Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Safe Haven

Today I felt proud to be a future public relations professional. My mentor at my internship is an active member of our community and volunteered her public relations and marketing skills and connections to help the task force for Safe Haven. The committee had a meeting this morning and I was invited by my mentor to tag along.

For those of you who haven't heard about Safe Haven (personally, I hadn't really heard the name before today), it is a piece of legislation that enables parents who are unequipped to raise a newborn child to drop the baby off anonymously at a designated spot in hospitals without prosecution. The goal of the law is to prevent situations in which newborns are placed in danger by other means of abandonment or killed by parents who cannot- or do not want to -raise the child.

The problem is that this legislation is not widely publicized, so many people do not know it is out there. This could prevent the law from effectively saving the lives of unwanted babies. The goal of the task force is to raise awareness about the legislation so that parents who feel they have no other alternative can relinquish their babies into a safe environment where it will be cared for.

As I mentioned, my mentor has volunteered her services to the committee and is committed to helping raise awareness about the law. So far- and on a tight budget- the committee has rented a kiosk in our local mall to raise awareness, placed ads on buses and in schools, aired an interview with a task force member on a local TV news station and created a brief video that is run at an area movie theater along with the previews for showings of movies that are popular for teens.

I was excited when I was asked to help with these initiatives. I was also asked to help reach out to area universities to get them involved in spreading awareness about the law, as the most at-risk age group for reckless abandonment are those who are upper-middle class and college-age.

I feel that this is a great example of a situation in which the field of public relations can truly contribute to a good cause and benefit the community. I am excited- and proud- at the opportunity to work on these projects. This situation has also demonstrated to me that I might have a special interest in health-related public relations. I look forward to contributing to the Lancaster Safe Haven task force and learning more about health-related public relations in the future.

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