MK 354 Spring 2010

April 14, 2010

U turn.

Filed under: blog #10 — cathleendbombard @ 12:41 pm

I am sitting at my aunt’s old computer by the wood stove in New Hampshire trying to write my blog post. My head is twirling with anxiety and I feel as though I could puke. Yep, I’m going to go right out and say it: I got arrested and I have a court date tomorrow morning. Before you get all excited and think I did something epic, I have to let you know that it wasn’t an epic arrest at all. There wasn’t a police chase and it wasn’t a hit and run. I made the unfortunate decision to go on a U turn on the highway.

Tomorrow I will face the judge and to try to explain why the charge should be lifted from my record.  By my side will be my parents and my aunt. I don’t think I would be able to walk in alone without a support system and people to advocate for me.
I took a break from writing and looked up at my mom who was anxiously biting her nails. It was at that moment I knew how scared she was for me. I then said, “Hey Mom, you look a bit nervous.” She smiled at me and said, “Of course I am not nervous.” I knew it was a lie, but I smiled back and continued writing. I know my mother was nervous because she wanted the best for me. I will never feel alone as long as I have my mother in my life.
Being alone can be a scary place to be. So many young people do not have someone to advocate and care for them. That is why I have so much respect for Partners for Youth with Disabilities. The organization makes sure that youth and young people with disabilities not only are advocated for, but that they never feel alone. PYD has a program called, “Mentor Match.” This program has a tremendous impact on thousands of youth with disabilities by connecting youth to adult role models in meaningful one-to-one mentoring relationships. A member at PYD is always there for support and guidance, which is one reason why the organization is so special.

Walking into the court house tomorrow I will think of all the youth and young people who go through a lot scarier times in their lives and I will be strong like they are.

U turn.

Filed under: blog #10 — cathleendbombard @ 12:39 pm

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I am sitting at my aunt’s old computer by the wood stove in New Hampshire trying to write my blog post. My head is twirling with anxiety and I feel as though I could puke. Yep, I’m going to go right out and say it: I got arrested and I have a court date tomorrow morning. Before you get all excited and think I did something epic, I have to let you know that it wasn’t an epic arrest at all. There wasn’t a police chase and it wasn’t a hit and run. I made the unfortunate decision to go on a U turn on the highway.

Tomorrow I will face the judge and to try to explain why the charge should be lifted from my record.  By my side will be my parents and my aunt. I don’t think I would be able to walk in alone without a support system and people to advocate for me.

I took a break from writing and looked up at my mom who was anxiously biting her nails. It was at that moment I knew how scared she was for me. I then said, “Hey Mom, you look a bit nervous.” She smiled at me and said, “Of course I am not nervous.” I knew it was a lie, but I smiled back and continued writing. I know my mother was nervous because she wanted the best for me. I will never feel alone as long as I have my mother in my life.

Being alone can be a scary place to be. So many young people do not have someone to advocate and care for them. That is why I have so much respect for Partners for Youth with Disabilities. The organization makes sure that youth and young people with disabilities not only are advocated for, but that they never feel alone. PYD has a program called, “Mentor Match.” This program has a tremendous impact on thousands of youth with disabilities by connecting youth to adult role models in meaningful one-to-one mentoring relationships. A member at PYD is always there for support and guidance, which is one reason why the organization is so special.

Walking into the court house tomorrow I will think of all the youth and young people who go through a lot scarier times in their lives and I will be strong like they are.

April 5, 2010

Easter.

Filed under: blog #8 — cathleendbombard @ 12:21 pm

For the Easter holiday, I spent the weekend in Vermont at my parents’, who threw a party and invited 40 of our closest friends and family. There was a lot of fun to be had! At one point, I sat on my front porch with my family, and we tried to think of a name for my cousin’s baby, which is due this summer.  Someone yelled out, “It doesn’t matter what the name is, as long as the child is healthy!”

I looked up and thought about all the faces looking back at me. I come from a pretty traditional family. When I say traditional, I mean pretty close lipped.  If there is an affair, it isn’t talked about. If an uncle had too much to drink at Christmas, we are told he is “under the weather.”  If our grandmother is on her deathbed, she is “far from well.” If a cousin gets arrested, it definitely, definitely isn’t talked about.  

It was in that moment that I thought about all the youth and young people with disabilities at Partners for Youth with Disabilities. I felt grateful that they are able to participate in all that PYD has to offer. I wondered what their lives would be like if they weren’t offered such programs and weren’t told that they could “Help make it happen,” which is PYD’s motto. I wondered what it would be like if my cousin’s baby was born with a disability. Would my family ignore it, as they do most delicate issues, or would they be able to change?

All of these thoughts happened in a matter of seconds, but then I looked at the faces of my family and knew I could speak for them. I smiled and said, “No matter what the baby’s name is, he or she will be embraced in this family!”

March 29, 2010

“people-first language”

Filed under: blog #7 — cathleendbombard @ 12:53 pm

I took for granted the themed blog topics up until now and for some reason I had no idea where to look for a topic. Naturally, when I need a distraction from school I turn to Facebook. Every time I log in I think, “I should really delete this. If I didn’t have Facebook I would get so much more work done.” My account always prevails through my threats, and sometimes it actually comes in handy.  

I was going through my many messages when I stumbled upon one from my aunt. The message said, “People need to understand that children with special needs don’t have an illness, they are not looking for a cure only acceptance. 93% of you probably won’t copy and paste this will you be in the 7% that will and leave it on your status for at least an hour. National Special Education week March 22nd to the 26th.”

Normally, I would have ignored the message, like I do with most mass messages. However, this time the wording caught my eye. Although it was a message promoting non-discriminatory acceptance for “children with special needs” by the National Special Education Week, the message was not using “people-first language.”

“People-first language” is a form of non-discriminatory writing about people with disabilities. Because of my work with Partners for Youth with Disabilities I am aware of “people-first language” and its importance. Using “people-first language” is not only a sign of respect, but it is also the offical way of writing in regards to people with disabilities. I find it interesting that not only do organizations not use “people-first language,” but that it is also not a commonly acknowledged way of writing.

I decided to write back to my aunt regarding “people-first language,” PYD and what I have learned while working with the organization. She re-sent the message, with an additional message regarding “people-first language” and the link to PYD. It is not always easy to correct people or to speak your mind, but when you do it in the name of something greater, it sure does feel good.

March 1, 2010

“In the Arms of an Angel”

Filed under: blog #5 — cathleendbombard @ 1:02 pm

“You’re in the arms of an angel; may you find some comfort here,” is the tune my friend immediately hummed when we were talking about the current ASPCA television commercial. She isn’t the only one. Most people think of Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” song we have all come to know and the images of beaten and abused animals when referring to the ASPCA.

“In the Arms of an Angel” is an emotional song, written in a slow and solemn tone. Its lyrics refer to death and loneliness.  This song mixed with images of abused animals allows for the audience to relate on an emotional level, as death and loneliness are also part of being human.

The message of the ASPCA commercials hits viewers emotionally, not only because of the somber song, but also because of the images: fluffy cats and big-eared puppies with severe injuries.

The audience is able to visually see the animals and their injuries, being able to visualize the animals instead of hearing statistics. They become aware of the reality of animal abuse in the United States and believe that people should create change.  “Made to Stick,” chapter five, states that beliefs are not enough. For people to take action, they have to care.  The song coupled with the photos gives the audience reasons to care. Because the audience cares, they will be more likely remember the commercial and take action.

For more information or to donate, please visit the ASPCA Web site: http://www.aspca.org/

February 22, 2010

Windows 7 Was My Idea

Filed under: blog #4 — cathleendbombard @ 12:44 pm

On Friday, my day off I spend the day doing laundry, homework or cleaning my house. It’s also the day I remember to water my poor plants, which are usually on the verge of dying from dehydration.  However, last Friday I spent the entire morning waiting for Comcast to show up and set up my cable.  Normally, I would be pretty upset waiting for the cable guy. But, the thought of having cable secretly thrilled me. Usually I have to ask my neighbor if I can watch “Greys Anatomy” with her and she talks through the entire show.

To my surprise, my phone rang at noon and Comcast arrived as promised. It took the young man about twenty minutes to set my system up and to his probable dismay, fifteen more to teach me how to turn the darn thing on! At last I was alone with my new cable. I scanned through my two hundred new stations and of course, nothing was on! Before turning off the television to water my neglected plants I saw the perfect ad for “Made to Stick” blog number 4. There it was in the form of a Microsoft Corp. Windows 7 commercial.

The Windows 7’s ad campaign is called, “I’m a PC and Windows 7 Was My Idea.” Each commercial shows real people telling their stories on how their feedback was heard by Microsoft Corp. As a result, they truly believe Windows 7, Microsoft’s new operating system was their idea. Consumers want to believe that a company is going to listen to them. People watching this commercial are able to relate and fee valued- I sure did.

The reading in “Made to Stick,” suggests that the key to a successful ad campaign is creditability. Windows uses its consumers, rater than its President as authority figures to establish trust. Costumers of the product feel like they have access to both the product and the company. This is particularly important with a computer product as most consumers often feel like they have no voice in either product development or how the system works. In this case, Microsoft Corp. lets potential customers know that their voices will be heard.

Any given company can say they listen, but by bringing their statistics to life in a campaign it lends Windows credibility. By using real people in their ads, being honest and forward it allows Windows customers to trust the message of everyday people and therefore Microsoft Corp.

February 16, 2010

the odds say it’s time to listen: autismspeaks.org

Filed under: blog #3 — cathleendbombard @ 12:53 pm

This public service announcement sets the scene by showing a home video of a young child singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in her living room. Her mother is sitting on the couch, coaching and singing along, for what I believe the family hopes will air on her MTV’s Behind the Music episode when she is a Broadway star.

The commercial stops, the video freezes and an announcement is made that: “1 out of 11,000 children will make it to Broadway, while 1 out of 166 will develop autism.” This is emphasized by the statistic simultaneously shown on the screen.

The message of this video is strengthened by being completely concrete. It shows that a child’s dream of being on Broadway can be highly overshadowed by the odds of developing autism. These PSA segments are concrete, because they not only show sensitive videos, but also add factual probability that children are more likely to develop autism than to become a professional baseball player, concert pianist or Broadway actor. These appalling odds make the idea of the epidemic of autism a reality, as the odds coming from the PSA are credible and clear. The audience is not only able to visualize the child, which adds a sense of sympathy, they are able to relate, due to humans’ innate sensitivity to the development of their youth.

According to the Autism Speaks website, autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States, which is a concrete fact. The concrete statistics of these PSAs detail that your dreams for your own children and the children of the future can be negated. These commercials are clear and the mission does not go awry. Because these odds are so shocking and concrete they make the difference in allowing everyone in the audience to retrieve the same message and meaning, and helps to achieve Autism Speak’s mission of bringing awareness to the public about the epidemic that is autism.

Please take a minute to visit the Autism Speaks Website:

http://www.autismspeaks.org/press/ad_council_psas_year2.php

February 8, 2010

Trash Conformity.

Filed under: blog #2 — cathleendbombard @ 12:05 pm

Unexpected can be defined in many ways: a flight attendant changing her usual spiel to gain the attention of her passengers, a department store transforming the way shoppers perceive customer service employees, or a death of a loved one that alters ones life forever. Unexpected isn’t easily defined, as it can be many things, such as comical, efficient and it can be horrifying, sometimes all at once. However, unexpected is an important piece in making good communication. Communication that is unexpected breaks the pattern of daily life, thus causing people who normally would be unaware, aware of change.

Unexpected to me is the feeling of walking in the dark with a glass of water in the house you grew up in. The house that you know every creak in the old wooden floor boards, the house that your hands recognize the height of every lamp and panting on the hall wall. This house couldn’t feel anymore familiar, until you miss the last step on the stairs, and the glass of water crashes to the ground. That is the feeling of unexpected, the sensation of a total and utter unforeseen difference. A break in the pattern.

Hummel America Inc., a Danish soccer and streetwear company (I worked for them in 2004) worked hard at grabbing their consumers with unexpected ad campaigns. For one of their ad campaigns Hummel developed a slogan, entitled, “Trash Conformity Write History.” This campaign was designed to show that Hummel was truly very different than the rest of the soccer and streetwear market, which included Adidas, Nike and Puma. Hummel developed different shirts with their slogan in what they believed were catchy and unexpected ways. One shirt was filled with a mix match of letters, which if deciphered would read their slogan. Another shirt had the campaign slogan written out as expected. However, each word and letter was done in a different font or color.

Hummel did a excellence job at distinguishing themselves, not only as the leading soccer brand, but as a edgy and unexpected brand. However, for one campaign I believe they went over the line and ultimately alienated their customers. Along with their “Trash Conformity Write History,” campaign, Hummel added a line of polka dotted soccer gear and streetwear. They called this line: “The h spot.” Not only did the name of the line hold a sexual context, the company added shirts of women in their underwear and polka dotted soccer sox, as well as a glossy catalog for the retail and consumer relations department.

Hummel did a good job making their ideas sticky and they sure did “Trash Conformity.” I’m not so sure about the “Write History” aspect, as Hummel left America a few months following the campaign.

February 1, 2010

ONE

Filed under: blog #1 — cathleendbombard @ 12:08 pm

This weekend while hiding from the cold New England weather, I decided to do some long-overdue laundry. I spent five dollars, and two hours waiting for my laundry and brainstorming for my first blog post. When I thought my hope was lost for the perfect topic, it appeared in my hands in the form of a t-shirt. This shirt was given to me three years prior as a Christmas present from my little brother. It is a little aged, but the font and meaning still rings clear in my mind: “ONE.”

ONE (www.one.org) is a campaign to fight against world poverty. They believe that poverty does not depend on the charity of others; it depends on justice and equality for all, for everyONE. The first time I saw these ads I remember feeling as though I had to do something to be a part of the campaign. It was a short, yet sweet 30-second spot that brought many different voices, races, and ages together as one.

Take a moment to check out the ads for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkf5oVtYCeM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD4jv21GjrM

Not only do the words stay fresh in your mind, as the ads are clear and simple. They are meaningful and to the point. Celebrities and activists alike are filmed in black and white, as not to distract the viewer with their usual designer garb. They don’t use fluffy lingo or try to be deep; they speak the truth. The camera shots are short and defined and there is only one link to their Web site allowing for better contact. The word ONE is made to stick in our minds as the message gets across, with its simple core meaning.

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