By: Gabriel Soltren
Raul Romero is not from the United States, but that did not stop him from passing a National Board test and getting his U.S. Citizenship. Romero spoke with FPRA Orlando members as they worked to develop a public relations plan for the Adult Literacy League (ALL) in Orlando. As a dentist with more than 30 years experience in a Spanish speaking country, he found it difficult to pass the National Board exam in the English language for his profession. “The school helped me a lot and it is still helping me,” said Romero. “It also helped me to obtain citizenship.”
Members of FPRA Orlando met at the ALL on Dec. 16 for a hands-on public relations workshop. Workshop organizer, Laura Kern, APR, introduced Gina Berko Solomon, director of education with the ALL. She shared that there are more than 900 active students in the Orange, Osceola and Seminole county coverage area and about 60 students waiting for volunteer tutors. “Our capacity for marketing is about zero,” said Jennifer Grozio, development director. She asked for help with creating a plan that volunteers could follow. About 300 instructional volunteers provide 37 classes held mostly at local libraries in the three-county area.
Chris Gent, APR, CPRC and Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC worked on a corporate partnership building plan for the ALL. The proposed plan would enlist the support of organizations that need literate workers and that have access to potential volunteers.
María Isabel Sanquírico, Jeannette Rivera-Lyles and Jennifer Grozio developed public relations and volunteer recruitment strategies. The strategy would re-introduce the organization to members of key Hispanic organizations in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. More than 60 percent of the students served by the ALL are English language learners.
FPRA Orlando members Katarina dos Santos, Amanda Higaldo and Michael McCarthy worked on a social media strategy. The social media strategy included setting up Google Alerts and provided sample postings such as, “What was the first book you ever read?” Chad Binette and Kacie Boniberger worked on a media relations strategy, which included identifying and pitching human interest stories about the ALL students and volunteers. For example, a student recently won an employee of the year award at the University of Central Florida.
FPRA groups reunited at the end of separate brainstorming sessions and shared the ideas developed during the workshop. The ideas developed will be used to create a public relations plan for the ALL to use year-round.