and doesn’t change it!
Some earned media from our big event!
By STAFF WRITER
March 28, 2015 · Updated 5:04 PM
Public relations students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) raised over $18,000 to support the Surrey-based Eversafe Ranch Outreach Society, the most raised by any class in the history of the program.
Over the past year, final-year students in the Richmond-based diploma program worked hard to meet their fundraising goal of $15,000 – enough to help Eversafe purchase a 22-seat passenger van to transport clients in need to after school programs.
The initiative culminated with a charity fundraising event held in Vancouver earlier this month. Attended by approximately 125 guests, An Enchanted Night featured a magician, silent auction, two raffles, speeches and refreshments. It was entirely planned, organized and executed by students as part of their coursework, which involves hosting an event to raise money for a good cause.
The class went over and above fundraising records and their own expectations, raising $18,350.22 for Eversafe, which helps Lower Mainland families transition from shelters to homes of their own. Last year, the graduating PR class set a fundraising record with $14,000 going to the STAND Foundation.
“We would like to thank all those involved in making this event such a huge success. The hard work of the KPU PR class of 2015, the generosity of local businesses who sponsored the event and donated items for the silent auction table, and the level of engagement by those who attended the fundraising reception will have a long-reaching impact on the families that we help on a daily basis,” said Alan Daser, president of Eversafe Ranch Outreach Society.
Well, we friggen did it! Through our event production class, in the public relations program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, we worked really hard to fundraise (with donuts sales, bake sales, bottle drives, make-up sales, pub nights), and pitch our hearts out to various organizations for sponsorship and silent auction items (we ended up filling five large tables full of amazing silent auction items), making our main fundraising event last week a huge success. We beat our goal of $15,000, and brought in $18,189.19!
Now, Eversafe Ranch Outreach Society can purchase a 22-seat vehicle to finally start their after-school program. Their new program will allow children living in Surrey shelters and secondary housing to take part in BC Parks and Recreation activities of their choice. Essentially, they will be changing the future of Surrey by building self-esteem and social skills in our most vulnerable, at-risk youth.
Thank you to all of our families and friends, and the organizations who contributed!
This will be my second story pitch to the media this year, and as is my style, it is extremely close to my heart. This attack happened to my younger brother, Jack Nielsen, and his best friend and ‘surrogate’ brother Devon Allaire-Bell, who died in his arms beside a park many of us grew up playing in, Frank Hurt Park.
This story serves to remind the public of the death of the sweet, always smirking, soft spoken Devon who had such a big presence in his friend’s lives through their hardships, and to remind us to come together as a community to try to make change, as one powerful grieving mother has successfully accomplished.
Come to Frank Hurt Park on September 20th at 11am and help us take back our parks, and take a stand against violence.
Cynthia Allaire-Bell and Wayne Bell standing in front of Robert Davidson’s ‘Eagle Calling’
Parents who fought to make Surrey Park safer in honour of slain son prepare for its grand opening
Since losing their son three and a half years ago, Wayne Bell and Cynthia Allaire-Bell have been fighting tirelessly to make Frank Hurt Park safer for the entire community.
SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA (September 11, 2014) – The site of a fatal stabbing three and half years ago behind Frank Hurt Secondary School is set to re-open as a safer, cleaner, community park thanks to the efforts of the parents of the young man who was killed there.
The grand opening of Frank Hurt Park is scheduled for September 20, 2014 at 11:00am at 76 Avenue and 138th in Surrey. There will be music, entertainment, refreshments and children’s activities.
The opening will include the unveiling of a public art piece titled, ‘Eagle Calling’ by Robert Davidson, meant to honour Devon Allaire-Bell, 19, and his childhood friend Jack Nielsen, 20, who were attacked in the park on April 24, 2011.
Allaire-Bell and Nielsen were playing soccer on Frank Hurt field when five South Asian men approached and an altercation ensued, ending in the stabbing death of Allaire-Bell, and life-threatening stab wounds for Nielsen, who survived the attack. Released RCMP footage showed the suspects fled through the forested area now known as Frank Hurt Park.
Since losing their son just steps away from the park where he and his friends grew up playing, Devon’s parents, Wayne and Cynthia, have been fighting to make it a safer place for the surrounding community. Cynthia immediately began ripping out the invasive plants which blocked the site lines into the forest and harboured garbage, needles, syringes and condoms.
Cynthia pushed the City to honour her son by name and by taking action, and the City soon got on board, holding clean-up days in which the Parks Department, Devon’s friends, family, and Cynthia and Wayne’s coworkers from Costco and Coast Mountain Bus Company came to help.
“Although the City couldn’t accept our application to have the park named after Devon, it certainly was inspired by Devon and we will always know in our hearts why it’s there,” said Cynthia. “We will spend the rest of our lives thanking everyone who was involved in this project. Devon was taken from us and we will never get him back, the only thing we can do is come together as a community and take back our parks.”
When it came time for park design, Cynthia and Wayne suggested Robert Davidson, a master Haida carver, as a candidate for the public art piece, as Davidson had previously adopted Devon and his older brother Brandon into the Haida Eagle clan.
“Robert Davidson is not only a master carver, he is a hereditary chief in our tribe, and since my wife is not from the tribe and we are a matrilineal society, having our sons adopted into the Eagle Clan was a very big honour for us,” said Wayne. “So we were hoping Robert would keep us in mind for his design if he was selected.”
Wayne and Cynthia are available for interviews and photo opportunities in front of “Eagle Calling” to help remember their son Devon, and to emphasize the importance of coming together as a community to make Surrey’s parks safer.
Contact me for their information: email@example.com
Sara Bylo (Nielsen)
KPU PR Student
It appears I have more to say on the topic of asking.
I’m not going to delve deep into how important it is to be honest and set boundaries, and not let passive aggressive or selfish behaviour interfere with your relationships (see how I snuck that in anyways).
I really just wanted to touch on some inspiring asks that recently delighted me.
Many of my friends have little humans at home, and I am lucky enough to watch them and take note of the tricks I’d like to use when I eventually procreate. My friend Amanda recently blew my mind when her little nephew threw some food on the ground. Instead of springing forward to clean it up, she simply got down to his level, handed him some paper towel, and asked him nicely to clean it up. Even though he wasn’t even talking yet, he understood, wiped it up and brought her the paper towel. It was so sweet. Annoying food throwing game averted and boundary set.
Today, my two dogs and I met a 87 year old lady at her apartment for coffee. I had met her a few months ago, while walking my dogs. She approached me, and we chatted for about half an hour. As I was leaving, she bent down and asked my dogs if they would visit her soon. I didn’t cave to her hints, and waited for her to ask me herself. When my dogs wouldn’t answer her, as they do not speak fluent English, she turned around and asked me if we could visit her. She told me she lived right beside where we were standing. She gave me her card (that’s right, she had a card). I thought it was so bold of her to ask, and even have a system for which people could easily follow-through, with no excuse.
This same topic comes up almost everyday in our house in relation to dog behaviour. My fiance who is a dog behaviour specialist (Canines Moving Forward), has clients due to the very fact that most dog owners don’t know how to ask for the behaviour they want, and set boundaries for the behaviour they don’t want.
The concept is so simple that 99% of the time, Michael just needs one session with his clients to show them what asking looks like, and bam! After a few weeks of practicing setting boundaries on their own, the unwanted behaviour is gone.
I think it’s important to inspire each other to speak-up and work on our real connections. Our world is so digital that it’s easy to forget how to use our words with our mouths instead of our fingers. How to make a connection, and stay connected, on a human level. This means using eye-contact and real-time empathy with no ‘edits’, and even connecting with someone you wouldn’t normally make time for.
It means being present and honest in the moment. Not dwelling on personal interpretations and trying to solve issues via text. If someone has overstepped their boundaries, tell them, and move forward.
Let’s practice staying connected, it’s a human necessity after all.
Well, she’s filled my head with many great sayings over the years, some of my favorites being:
and lastly, the purpose of this post…
She did an amazing job of teaching me to speak up for myself and ask for what I want. As a somewhat introverted youngster, growing up in what television would refer to as a “broken home,” I had many built up thoughts and feelings, but I was not great at making my quiet little self heard.
This constant lesson from my mom, while often annoying (why couldn’t she just say all of my words for me?) has been very freeing.
To this day, when I know I need to say something, I get a lump in my throat until I say it. I try to live by her lesson as much as I can, mostly to avoid the lumping.
What I’ve learned is that most things you feel you need to ask or say are just simple, pure, and easy, unless you don’t ask or say them.
If you want to create a shitstorm of inner turmoil, hold that stuff in and let it brew, think about it all day and be sure to talk about it with lots of other people – ‘gauge their opinions’ just to spread the misery! Turn it into a little mind movie, and make it all about you.
But seriously, be a brave little toaster, if you want something, just ask. If you need to say something, just say it (nicely).
It behooves you to speak your truth, as my mom would say.
Happy almost Mother’s Day.
I’m ending in a quote, take it or leave it.
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
Sara (almost) Bylo
I’m going to be honest, when I entered the public relations program, I didn’t really understand the full extent of PR. I did know, however, that there were so many courses in the program that peaked my interest; visual design, crisis communications, media relations, print media applications…and the list goes on.
The most interesting thing that I learned, and this may not be news to most people (and good for you for knowing how stuff works), is that the content of every newspaper, or news program, is put there by a public relations person. It’s so sneaky! I didn’t realize journalists weren’t out researching until all hours, trying to find their own story. They simply open their e-mail and filter through the hundreds of pitches from public relations people (maybe not so simply).
This isn’t to say journalists aren’t working hard, they have to work even harder than ever before – there are now roughly 4 public relations people to every journalist, and newsrooms are shrinking! Look out world, bloggers are taking over the media.
So, after a year of learning how to make something newsworthy, we were off to choose a small organization to try to earn media coverage for.
My two class members and I chose Eversafe Ranch, a non-profit organization in Surrey, who work behind the scenes doing something that the government should be funding (in my opinion). This husband and wife duo provide abused women and children with a hope in hell of fleeing their abusers, by providing them furniture and other donated items to start from scratch.
Eversafe is leaned on by huge government funded shelters, and can you believe the City turned down their grant for a simple tax break on their charity thrift store, in favour of a local curling club, and multiple other sports clubs, of all things? It’s a sad world we live in.
We were short on time for our angle to bring awareness to their organization (‘spring cleaning’ – plea for gently used furniture and housewares) so our goal was to get coverage in the Cloverdale Reporter, as their thrift store is in Cloverdale. I contacted the editor, submitted our news release…
and, here it is and more!
We are happy to report that this coverage has also ended up in the Surrey and North Delta Leader, and on the front page of the Peace Arch News.
Thanks to Jennifer Lang, Editor – A very important organization will reach the minds of over 400,000 readers – It’s a start.
Aside: Did you know that children living in shelters in Surrey, BC, are not eligible for the Surrey Christmas Bureau (due to lack of civic address)? Eversafe provides shelter children with gifts and a huge community dinner during Christmas – Huge indeed, I mashed what felt like a thousand potatoes last December to contribute.
Until next time,
Last week my two group members and I had our first experience pitching to the media. It was nerve racking, thanks to our newly learned fear of journalists, and exciting, all at once. We had big hopes of getting our pitching done within the hour, and a mere five hours later, we were done. Needless to say, but I’m going to say it anyways (you’re welcome for that pointless expression), we wreaked of coffee afterwards – thank you Starbucks.
Our goal was to have our news release picked up by the Cloverdale Reporter, and this goal has been achieved! (and then some, coverage to come, Thursday). We even had interest from Omni News TV. Woo!
The best part of this experience was that we were pitching an amazing organization, run by two people who touch hundreds of lives in the community each year – right up my alley.
I can only hope my future entails pushing for many more organizations and people who positively contribute to this world. I can’t help but think this is why I’m here.
A little about Eversafe
Judy and Alan, founders of Eversafe Ranch charity, spend their days and nights helping families transition from emergency shelters and secondary housing in the Lower Mainland. These are families who due to unforeseen circumstances, such as domestic violence, have to start from scratch.
Judy and Alan provide the families, which consist mainly of women and their children, with the necessities to flee violence and live independently. They collect furniture, housewares, appliances and clothing, and deliver it right to the families in need, from a truck that was donated to them by the Union Gospel Mission.
They also opened a thrift store in Surrey (Cloverdale) to help support the families in need, through donated items received at the store, and profits from the store’s sales.
Currently, they are trying to raise money to send children living in shelters to BC Parks and Recreation summer camps of their choosing (which costs roughly $80 per child).
Helping build confidence in disadvantaged or abused children is one of the first steps to building healthy communities, and preventing future violence.
If you have a minute to donate a few bucks to support families and children living in shelters in Surrey, go to www.gofundme.com/eversafe
To get an authentic sense of what Judy and Alan do after work 2-3 times a week, my group members and I, with the permission of the mother and her son, came to help deliver the necessities.
Until next time,