by Evan Mimms

My alarm went off at 5 a.m., putting me in an immediate “snooze-button now” mode. But in that moment, I recognized the amazing opportunities ahead of me, and waking up was not a problem.This was PRSSA National Assembly and I was ready. I got dressed, suit and all, and embarked on my journey to Seattle, Washington.

I signed up for the day-of-competition with no expectations, but all of the drive in the world. This competition was being judged by Edelman professionals. At around 6 p.m. the previous night, each of the contestants received the client briefing and supplemental information from Treehouse (a non-profit in Washington state). The entire flight I read, reread and highlighted EVERYTHING.

About the Client – Treehouse
“Treehouse is Washington’s leading nonprofit organization addressing the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. The youth Treehouse serves struggle against tremendous odds: backgrounds of abuse and neglect, parental substance abuse, low incomes, and moves from foster home to foster home while in the care of the state.”

Treehouse is all about increasing the graduation rates of foster students. All kids deserve the same opportunities no matter their background. My group had compassion and drive to give our all in creating a communications plan that would reach Treehouse’s intended goals.

We developed a month-long campaign, entitled “Community Roots,” that targeted multiple audiences, culminating in a huge community event bringing together each target. Each “root” was a different week of focus, with the main event bringing everyone involved together to plant a symbolic tree. Our goals included: increasing donations/volunteering by 20%, increasing social media engagement by 30%, and increasing foster parent applications by 5%.

I sat across from my team member, Josie, at the reception dinner as we both doubted ourselves to the point of “oh we definitely didn’t win.” When the Edelman professionals announced our campaign, “Community Roots,” as the winner, Josie and I looked at each other with shock and excitement in our eyes.

PRSSA is all about realizing your full potential. From collaborating with other students to meeting professionals, the opportunities are endless. Joining PRSSA was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself and my future.

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