mountain Lake Journal PBS.

Click to read online version of the feature article.
Click to read online version of the feature article.
Click to read online version of this article.

We had about 40 businesses donating their cans and bottles to our campaign, thanks to our partnership with the Plattsburgh Distributing Company.

We conducted a contest between the 60 SUNY Plattsburgh clubs and organizations on board and the winner received $200 towards their philanthropy through memorabilia donated by Pepsi Co.

This also became a campus-wide initiative to recycle clean.

We conducted neighborhood sweeps every Saturday and Sunday in April, knocking on all residents’ doors collecting cans and bottles. SUNY Plattsburgh clubs, organizations, sports teams and Greek life were involved, volunteering their time to participate in the sweeps. I participated in the first neighborhood sweep to make sure all groups involved knew the correct messaging.

We were featured again on the WPTZ website and the Press Republican about the neighborhood sweeps.

We also held a contest between all the dorms on campus, and the dorm that recycled the cleanest won a pizza party at the end of April. In order to inform all dorm residents, our team went ‘dorm storming,’ knocking on all dorm room doors with quarter sheets about our campaign and contest. Twice a week, I checked two dorm buildings’ quality of recycling. My team members checked the other dorms on campus.

At the end of every week in April, the campus center displayed the top-5 clubs and organizations that had donated the most bags of cans and bottles and the top dorm with the cleanest recyclables. This was another initiative to have those competing work harder.

Every week, I stopped by the participating businesses and picked up their bottles and cans collected. Then I dropped them off at Northern Cakes Redemption Center and to donate the credit to our campaign.

For Earth Day: We were featured on WNBZ‘s radio on Earth Day.

Plattsburgh Housing Outlet celebrated the Million Can Redemption Plan’s Earth Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. People dropped off bags of redeemable bottles and cans or monetary donations. Each donation of one hundred redeemables (approximately a large garbage bag) or $5 earned a raffle entry for two months of Casella Zero-Sort residential recycling, fun Pepsi prizes and coupons for free products from Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell and KFC.

The first 50 donors received a voucher for a free ice cream cone, pound of deli meat or 6” sub from Northern Cakes Redemption Center. The Plattsburgh Housing Outlet was also offering tours of their energy efficient homes, and Della Honda showcased a 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid.

I participated by showing cars where to drop off their redeemables and increased awareness to cars passing by.

I tabled during ECOFest, a festival celebration where all those from the SUNY Plattsburgh community join to celebrate Earth Day.

While SUNY Plattsburgh held RELAY for Life, we collected redeemables in the beginning of the event. There was also a raffle to win the Rockstar energy drink electric sign and a Mountain Dew cooler donated from Pepsi. All bags donated were able to also go towards the club or organization’s name for the campus contest.

In the last week of April, a few team members and myself drove a van picking up all the redeemables the participating businesses collected over the month of April. We also did one last sweep in the surrounding college housing area.

An Editorial in the Press Republican was written about an update on our campaign on April 29.

Click image to read online article.
Click the PDF to read the online article.

SUNY Plattsburgh published a final conclusion news release about our campaign.

Once the campaign ended, we totaled over 202,000 redeemables collected and raised over $11,000. Support from our sponsors include monetary donations, manpower and supplies, which is equivalent to $5,000. Collecting the redeemables and receiving support from our sponsors has made us exceed our goal in raising $15,000 for the Ted K. Center to purchase a new van.

We totaled 10 local and regional media hits.

Awareness of the Ted K. Center and their social media has also exponentially increased throughout the Plattsburgh community.

Over the course of the campaign, the “likes” on the Facebook page went from 333 to 585, an increase of 43 percent. The daily reach of the posts was 40,799 people total. The posts reached a total of 41,571 people. The total amount of daily engaged users was 3,736 people.

The Twitter account, which was created in January, now has 135 followers. Tweets made a total of 36,607 impressions. Tweets engaged 2,639 people. There was an engagement rate of 7.21 percent 179 people clicked on the Ted K. Center profile from the account’s tweets. 220 favorites on tweets. 218 retweets on tweets.

My totaled credited work hours for this campaign was 125 hours.

Ted K. Earth Day Million Can Redemption Plan Website

Ted K. Earth Day Million Can Redemption Plan Twitter 

Ted K. Earth Day Million Can Redemption Plan Facebook

Homelessness in Plattsburgh is on the rise

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 14, 2014) —“The fastest growing group of homeless people in Clinton County is families. Many of those families have young children,” Plattsburgh Housing Authority’s Executive Director Mark Hamilton said.

Homelessness in Plattsburgh is increasing each year. According to Hamilton and Homelessness Analytics, during 2008 to 2012, the total number of homeless persons reported have increased from 53 to 236. That’s an increase of four and a half percent.

To help fight homelessness, Plattsburgh has Plattsburgh Housing Authority (PHA), Evergreen Townhouse Community (ETC), Clinton County Department of Social Services (CCDSS), STOP Domestic Violence at Behavioral Health Services North (BHSN), Champlain Valley Family Services and Veteran Affairs.

Local churches help by providing food drives and clothing to the homeless. The Salvation Army also helps by offering affordable everyday items and assistance programs. ETC and SUNY Plattsburgh sponsored a workshop event on homelessness this past Saturday, May 3 at United Methodist Church.

PHA is heavily regulated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and has waiting list requirements. However, PHA does not offer emergency housing. Tenant rent and HUD Subsidy fund PHA.

“The PHA has recently instituted a ‘homelessness preference’ that will give applicants that meet HUD’s approved definition of homeless points to move them up the waiting list,” Hamilton said.

According to HUD.gov, HUD considers a person homeless “only when he/she resides in places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings (on the street) or an emergency shelter.

“They may also be in transitional or supportive housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters or is in any of the above places but is spending a short time (up to 30 consecutive days) in a hospital or other institution.

“Also being evicted within a week from a private dwelling unit and no subsequent residence has been identified and lacks resources and support networks needed to obtain housing.

“Being homeless also includes being discharged within a week from an institution, such as a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility or a jail/prison, in which the person has been a resident for more than 30 consecutive days and no subsequent residence has been identified and the person lacks the resources and support networks needed to obtain housing.

“Lastly, a person may be considered homeless if they are fleeing a domestic violence housing situation and no subsequent residence has been identified and lacks the resources and support networks needed to obtain housing.”

PHA is collaborating with ETC, CCDSS and STOP Domestic Violence on the new homelessness preference and application.

“PHA also has a long-standing history of working with the Clinton County Continuum of Care in an effort to reduce instances of homelessness,” Hamilton said.

ETC is a temporary emergency shelter and provides an intensive case management service for homeless families and individuals. They supply 12 temporary housing units and 21 permanent housing units. They are located at 6 Tara Ln.

CCDSS helps people with domestic violence, employment and assistance, home care, Medicaid and more. They are located at 13 Durkee St.

STOP Domestic Violence is an NYS-certified program under BHSN assisting victims of domestic violence.

According to BHSN.org, they supply “confidential[ly] safe apartments for those in need and eligible for temporary shelter. Safe apartment residents can take care of immediate needs and assess long range plans for a safe environment while utilizing the support and assistance of staff.”

STOP Domestic Violence is located at 22 US Oval, Suite 218.

According to New York Times article Cuomo and de Blasio Clash Again, This Time Over Homelessness, “Mr. Cuomo’s office…had set aside more than $100 million in his proposed budget to help the homeless, mostly in New York City.”

According to United Neighborhood Houses Summary of the 2014-2015 New York State Executive Budget, Homeless Housing Prevention Services Program received a $30.3 million budget.

New York State’s office of Comptroller stated in 2012 Clinton County had 19.5% of household owners and 47% of household renters above the affordability threshold. In 2000, Clinton County had 38.9% of household renters and 17% of household owners above the affordability threshold. That’s almost a 10% increase in renters who have low income in over the past decade.

Clinton County spent roughly $48 million on social services, including emergency housing for adults and family assistance, according to Clinton County’s Legislative Department’s 2013 Budget online document.

Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon is still new to the issue of homelessness. He plans on discussing more with Social Services Commissioner John Redden and President and CEO of BHSN, Craig Amoth.

Calnon said via email, “Homeless often seek more densely populated areas, as they provide more services, more opportunities for help and more potential spots for shelter, even the opportunity to group together for safety.”

He believes there is a sufficient demand for a shelter in Plattsburgh.

Calnon added, “Any shelter that is created needs to take into account that the City or the Town should not have to shoulder the cost of a shelter by themselves.”

Calnon does not have any plans at this point in time regarding homelessness.

Awareness is the best way to fight homelessness. If you wish to help, contact the mentioned services and organizations.

Hamilton believes “there is a need for some type [of] transitional housing that has a finite amount of time an individual or family could reside in and would require them to have various services (job training, career counseling, household skill training, etc.) that would allow them to have a successful transition from homelessness to permanently housed.”