Marketing gun violence prevention in St. Louis

The Center for Experiential Learning has dozens of practicums and projects each semester that provide students with hands-on experience in all kinds of businesses. The below post highlights one of the CEL’s Taylor Community Consulting Projects with the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective

The best way to introduce you to Story Stitchers is sharing the organization’s compelling story in the words of its president, Susan Colangelo:

“Once upon a time, there was a stitcher who liked to embroider stories from the newspaper. One day, she was stitching a story about two sisters who were shot while sitting on their porch in University City–one of whom died.

The stitcher reflected on the power of stitching throughout history; of the NAMES Project, also known as the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and quilts used to signal safe passage to escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. Determined to create change, she gathered eight artists in Old North St. Louis and founded the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. The artists wrote the mission that night: to document St. Louis through art and word, to promote understanding, civic pride, inter-generational relationships, and literacy.

Today, Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective is 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to professional artists and minority youth ages 15-24, working together to create social change, focusing on gun violence prevention.”

Story Stitchers has worked with the CEL on four marketing initiatives. Recently, the organization collaborated with students Gary Wang, Aviva Mann, and Taylor Ohman on marketing the nonprofit’s summer program, Pick the City UP.

The Pick the City UP tour aimed to spark community activity among area youth by providing free hip hop performances and presentations on public health issues affecting St. Louis, including gun violence and food insecurity.

The student team went to work defining and creating the deliverables, including project branding with a logo, creating media lists, research on public service announcements for radio, recommendations and oversight for landing page design on the Story Stitchers website, and a social media plan.

What Susan found most remarkable about the Olin CEL team was how much they felt a part of the collective. Taylor sat down with the Story Stitchers youth for extended periods, sketching out potential logos, so that the group could feel a sense of ownership. I visited the storefront recently, and they proudly wore this logo on t-shirts and sweatshirts, showing the community that a simple logo can help create unity and help others to feel involved.

With the fifth team in place for this semester’s Taylor Community Consulting Program, we are excited to help Story Stitchers continue spreading the word about gun violence prevention and creating unique connections in our local community.

This is one in a series of blog posts highlighting partnerships with local nonprofits through the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL).

Guest Blogger: Allison Halpern, BSBA ’18

In Student Life, Teaching & Learning
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