How to initiate public awareness
August 29, 2007 7:12 PM   Subscribe

How to mount a public awareness campaign?

I'm not a celebrity, not associated with any groups or organizations or companies that would have anything to do with what I'm interested in, and I don't know where to begin. I just want to help educate people in my city about a certain issue I feel is cropping up a lot. I can't be too specific yet because I don't know, myself, exactly what I'm doing. But it's something like this:

I see people with their babies walking around in the hot sun, and the kids look hot and the sun is in their eyes, and the parents are just oblivious. I'd like to get people to start being more aware of the dangers of their kids getting overheated in summer. I've thought of setting up baby stations in downtown streets...I'd provide baby umbrellas, bottled water, little hats, whatever. I've also considered going to the city council and the water bureau and trying to come up with a way to provide the water free from fountains specifically for kids--shorter ones, you know.

Recently our city installed a whole bunch of benches around the inner metro area, in an attempt to get people to sit down instead of sprawling all over the curbs and sidewalks. But that was initiated by our mayor, who already has power to get things done. What could a citizen do along the same lines, with a different but similar initiative?

Hope that's vague enough for you. Any ideas would be welcome...
posted by frosty_hut to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Writing Letters to the Editor is a good method of raising awareness and discussion.

How about keeping a simple website about the dangers of overheating in children? Doesn't have to be elaborate. Then maybe post up posters and stickers about your issue, with the address to your website if people need more information.

Can the city council/your mayor help you out in any way?
posted by divabat at 8:41 PM on August 29, 2007

Ooh! Hmmm. I think what I would do, instead of initially going for some kind of public campaign, would be to contact groups and places that attract a lot of moms, and help word-of-mouth along a little. Off the top, I'm thinking any kind of baby gym place, churches that have playgroups, maybe daycares? What about doctors? You could maybe put together a little mailer?

Of course there's the pitching of your story to local news, and this is a cute story with a great hook! (Babies in hats!) But depending on your climate, the season for it may be almost over for the year, so perhaps the "off-season" could be spent generating grass-roots awareness, and then launching to the media and setting up baby stations ("This Healthy In The Heat baby station sponsored by Gymboree!") as the weather heats up.

I don't know if you're a parent yourself, but if you are, and/or you know a few, I would start asking around among parents you know for more ideas as to who you might want to approach, and you may even find other moms and dads who'd like to get involved in your fledgling campaign.

Good luck! I like your idea.

(Um, if the babies-in-the-heat thing was just a placeholder, please forgive my perhaps overly specific suggestions.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:50 PM on August 29, 2007

I am a radio producer with a lot of contacts. This is very worthwhile and for the common good. My e-mail is in my profile.
posted by parmanparman at 10:08 PM on August 29, 2007

Rather than a letter-to-the-editor, write an op-ed. Here's how. Ditto talking it up with city council members. You could also contact the city's public health commission and see if they want to help.
posted by alms at 10:30 PM on August 29, 2007

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