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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:

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!

Social Media and Non-Profit Organizations

by Austin Malcolm, University of Texas Tower PR

To go into more detail about yesterday’s post on the importance of social media for Theater Action Project, today’s post will broaden the spectrum to the impact social media has over of all non-profit organizations. One of the strongest goals aimed for by non-profits is to achieve a great direct connection with its supporters and this is easily achieved through free and time-saving social media. While Facebook allows a non-profit to constantly react to a strong feed of information and questions from its supporters, Twitter allows the opposite by providing a constant stream of what the organization is doing. This was most recently demonstrated with Texas Tower PR Account Executive, Emily Watkins providing Theater Action Project followers with live twitter updates and chat during Big Hair Country Fair.

It’s a fun and informal way to connect with the ones who fuel the organization and as well as gain the attention of new supporters. With enough enthusiasm behind your social media posts, a large growth in followers can occur exponentially just by having one follower’s support show up for all of their friends to see.

In today’s world, social media is becoming crucial for all organizations and a must have for non-profits. Staying up to date with all social media platforms allows the organization to stay up to date with its supporters and the rest of the world.

A Good Time at the Big Hair Country Fair

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

Tamara and Kevin Hurwitz

A big thank you to all to came to support Theatre Action Project’s Big Hair Country Fair on Saturday night. We hope you had a great time getting your hair done, playing carnival games, and dancing to the music of Oliver Rajamani and Hotclub of Cowtown

Here are a few intimate head-shots, more on our Flickr page, and many more photos to come. Many thanks to our fabulous photographer Carol Acurso. And, thanks too to Emily Watkins and Sharon Chin from Texas Tower PR.

Thank you for supporting Theatre Action Project!

Photos by Carol Acurso.


Cathy & Rodney Nairn

Gail & Jeff Kodosky

Alicia Kriese and Doug Johnson & Eric and Laura Buehler

Rebecca Yerly, Izabella Villers-Milton & Jon Hockenyos

For more photos, click here, or visit Theatre Action Project on Flickr!

My Simple Valentine

by Sharon Chin Li Ping, University of Texas Tower PR

How’s everyone recovering from the candy binge from Valentine’s Day? I am definitely still on a sugar high. My valentine’s day started with an 8 a.m. class, followed by a test and work for the rest of the day. The office was decorated with paper hearts, flowers and candy on everyone’s table. It seems like we were still stuck with the elementary school Valentine’s Day ritual of exchanging candy and cards with sweet messages to everyone in the office.

I was pretty resourceful with my card decorating this year. I used all the colored pens I could find in the office supplies box, and even used a sponge as stamps on the card – it is all about the texture you see. While I didn’t have anyone particular in mind while decorating my card (it was simply a mindless decoration for the office desk,) I thought about things and people I love. Valentine’s Day is not a commercial holiday you spend with your beau, but a celebration of love.

Though it was a simple day of card decorating and candy eating, this valentine’s day, I celebrated my love for everything I am thankful for; the company I have not only today, but in times of need and thankful for one of the things I hold closest to my heart – the love for the arts. If not for my love and passion for the arts, I would not be who I am today. If not for the love and great appreciation of the arts, we will not be able to see the impact it has made on countless of people today.

“Love is like art, (it) brings us happiness, great moments, inspiration and many things you can imagine…” – Javier ZhX

Cupcake-A-Doodle-Do! A Huge Success!

by Sharon Chin, Texas Tower PR

Nine competing bakeries, 27 cupcake flavors, a panel of judges and a load of hungry audiences to satisfy… We had a blast at this year’s Cupcake-A-Doodle-Do! Theatre Action Project would like to thank everyone who participated in the event and making this fall fundraiser a success. Read the rest of this entry