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Happy Thanksgiving

by Alyssa Ely, Texas Tower PR

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and people are starting to count their blessings. Texas Tower PR is thankful for many things this season, one of them being our great client Creative Action. Over the past few years, we have helped them with fundraising events, social media reach and everything in between. Lucky for us, this semester wasn’t any different.

Starting early in the fall, we had the privilege of helping with the event I Spy Pie! Our team worked on everything from writing blogs and creating PSA’s to making pie hats. We had a blast watching I Spy Pie! come to life and even more fun volunteering  at the event. We are so glad that the fundraiser was such a huge success and are already looking forward to next year.

Later in the semester our team had the chance to spend an evening with some of the students in Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble. It was great to get to see the program and its positive effects first-hand. While there, we played a series of games with the students and answered a few questions, all geared towards the topic of the day: knowing your limit in relationships. We were all surprised by how welcoming the students were and how much we enjoyed ourselves while we were there.

We are grateful for all of our experiences working with Creative Action. Yet, we are most thankful for a program that helps to educate kids about critical issues while giving them a healthy outlet for them to express themselves. We have had another fabulous semester with Creative Action and can’t wait for many more to come.  Happy Thanksgiving!

About Texas Tower PR
Texas Tower Public Relations is The University of Texas at Austin’s PRSSA nationally affiliated student-run public relations firm. The goal of Texas Tower Public Relations is to provide students with hands-on experience in the field of public relations and Austin-area nonprofits with quality public relations assistance.

Texas Tower’s Inspiring Moment with Changing Lives Program

by Alexandria Vandiver, Texas Tower PR

Last week Texas Tower PR had the privilege of attending one of Creative Action’s many programs, Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble (CLYTE). The ensemble works with about 15 students from all over Austin, ages 14-20. creating and present acting selections that address social problems like dating violence, bullying and homophobia to various elementary schools around the city.

The night began with the group coming together, answering a thought-provoking question that tied in to the topic for the session. This icebreaker was great with getting everyone comfortable and focused for the night. We participated in activities that focused on breaking and setting boundaries and bonding. It was easy to see the members of Changing Lives seeking to become tight-knit and really enjoying their experience. The group worked on acting exercises, preparing for presentations.

My favorite part of the night was watching the members do warm up acting exercises which let their personalities and passion shine through. We would definitely love to see more programs like these implemented around Austin like this one that addresses critical questions and issues  teenagers and young adults commonly face. It provides the right tools and resources to help them get through similar situations and aid them in making the right decisions.

We saw and experienced first-hand what a difference it can make. It was a memorable and fun experience to be able to participate in a Creative Action program, a big thanks to all the members of Changing Lives and their director Nitra Gutierrez.

Drawing on their life experiences and what they learn from partner SafePlace’s counselors, Changing Lives youth work with Creative Action Teaching Artists year-round to create, perform, and tour an original, educational show throughout Central Texas.

After participating in Changing Lives, 100% of ensemble members reported that they felt confident sharing ideas and opinions in front of a group; that they cared how their actions affected others; that they could stop hurtful teasing when they saw it; that they could talk to other students about taking a stand against sexual harassment and dating abuse; and that they could respond to others when they are asked for help.

What do you think about our Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble? To learn more about them, contact Nitra Guiterrez, Middle and High School Artistic Associate: nitra@creativeaction.org.

I Spy Pie! Our Wonderful Experience and Event Recap

by Alyssa Ely, Texas Tower PR

This past weekend was Creative Action’s huge fall event I Spy Pie! located at Central Market. The weather was perfect for the family-fun activities offered such as crafts, games, face painting, live music, and of course, pie tasting!

The festivities kicked off at noon including a wonderful performance by the Emmy Award winning duo The Biscuit Brother’s, who did a great job getting the children up off their feet singing and dancing along to the music. One of my favorite parts of the performance was when they had a song about watermelons and needed a participant to count to ten in a language other than English. An adorable little girl stood up, took the microphone and started counting in Arabic and Chinese. It was very impressive.

By 12: 30 p.m., people were lining up to get their tickets to taste the wonderful pies that were offered by Central Market Bakery, Central Market Cooking School, Madison Street Desserts, Tiny Pies and Texas Pie Kitchen. Many UT student organizations, including Tower PR, were there to volunteer at the craft and pie tasting booths.

The two awards up for grabs were Judges Favorite and the People’s Choice. After everyone tasted the contestant’s pies, they were able to cast their vote for which they thought had the tastiest pies. Our three celebrity pie tasting judges Jim Swift, Nina Seely and John Bullington, Executive Chef had a really hard time awarding their favorite pie. They were all so delicious!

The enthusiasm at the event was lively and appetites for pie were at an ultimate high. As the pies underneath the tasting tent began to dwindle down to only crumbs, the awards were announced. Tiny Pies won the People’s Choice award for their delicious Bourbon Buttermilk Chess pie and Madison Street Desserts took home the Judges Favorite award for their Meyer Lemon Meringue pie (which was my personal favorite too!)

It was an amazing day for everyone and how could it get better when we get to taste the best pies in town! A huge thanks to Central Market and all of the bakeries involved for their support towards a great cause!

My Weekend as an Austin Kiddie Limits Volunteer

by Austin Malcolm, Texas Tower PR

This past weekend was the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL), one of the biggest music festivals in the nation in Zilker Park. Every year, an area of the park is sectioned off for Austin Kiddie Limits (AKL), a kid-friendly environment that includes a stage for bands like School of Rock and Rocknoceros and tents/tables set up by many children orientated organizations. This year, Creative Action (partnered with H-E-B) hosted the Alter Ego Factory, a magical machine that allows kids to meet a variety of fantastical characters that will help them discover their inner Alter Ego. The factory was a hit and at one point had a line stretching across the AKL grounds.

As a volunteer, I can say that I had just as much fun participating in the factory as I did at any of the concerts at ACL.

Friday morning, after making it through the crazy sequence of buses and shuttles to reach Zilker Park and across the vast fields of people, I finally found myself at the Austin Kiddie Limits. Dressed up as the “Cool Blue Beach-Lover” I was overwhelmed with what my eyes saw. The simple white tent provided for the event was turned into this wonderful headquarters decked out with beeping gizmos and blinking doo-hickies, something only a mad scientist could dream up.

All of us volunteers were dressed up in some of our best costumes and ready to unleash everyone’s alter egos:

  • Kids were rushing in with their alter ego name cards ready to design the look of their alter ego, which was described as “adjective, adverb, noun.” For example, “Beautiful jumping princess.”
  • After they created their alter ego, they got their face painted and then finally receive the much-desired piece of costume their alter ego needed, whether it was a cape for the super heroes or lots of fur for the pop star divas.

As with everyone who’s ever worked with children before, its a lot of hard work, especially when there’s close to 100 of them; but in the end, it was definitely worth it to know that the kids who attended ACL/AKL were leaving with crafting experience, knowledge of some new vocabulary, and of course, a smile on their face (as well as some painted shapes.) We’re ready to come back next year for more creative fun!

Excited for Pie

 by Linda Huang, Texas Tower PR

As you all may know, the Creative Action annual fall fundraiser at Central Market North is coming up in a couple weeks. We here at Texas Tower PR are extremely excited for this year’s theme: I Spy Pie! There will be 5 local competing bakeries, 2 bands, and celebrity judges. We can’t wait to get involved with volunteering for the event, making fun pie hats, and of course, eating lots and lots of pie. Who could ever pass up such a fun event that benefits a wonderful nonprofit? Not us!

Texas Tower PR is currently hard at work producing a PSA that will play on multiple stations to promote this event. Be sure to tune in and keep an ear out for our beautiful voices over your stereo! Also, be sure to look out for us on both Twitter and Facebook because we will be creating lots of buzz about I Spy Pie! The pie fun has begun!

PS: My absolute FAVORITE pie is hands down…pumpkin pie! My mouth is practically watering as I type this because I am imagining myself biting into the warm, rich but fluffy texture and flaky crust, yum! For me, pumpkin pie is a great way to welcome the changing leaves of autumn and cooler weather. It also reminds me that sometimes I just need to sit back and relax with a slice of pie and a warm soy latte.

Join us at I Spy Pie! on Saturday, October 20th at Central Market North. 12 – 3 p.m.
Family fun, arts and crafts and pie for families of all ages!

Want to volunteer? Sign up here for 1 or 2 (or both) shifts:  I Spy Pie! Volunteer Sign Up.

Teaming Up for the New School Year

by Sharon Chin, Texas Tower PR

Hi there! It has been a while since a Tower member wrote a post for Creative Action. In case you forgot, I am Sharon from Texas Tower PR, a student-run PR agency at The University of Texas. Creative Action is actually the oldest client that Tower has! Along with Linda, we are the account executives for this account and we help with all media related projects. It’s great to be back!

As we welcome the change in weather, we are finally getting into the momentum of things as the fall semester begins. After a meeting with Mary Alice Carnes and Erik Weasenforth from Creative Action’s marketing team last week, we can’t wait to get started with the exciting line up of their events. I wanted to fill everyone in on a couple of projects we have in mind. (At Tower, we are still getting used to the name change, but we absolutely love it!)

Before I start talking about our involvement with Creative Action, I would like to introduce our new recruit into the account, Aly Kasberg. You may also like to read more about Tower and our new members here.

To start off, one of our bigger projects this semester will be setting up a press page for the new website. We are currently doing some research and putting together a few options for the page. We are always looking for media attention, so why not make the organization accessible and appealing by laying out the right information? We strive to do just that and we want the media to love us!

Another event that we look forward to is the fall fundraiser, I Spy Pie! Who doesn’t look forward to pie? It’s the perfect fall treat. We aim to secure multiple press coverage for the event as well as record a PSA to be aired on local radio stations. I had lots of fun at audio editing last year and would love to give it another try.

Lastly, everyone in the Creative Action account is excited to be attending the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble next month. Getting first hand experience at such programs is vital to us. It is important to learn more about the organization from within, and it will be a great introduction to the newer members.

It will be a busy semester with Tower, but we look forward to it! We will also be attending the open house on October 4, and we hope to see everyone there.

UPDATE: Theatre Action Project is now Creative Action. Read more about our name change.

A Fruitful year with TAP

by Sharon Chin, Texas Tower PR

Wow, yet another school year has gone by this quickly. Is everyone ready for the summer? We, at Texas Tower PR sure are! But before we wrap things up for the holidays, we would like to recap on the highlights and wonderful experiences we shared with Theatre Action Project this past year.

We have been involved with both fall 2011 and spring 2012 fundraisers, and it gave us a great opportunity to learn more about interacting with the media and especially pitching a story to various outlets. This spring, we are recruiting two new associates for the account, and through working with a nonprofit, they have learned the importance of gaining earned media, which is an essential skill any PR practitioner should have. We were also in charge of the live tweeting at the events, where we tweeted updates to other nonprofits and journalists. Keeping social media outlets active is important as it engages and interacts with our audience at a personal level, as Austin taught us in a previous post.

TAP has expressed their utmost appreciation for Tower at the Open House for its volunteers where we not only enjoyed ourselves, but were showered with prizes. It reminded us of the warm hospitality of the organization and we are motivated to continue providing the best service we can to TAP.

Apart from all the fun, we are absolutely grateful to have TAP as one of our oldest clients, and providing priceless experiences through the different generations of Tower. We are absolutely inspired by the work they have done in the community and cannot wait for the new school year to start with more partnerships.

And lastly, we sadly say goodbye to Emily (who will be moving on as director of Tower,) but we are thrilled to introduce Linda as the new account executive, and you will be hearing more from her this fall.

We wish everyone at TAP a wonderful summer and can’t wait to hear the wonderful stories at summer camp. We will see everyone back in the fall!