Raising awareness of United Way 2-1-1

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2 1 1 Leadership SM

The Leadership Fox Cities group poses with the winning team that created a public service announcement for United Way 2-1-1

Contributor: Ken Vogel, Dignity Revolution Development Coordinator at Life Promotions

“What can we do for a community that has provided so much for us?” That was the question posed to a room of forty local community leaders who had been selected to be part of the Leadership Fox Cities class of 2018-19. Our class had the chance to spend nine months getting to know intricacies about our community that we were unaware of or, quite simply, took for granted.

Our class was broken into small groups of individuals from all walks of life to complete a project. The parameters of the project were to give back in a sustainable way, addressing a challenge or opportunity in the Fox Cities our group felt was worthwhile. Topics came up such as homelessness, mental health awareness, care for veterans, economic development, and nonprofit awareness. How could we intertwine our personal passions with a worthwhile endeavor to ensure a lasting impact from our group? Thankfully a suggestion from fellow group member and United Way's own Andrew Konkel set us on our course for lasting impact for the Fox Cities. 

We learned of United Way’s 2-1-1, which provides free, confidential, 24/7 access to information on available resources and serves as a hub for community information in times of disaster. 2-1-1 gave us the avenue to impact our community across the board on each and every suggestion our group had. Only two of our members knew what 2-1-1 was, which was all the proof we needed that we would move forward with the idea to get the word out about this amazing resource. 

Children are the future for which the bedrock of the Fox Cities is laid. The present, however, continues to be a more difficult road to navigate. Suicide, depression, and anxiety are up across the board for kids across the nation with no letup in sight. With this in mind, we focused on kids. We centered on how we can impact and influence the future Fox Cities Leadership members of tomorrow. 

We partnered with Willems Student Marketing group, comprising local high school students from Appleton East, West, and North High Schools. This gave us a broader audience and impact across Fox Cities’ schools. The project we laid before them was to develop a 30-second PSA for United Way’s 2-1-1. Appeal to your fellow classmates that 2-1-1 is a resource they can turn to. These students had a far better understanding of what their peers come face to face with each and every day.

Our group worked with the class over the course of several months, educating them about 2-1-1, as well as technical aspects of putting together a PSA and storyboarding. With these goals, they got to work. Months of work to be exact. We continued to work with the groups to check on progress, offering feedback, and encouragement. The class created five PSA’s that were then narrowed down to two finalists and shared via social media. The winning video was selected and premiered on WBAY-TV2 on the 5 o'clock news and also slotted into their regular rotation to be shown for the next year. The winning students were also given $100 gift cards to Amazon, sponsored by Wipfli and Miller Electric Mfg. Co.

Our group plans on continuing to work with local high schools to ensure awareness of 2-1-1 grows. Our work will continue to benefit kids for years to come, thanks to the hard work of local high school kids who set out to make a difference for their fellow classmates.