This is an overview of the public service campaign projects the Ad Council of Rochester is currently supporting. Each project is composed of a collaboration of nonprofit organizations as well as volunteers from the marketing communications field and lead by an Ad Council team member. Clients are provided with strategy development and implementation support including research, creative development, design and production, and media placement through our local media partners. The Ad Council also offers a suite of capacity-building programs to individual nonprofit organizations to improve their marketing communications efforts with key constituents.
2-1-1/LIFE LINE is a community resource that provides free access to important services through a single contact point. Recently, state and federal budget cuts have prevented the program from executing a marketing plan that would generate public awareness about the service. 2-1-1/LIFE LINE is seeking to partner with the Ad Council for a campaign to build awareness for the service using both traditional and electronic media. The main goal of the proposed campaign would be to drive awareness for the 2-1-1/LIFE LINE service so that it is top of mind with community members whenever they are in need of help.
The Cancer Services Program of Monroe County (CSP-MC) is the only comprehensive breast, cervical and colorectal cancer education and screening program in Monroe County providing financial coverage, support and education for uninsured and underinsured men and women, ages 40 and older. CSP-MC pays for clinical breast exams and mammograms, pelvic exams and pap tests, and FIT kits and/or colonoscopies so that finances are not a barrier to preventive care. The Cancer Services Program campaign has been an active Ad Council campaign since 2002, targeting underinsured and uninsured men and women and was recognized with the W.B. Potter Founder’s Award in 2005, recognizing a results-oriented collaborative that could serve as a model for future community change campaigns.
Respite care is defined as short-term in-home community-based services to give relief to the primary caregiver. While caring for loved ones at home has always been the norm, the push for home and community-based care has increased, in part because the cost of care and public policy changes. A wealth of studies suggest that caregivers have poorer mental and physical health than non-caregivers and that those providing care to people with dementia have high levels of stress and lower well-being than those caring for physically disabled persons. Caregivers need help. Lifespan is the lead organization in this collaborative effort to create a community-wide respite program for people caring for a loved one with dementia.
In partnership with Bivona Child Advocacy Center, this campaign focuses exclusively on Child Sexual Abuse and educating the adults in our community about child sexual abuse while providing them with the tools that they need to both recognize the signs and prevent it from happening. The statistics speak for themselves. One of every four girls and one of every six boys is sexually abused before their 18th birthday; 240 children are sexually abused every day in this country. And one of the primary reasons that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. Forty-five percent of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years and some never disclose. We are committed to working with Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Monroe County Child Protective Services, area school districts, and many other partners across this community to prevent child sexual abuse.
Texting while driving is three times more dangerous than drunk driving—it increases your risk of a crash by 23 times (Virginia Tech, 2009) and according to a study by Cohen Children’s Medical Center, distracted driving now causes more deaths among teens than drunk driving (2013). During the research phase of this campaign, in the Ad Council’s street-side study, we observed nearly 5% of Rochester drivers illegally using their cell phones while driving which is considerably worse than data found in similar studies in other cities like Hartford, CT and Syracuse, NY. This campaign took a unique approach by targeting the person outside the car, encouraging them to ask “Are you driving?” each time they call or text friend and family and inspiring others to change the way they start conversations. We are continuing to create programs and education to support this marketing campaign including partnerships and outreach to area schools and businesses.
Childhood lead poisoning can have irreversible, life-changing impacts on both children and their families. A 2013 Mother Jones report “America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead”, outlines studies at the international, national, state, city, and even individual level that identifies serious long term effects of lead poisoning including higher adult arrest rates for violent crime concluding that high childhood exposure damages a part of the brain linked to aggression control and ‘executive functions’’’. And yet lead poisoning is completely preventable. After the Let’s Make Lead History Partnership launched, the City of Rochester successfully passed an ordinance to improve lead poisoning prevention in city homes. Since the campaign’s launch in 2006, there has been an 84% decrease in childhood lead poisoning in Monroe County.
Today, 521 local area residents are on the waiting list at Strong Memorial Hospital for an organ transplant, yet only 124 patients received organ transplants last year due to the lack of available donors. Sadly, 46 additional patients died in 2011 while waiting for organs that did not become available in time. Unfortunately, while the majority of people indicate a positive view of organ donation many individuals have not yet registered their consent to donate organs upon their death. The Ad Council will work with the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network (FLDRN) to increase the number of residents enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry, thus increasing the donor pool, ultimately increasing the number of organ donors and the number of organ transplants performed, and reducing the waiting time for those in need.
Improving attendance is a critical first step toward boosting student achievement in Rochester, which has the lowest-performing school district in New York State. Average daily attendance is 89 percent, compared to a District goal of 93 percent, and about 20 percent of students are chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism—defined as more than 18 absences out of 180 school days—is directly linked to educational failure. Simply put, students can’t learn if they aren’t in school. There is a direct correlation between high absenteeism and poor performance in every measure of student achievement—including test scores, grade point average, and graduation rates.
Truancy costs the community in other ways. It is a leading indicator for juvenile crime and other risky teen behavior. Adults who were chronically truant as children have been shown to have lower paying jobs, more reliance on welfare support, and increased likelihood of living in poverty, poorer health, and increased likelihood of incarceration. Grass-roots efforts in place include door-to-door monthly outreach to families from the four pilot schools with the lowest-attendance, however school district officials recognize that this is not a long-term solution because it is reactive in nature versus being proactive about addressing the issue.
The Rochester area is one of 31 Great Lakes communities identified as needing increased protection efforts to ensure future water quality. Unfortunately, historical and current pollution problems continue to impair the quality of this precious resource. In fact, Ontario Beach in Monroe County was sited in 2012 by the Natural Resources Defense Council as the only “repeat offender beach” in New York state (for frequent closings due to high bacteria count). The Water Education Collaborative (WEC) turned to the Ad Council to help increase awareness and understanding regarding water quality and how individuals can make a difference. Since non-point source pollution principally comes from stormwater run-off, and is affected by people’s daily activities, the WEC’s overarching mission is to address this problem by promoting water quality education in the community. The “H2O Hero” campaign launched in May 2007, and has seen success in the form of hundreds of additional volunteers and education delivered at the award-winning www.h2ohero.org, rain barrel education.