SUNY announces community partners

SUNY Fredonia’s Community Partners Program announced its chosen organizations for its public relations assistance partnership with students Thursday afternoon in the Williams Center on campus.

The Community Partners Program is a project of the public relations major capstone course which is offered each spring in public relations campaigns. The course is offered to seniors in the major to give hands-on experience developing comprehensive public relations plans designed to benefit one or more nonprofit, community-based organizations. During the semester, student groups work to develop strategic public relations plans for the chosen organizations. At the semester’s end, the student groups pitch their plans to the organization for implementation.

The non-profit organizations selected this year to partner with the school and students are the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity, and the Chautauqua Blind Association’s Vision Rehabilitation Services, a United Way affiliate.

“In genuine partnerships, each partner benefits from the relationship, and that’s clearly what this program has been since its inception in 2001,” President Virginia Horvath told the audience.

“Organizations benefit from the public relations assistance that students provide, and students have the opportunity to bring theory to actual practice, deepening their knowledge and better preparing them for work in the field. I’m proud of this program that exemplifies community engagement as a valuable part of learning and citizenship,” Horvath said.

The Community Partners Program has assisted 19 nonprofit organizations since it began in 2001 and is currently overseen by Ann Carden, associate professor of communication.

In a press release, the project organizers said, “All three of the organizations selected strive to assist and improve the Chautauqua County community.”

Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity has been locally operating and building homes since 1989. “The nonprofit addresses the issues of poverty housing by helping low-income families obtain an affordable home to live in,” the press release stated.

CBA Vision Rehabilitation Services has been providing assistance to blind and visually impaired individuals in the community since 1921 as part of the United Way. The organization provides implements to assist quality of life issues for the blind.

According to the Child Advocacy Program’s website, the Stewards of Children Workshop “raises awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse.”

Those involved in the program praised the organization. “CAP of Chautauqua County has provided victims of child abuse a safe place to tell their story for nearly 20 years. Its goal is to put an end to physical and sexual child abuse in Chautauqua County. The program strives to educate individuals in the area, change behaviors, and bring justice to child victims and their families,” the release stated.

For more information on this year’s Community Partners Program, contact Ann Carden, associate professor of communication, at 716-673-3822 or ann.carden@fredonia.edu, or visit www.fredonia.edu/department/communication/cpp.asp for details.

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