2005 PFIG Recipient Kara Kalasky

Career Administrator

Kara Kalasky
McIntire School of Commerce
2006 Graduation Year

Internship: American Red Cross

Notes on the first week

This week I began my internship at the Central Virginia chapter of the American Red Cross. After a day of orienting myself with the employees, the organization, the website, and so on, I began working predominantly with Lonnie Kirby, the director of Financial Development and Public Relations.

So far, we’ve focused on three things: 1) reviewing the national American Red Cross guidelines for public relations, media and advertising, 2) brainstorming ideas to provide information to the community about Red Cross services, and 3) preparing a marketing plan for September’s second annual National Preparedness Month, co-sponsored by the Red Cross and the US Department of Homeland Security. I assisted in laying the groundwork for these items, which I assume will be my focus for the rest of the summer. Regarding the national guidelines, I’m familiar with Red Cross’ decision to switch to its current advertising campaign, along with the recommended ways of communicating it via radio, TV and print. I’m in the process of establishing contacts with Cville Weekly, The Hook, Albemarle Family and SunTrust Bank. At the present time, we have arrangements with Albemarle Family to publish Halloween Safety tips and Holiday Safety tips in the October and December magazines, respectively. Next week I’ll work on posting the schedule for our CPR, First Aid and Babysitting courses on Albemarlekids.com. Furthermore, I created a message and arranged for it to appear on SunTrust’s marquee at the intersection of Route 29 and Rio Rd. over September 17th weekend. The message is in conjunction with September’s National Preparedness month and follows the advertising principles outlined by the National website.

All in all it was a pretty productive week, with lots of creating and brainstorming, and a few plans coming to fruition. I look forward to watching the rest of the ideas develop in the coming weeks.

Midway

The previous weeks’ events focused mainly around distributing the new parent brochures, following up on the partnership with Albemarle Family, and establishing a partnership with Madison House, a volunteer organization at UVA. For a period of time, a busy tropical storm and hurricane season interrupted these activities. Consequently, we redirected our efforts towards educating the public with safety information. Once again, I worked mostly with Lonnie Kirby, but also worked a bit with Robin Braswell, the director of Marketing in Health and Safety.

After speaking with a representative at Albemarle Family, I worked on some more ways to utilize its publications as a means to reach out to the community. I brainstormed some ideas after researching Albemarlekids.com and finalized the information for its online calendar. The calendar includes an ongoing announcement of our Infant/Child and Adult CPR classes, as well as First Aid courses and August’s Ultimate Babysitter’s Training Camp.

Some days were devoted to contacting pediatric offices and hospitals in order to distribute new parent brochures. (The brochures contain information regarding Infant/Child CPR and Water Safety tips, and encourage parents to enroll their children in Learn-to-swim courses.) In the end, five pediatric offices around the Charlottesville area and Martha Jefferson’s Outpatient Care Center all agreed to assist with distribution to patients.

The majority of my time has been focused on establishing a partnership with Madison House. Lonnie and I developed a program model that utilizes American Red Cross’ Blended Learning, which is a combination of online training and in-person testing. To sum it up, the Red Cross trains Madison House volunteers to be instructors. Next, students use the online training to learn CPR. Lastly, Madison House volunteers (instructors) test the students’ CPR skills in person. Madison House approved the program already, and we’re now in the process of gaining support from the rest of the Central Virginia Chapter.

So far, it’s been a great (and busy) experience! I’m learning a lot about public relations, non-profit organizations, management and organizational structure, (among other things), and definitely feel that my skills and education are being put to good use. I love watching these partnerships and projects develop, and especially anticipate watching the partnership with Madison House unfold in the coming weeks.

Final Reflections

In my last days at the official Internship at Red Cross, everything is coming together really well with the Madison House Program. The program has become my one and only focus at the Red Cross, as there is much to do now that we’re back in school! Here is an overview of the partnership:

In keeping with the fast-paced information age, the American Red Cross has developed and just released the Blended Learning First Aid/CPR/AED Program -- a new way to reach the public. The first portion of the training is completed online and the second part of the training consists of a Red Cross instructor conducting a skills session where participants' skills are practiced and assessed. Red Cross Blended Learning is flexible and self-paced and is available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The newly-created partnership between the American Red Cross Central VA Chapter and Madison House (a student-run volunteer organization at the University of Virginia) utilizes this Blended Learning Program while inspiring a new group of volunteers from the University. These two organizations have teamed together to…