41 more boxes on their way to Afghanistan

Students in Dr. Kelli Burns' PR class collected 40 boxes of donated school supplies for Afghan children.

The school year is coming to an end at University of South Florida and with that comes the end of our friend Dr. Kelli Burns‘ PR class at the School of Mass Communications. This class adopted “School Supplies for Afghan Children” as a class assignment for the last four weeks of the semester. They learned how to use public relations techniques for the benefit of a grassroots non-profit like our project. The organized events, they raised shipping money, they shopped for school supplies, they filled out customs forms, they made videos, they Facebooked, the tweeted …. you name it, they did it. Judging from the pile of school supplies they presented me with last week, they learned A LOT!

USF PR students boxes fill up the back of the truck on the way to the post office.

At this point the 54 students in Dr. Burns class have collected enough school supplies to fill 40 boxes (I added one more box full of candy for the troops and the Afghan kids from our house). When I visited with the PR students last week for the official “packing party” during their class, the students also turned in $289.18 in cash for the shipping. Shipping the 40 boxes cost $518 so the cash the students managed to raise in this difficult economy was a great contribution to our shipping fund. Apparently many of the student teams also got corporate sponsors who will be mailing their checks directly to Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation  where our shipping fund is held for 100% tax deductible contributions. Hopefully we’ll get a final tally of how many such corporate donor checks came in – I had one handed to me while visiting the class and it was for $70! That’s enough to ship 5 more boxes to Afghanistan.

And Dr. Burns’ students are not done yet. One of the groups was still holding a fundraiser at a local Applebee’s restaurant. So we will wait to see how they did and if the class goal of a total 54 boxes of donated supplies was met. I think 40 boxes is pretty awesome already especailly when the students collected them in record time in just four weeks. But of course we’ll happily send 14 more boxes to Afghanistan. The need there is endless.

If you would like to see what these PR students learned this semester, please visit their project blogs at these links:

Team “Donate-A-Bull”

Team “Notebooks for Knowledge”

Team “Bulls Collecting School Supplies”


Team SAC with their packed boxes of school supplies ready for shipping.

USF Team SAC – I got to see this group do their end of the semester presentation about what they learned through this project. I have to say they were very IMPRESSIVE!

A huge thank you to Dr. Kelli Burns and to all her students. You did an awesome job! Thank you for supporting the education of young minds in a combat zone so they can become the future leaders of their nation. And thank you for supporting the U.S. troops and providing these school supplies for their humanitarian missions.

About Liisa Hyvarinen Temple

Multimedia journalist & multimedia production instructor at USF from 2002 to 2009. Former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow (1999). Winner of Walter Cronkite political reporting award. Proud military wife.
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