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Wisconsinites Do HandStands to Draw Attention to Foster Family Shortage

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 General News J E 4
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Statewide Flash Mobs via Social Media Campaign to Draw Attention and Recruit Foster Care Families

MILWAUKEE, May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Don't be alarmed if you drive past groups of Wisconsinites standing on their hands today at 5:00 pm. They're participating in a statewide foster care family recruitment campaign, called "Turn a Life Around." In fact, at rush hour, flash mobs throughout Wisconsin (including Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Green Bay) will line up along major streets, doing assisted handstands. This is all a demonstration to help draw attention to Wisconsin's shortage of foster families, as the Adoption Resources of Wisconsin (ARW) reports that the state needs 1,000 new foster families to help meet the growing rate of children entering foster care.

Why handstands?

"For kids without parents or a safe, stable place to call home, their world is upside down," said Gary Mueller, founder of Serve marketing and campaign creator. "We took the upside down world of kids and applied it to every part of the campaign to create an emotional connection, instill a sense of urgency and inspire more adults to become foster parents."

Coordinating with May's National Foster Care Awareness Month, the "Turn a Life Around" campaign began in April and will run through the end of May. Aside from flash mobs of handstanders, the campaign launched a new website in April: FosterParentsRock.org, which provides information on how to become a foster parent. Supporters started flipping their Facebook profile pictures upside down on April 25 while images of a foster parent and child appeared upside down on billboards throughout the state last month and flipped right side up on May 2 with the addition of: "Turn a life around. Become a foster parent."  Statewide TV stations will air campaign PSAs throughout May, illustrating the world of a child without a home, where everything they see is upside down.

"Every two hours, a child in Wisconsin enters foster care because of abuse, neglect or alcohol and drugs in the home.  For thousands of kids who are without parents, or a safe or stable home, it is absolutely critical that more people consider opening their homes to foster children," said Colleen Ellingson, chief executive officer of ARW.

Foster families are especially needed for children eight years or older because this age group is less likely than younger children to find consistent foster families and more likely to stay in foster care than become adopted.  Every year, more than 300 foster kids turn 18 without ever having a permanent family.

"We wanted to reach people in a unique way and spark positive conversation about the need for more foster parents in Wisconsin. Hopefully, by the end of this campaign, we will have helped to create new homes for deserving children," said Mueller.

For more information about the "Turn a Life Around" campaign, becoming a foster parent, or ARW, visit: http://fosterparentsrock.org.  

Flash Mob Locations:

  • UW- Milwaukee: Lake and Lincoln Memorial Drive
  • Marquette University: 16th and Wisconsin Ave.
  • Madison: Library Mall
  • La Crosse: 4th Street between Vine and La Crosse
  • Green Bay: S. Broadway and Wisconsin
  • Eau Claire: Farwell and National

Advance Interview Opportunities

  • Foster Care parents share their personal experience
  • Adoption Resources of Wisconsin
  • Creators of upside-down marketing campaign

Live Interview Opportunities at Flash Mobs from 5:00-5:30 p.m.

  • Handstand participants
  • Foster Care Families
  • Flash Mob Organizers
  • ARW Representatives

About Adoption Resources of Wisconsin (ARW)

ARW serves as an umbrella over adoption and foster care in the state of Wisconsin, serving children and families for more than 28 years. We provide information and referral at every stage of the process, recruit homes for the children in greatest need and offer post-placement training, education and support for the families who open their hearts and homes to these children and the professionals who serve them.

About Serve

Serve is the only all-volunteer nonprofit advertising agency in the country, whose mission is to give underserved charitable causes a stronger voice in the community. Since 2002, Serve has helped create behavior-changing marketing campaigns for over 30 non-profits, both locally and nationally, on issues ranging from teen homelessness, child sexual violence and shaken baby syndrome to teen pregnancy, ovarian cancer and gun violence. To date, Serve has donated over $15 million of in-kind creative, media, web, pr and strategic planning services to non-profits, in an effort to raise their profile and increase their impact in ours and other local communities.

SOURCE Adoption Resources of Wisconsin; Serve

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