To get the word out about its nonprofit organization, the Get Schooled Foundation (co-founded by Viacom and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) took its 2010 Get Schooled National Challenge & Tour to 11 at-risk high schools from Sept. 15 to Nov. 21 with additional support from partners like AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The tour teamed up with schools in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Memphis, New York, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle and Washington D.C., to inspire students to do better in high school and prepare for college.
“What we needed to do was get our message and our organization out there to the people at the ground level,” Marie Groark, executive director at Get Schooled Foundation, told Buzz. “The best way for us to do that was to go to the schools themselves. We wanted to go on this tour to meet young people and have them experience Get Schooled and what we can bring to the table.”
What Get Schooled brings to the table is support for principals, teachers and parents who want to provide students with an incentive to do better. That support was brought to life with rewards, like interactive activities and talent, in exchange for students’ hard work. The tour, which traveled in a branded bus, had two facets. One was to organize Friday youth summits emceed by MTV host Sway Calloway who conducted question and answer sessions on education, which were aired on MTV. A dj mixed beats to get students excited. On Saturday and Sunday, the bus traveled to public rallies, college fairs, farmers markets and malls. At each stop, students and their families could partake in a variety of activities, including a PSA testimonial booth where they could share how they will be stepping up to better their education. Participants received a coded card to watch the video at home.
There was also a photo activation, which consisted of chalkboard backdrops on which students could write their messages about stepping up to improve their performance at school. The photo was taken and uploaded to the organization’s Facebook page. Students could also post their testimonials online via an on-site interactive kiosk or visit an information table to grab premiums like branded erasers, notebooks and pamphlets in both English and Spanish with tips on how to apply for college financial aid. In some markets, celebrities like actor Christian Slater came out to join the cause.
As students go on their holiday break this month, Get Schooled is using that time to improve its program for next year. It has started by creating an online network where principals can opt in to have the organization visit his or her school. Agency: Oasis, Seattle.