Networking Rounds


During Week Eleven I added some videos to the website but the slow Internet speed made the process take a great deal longer. While waiting for the videos to upload I removed some text and logo from the DSC brochure as requested by Jay.

On the next internship day, I began my day by going to the 8 a.m. Chamber 101 meeting where I networked as PR for the Disability Service Center. I found the Chamber 101 meeting to be informational and I saw the Chamber as an opportunity to further promote DSC in the future. After returning to DSC, I met with Ashley of Adventure Autism Travel about the upcoming Golf Tournament. Later I went to a Rotary Club with Jay for further networking. It is becoming more and more apparent just how important networking is for a nonprofit. Afterwards, we went to the NPACE Center and recorded my first CPR Nonprofit Circle with Jay being the first nonprofit guest on the segment (I hope to make this a weekly segment with other NPACE Center partners). Once we completed the segment, we went to the Chamber of Commerce after I mentioned the possibility of getting the NPACE Center involved with the Chamber (Oh, me and my bright ideas). That is a whole different story.

A Little PR Work


Week Nine began with a day off for Columbus Day. Nevertheless, on the one day I did have for my internship I assisted one of the Disability Service Center partners, Adventure Autism Travel, with an event flyer. I was also more than happy to assist her about a problem she was having with another entity about a little PR problem. After assisting Autism Travel I added another picture to the DSC website. We also discussed getting the interview Jay did with iNtoColumbus as well as the ribbon cutting segment from iNtoColumbus for the DSC website. We will see how that goes since I am one the producers and creator of iNtoColumbus.

Straight Forward Public Relations


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During Week Eight, I continued putting together a list of golfing clubs in Georgia and Alabama for the upcoming golfing tournament that is being hosted by Adventure Autism Travel and Disability Service Center. This should be an interesting event especially since I have already offered my services to video the event.

Jay did not like the picture I took of him for the website. Admittedly, it was a bit amusing. However, I happily retook the picture of him then PhotoShopped it before putting it on the website with the other board members. I have taken all of the pictures of the board members, except for one. However, I will eventually get that picture when the board member is available to do so.

On an ‘off day’ Jay requested my presence as the Disability Service Center PR person to accompany him to an interview on WLTZ NBC 38. He was to be a guest of Straight Forward with Gloria Strode. Ms. Strode was a very nice hostess. I did have an opportunity to ‘give’ her the correct name of Disability Service Center before they went on air. As soon as the interview was done, Jay and I went to hear what the Knight Foundation has planned. Strangely, they only request a short paper about the venture planned and then 140 characters. That is interesting indeed.

On another day, I had an opportunity to get more involved in Disability Service Center by assisting with the training of two individuals in learning to use voice to text on a MAC computer. I learned something new about MACs and now know MACs computers are easy to use for the visually impaired.

Public Relations Experience Through DSC


During Week Seven Jay and I met with an individual representing a for profit entity called Access Center. I found the individual to be extremely evasive in answering our questions. Actually, he was attempting to get Jay to write a letter declaring their services were different than what Disability Service Center provides. If he had not been so sketchy with his answers then he may have received such a letter, but he left without the letter.

Once again, I had the opportunity to go to Opelika with a DSC consumer named De Anthony. This time we went to have the ‘skin’ put on his prosthetic leg. I must admit I tend to ask a great deal of curiosity questions to the man who creates the prosthetics.

We also visited one of the local food pantries in order to gather information that can be beneficial to some of the DSC Consumers. It was interesting to see how they put the bags of food together and how people apply for assistance. It is a humbling experience.

Some other public relations experience I had during the week were entering information in the Disability Service Center calendar. I also looked up information regarding the upcoming golf tournament. Jay and I brainstormed on a grant proposal.

More Public Relations


Week Six was not as exciting as the week before, but I was still doing Public Relations work. I worked on the Disability Service Center website. I wrote some thank you cards for the sponsors of the Ribbon-Cutting event on Monday and Wednesday. I also found out that my internship would now be from 9-5 instead of 9-3 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Another public relations opportunity was given to me and I sat in on a meeting between Jay and a local Pharmacy that delivers some medications. This would be beneficial to many DSC consumers who either have difficulty or are unable getting out of their homes to get their needed medications.

Series of Interesting Events

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At the start of Week Five, Jay and I went over the Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting event and discussed what could be improved for future events and what worked best during the event. We agreed the event was a success and hoped the media coverage would benefit Disability Service Center. We discussed putting the media from the Ribbon-Cutting event on the website as soon as we can obtain it. I also brought up the need for a digital media kit for DSC, but that will be something for the future. Nevertheless, I now have access to the website password so I can work on it whenever or wherever necessary.

Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to assist with an interview of Monica Pearson Kaufman for iNtoColumbus and an interview for CPR (Cougar Public Radio). I also had the opportunity to hear her speak in the Master Class (Video Production II). I missed hearing her during the Speaker’s Series. Subsequently, Jay invited me to attend a Rotary Club meeting with him. Dr. Gibson and Dr. McCollough attended as well. Fortunately, I once again had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Kaufman speak. This was also a great opportunity to make use of some networking, which seems to be of great importance when it comes to being a part of a nonprofit.

Ribbon-Cutting Day

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Finally the ribbon-cutting event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce finally happened. I ran over to Ruth Ann’s to pick some food they were sponsoring. Overall, it was an amazing day. It was a great success. Mayor Tomlinson showed up. Some of the Cotton Mouth Hockey players came by. The board of the Disability Service Center was there. A good number of partner nonprofits and local businesses made an appearance as well.  One of the best parts was having several of our consumers there.  There was great food, amazing company, and networking for everyone.

Brandi Phillips and I filmed the entire event. We had the privilege to film beside a couple of the local television stations during the ribbon cutting. We also interviewed Jay O’Neal, Professor Humphrey, and a couple of other people during the event. A video will be made to go on the DSC website.

Intern’s Day Out

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Week Three started with a national holiday. Columbus State University and Disability Service Center were closed for Labor Day. However, on Wednesday, I made up for the lost time caused by Monday’s holiday.

The day began with Jay tasking me to create an 18-inch by 24-inch poster and a ‘universal’ business card for the Disability Service Center. The poster would be used in the DSC. The ‘universal’ business card will be used for interns and for people who wish to promote DSC. I made two different styles of the DSC poster using PhotoShop for Jay to choose from. I made them on my laptop and sent them to him via email. Jay gave me a copy of his own business card and requested that I make something similar without his name on it. After I completed the plain card we further collaborated and I then made it look more like his business card using PhotoShop. In doing this two print items I have discovered that PhotoShop is more useful than I once thought.

Jay and I determined I would gain a better understanding of Disability Service Center if I went on an outside consumer call with him. I will only use the consumer’s first name in this blog. DeAnthony has signed a consent form with DSC as one of the success stories. D lost his leg below the knee after being hit by two cars at the end of last year. I went with Jay and D to a doctor’s appointment which I cannot discuss due to HIPPA. However, I can discuss the other appointment at the Alabama Artificial Limb & Orthopedic Service, Inc. Out of my curiosity, I asked lots of questions and they were all happily answered.

I did learn more about what Jay O’Neal’s job as the director of the Disability Service Center occasionally entails. I will admit I admire him for his selflessness.


Questions of Rebranding

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During Week Two of my internship with Disability Service Center, Jay and I worked on a press release form sent by the Chamber of Commerce for the upcoming Disability Service Center ribbon cutting. This press release later went out to all the local media outlets in the area. While working on the press release I came upon a question I could not positively answer. When did Disability Service Center officially start business? I asked Jay what the date was. He was not sure of the answer either. In a rebranding, how is that question answered?

With these questions in mind, I headed over to Carpenter’s Building and posed the question to Dr. McCollough. We again briefly discussed what it means to rebrand and why. In this rebranding, the new entity must distance itself from the old entity. After this quick refresher, Dr. McCollough and I determined what the date. Problem solved. I also spoke to Dr. McCollough about what Jay should do about the possibility of questions that may pop up about CONTACT in relation to Disability Service Center. It was determined that should wait for now, but if it did come up he would assist in coming up with an answer in the future.

Also, Jay challenged Dr. Gibson to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We were invited to witness her fulfillment of the challenge outside of Carpenter’s Building. Along with Chris Robinson, Jasmine Agyemang, and a GoPro camera I helped film Dr. Gibson fulfilling her part.

Unfortunately, Wednesday turned into a bad day for work because almost everything that had been planned depended on having the Internet. Thanks to a technical difficulty, everyone in the area with a specific provider was out of luck trying to use the Internet for anything. Therefore, on Friday I went to DSC, I dropped off Ribbon Cutting fliers to Elizabeth Hurst at Uptown Columbus, ordered, and retrieved pizza for the DSC Executive Board meeting. I then sat in on the meeting and among the many things discussed we talked over potential plans for the ribbon cutting event. It was an adventurous week and I learned more about the rebranding process.


So Begins the Rebranding

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     In being a Public Relations major I feel a little lucky to be in the middle of a rebranding venture. For those who do not know, CONTACT – A Disability Resource Center is rebranding. A couple of weeks ago the board decided to change its name to Disability Service Center. The reasons for the name change go back to the original nonprofit of CONTACT 211. Damage to the nonprofit’s reputation with donors were caused by past directors. The current director, Jay O’Neal, was trying to overcome that reputation with donors to no avail. The decision was made to rebrand.

This rebranding was a hard decision because the word ‘contact’ is such a perfect word to describe the nonprofit mission as being a resource center for people with disabilities to ‘contact’ when they are looking for resources to assist them. In order to distance itself from the past reputation the nonprofit had to completely drop CONTACT from the name. As seen in the picture above, the new name is Disability Service Center. This name was chosen because it clearly states the nonprofit is for people with disabilities. However, the logo will be kept in place.

A rebranding is a great, but easier, undertaking for a corporation because they have resources to release ad blitzes and spread the word through media outlets. For a nonprofit with limited funding, this becomes a grassroots effort.   This grassroots effort begins with word of mouth and changing the name on everything. Therefore, this first week we have worked on this rebranding effort by with reworking the website. Other tasks in the rebranding effort included brochures and business cards.

A fun part of the rebranding effort was participating in the Beep Ball game under the Disability Service Center name. I had fun and found it interesting trying to hit a beeping ball with a blindfold on. Trying to run towards a beeping base while blindfolded is a different story. It was interestingly scary not knowing where I was running except for what I could hear. It was an experience that, in a sense, opened my eyes to the fun everyone had doing it and something I would like to be a part of in the future. I also met people involved in the Beep Ball game, requested interviews and will set up the interviews fairly soon to help spread the word.

*Note:  Some issues in this and future postings may be limited due to HIPPA regulations.