Hey everyone, if you’re looking for a PR viewpoint on the current protests in Egypt and the controversy surrounding the anti-Islam movie trailer on YouTube then check out my PR writing blog: CRISIS PR CURRENTLY IN FULL STEAM IN EGYPT AND AT GOOGLE.
Profile story: Mosaic Family Services and Bill Bernstein serving up 15 years of assistance and relief to human trafficking victims
I am passionate about the issues surrounding trafficking and the complete violation and exploitation of a person’s human rights. If you’re interested in finding out more about this issue, I suggest you check out Mosaic Family Services‘ website.
This is a great organization that provides an array of culturally and linguistically competent services (and there are A LOT of services that they provide) to immigrants, refugees and victims of violence. What makes this organization extraordinary is that all of Mosaic’s services are COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE.
I wrote the following story for my PR Writing class and my non-profit client, Mosaic Family Services. It was published in one of Mosaic’s newsletter and on their Facebook.
Hope you enjoy!
Mosaic Family Services and Bill Bernstein serving up 15 years of assistance and relief to human trafficking victims
Together they have significantly impacted the multicultural community of North Texas
On paper, Bill Bernstein’s day-to-day job tasks may seem strikingly similar to that of a corporate manager’s: answering many emails and phone calls, attending meetings over grant proposals, coordinating and managing various company programs. However, as deputy director of the Mosaic Family Services, Bernstein’s seemingly ordinary job responsibilities have helped to serve about 300 victims of human trafficking in the last 10 years.
Human trafficking is a silent issue that is particularly affecting North Texas as 20 percent of the nation’s trafficking victims dwelling within Texas’ border according to the Office of the Attorney General’s last human trafficking report.
Having worked with the Dallas-based non-profit organization for 15 years, Bernstein is considered an expert in the field of human trafficking and is directly involved with coordinating the many services that Mosaic’s programs provide to victims and their families of this modern form of slavery. The programs that Bernstein is in charge of, from the human trafficking and domestic violence programs to the legal services and counseling programs, all contribute to Mosaic’s mission of providing support, education and empowerment to victims and their families.
Aside from coordinating the anti-human trafficking programs at Mosaic, Bernstein is also the founder of the Texas Task Force on Human Trafficking, chairperson of the Metroplex Refugee Network and co-chair of the Freedom Network USA, a coalition of non-governmental agencies that serve as advocates for and assist survivors of trafficking in the United States.
Bernstein has had many years of experience working with domestic violence programs, and he originally entered the fight against human trafficking years ago while working at another outreach agency that serves refugees and the immigrant population. Because he was serving people from other cultures and coordinating with law enforcement, human trafficking was an obvious extension to his work. “I want to see the right thing done. I am just altruistic about the way people who have been trafficked should be served and why these cases should be uncovered and why attention needs to be given to them. It’s a human rights issue,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a UNT alumni with a master’s in Counselor of Education, explained that his education and certifications have been important by training him how to relate to other people. This especially helps his work against trafficking as there are many difficulties with his fight against this form of modern slavery. A key issue involves people who are directly affected by trafficking. According to Bernstein, people who are being trafficked usually don’t out for help because many of them don’t see themselves being victimized.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is commonly referred to as a form of modern day slavery. It describes the process of recruiting, transporting or harboring individuals for the purpose of exploiting them. Trafficked people are coerced into positions of vulnerability and servitude where they are kept against their free will and forced to perform involuntary labor or services. Traffickers control their victims by a variety of means ranging from psychological manipulation to abduction, fraud, debt bondage, extortion, and threats and violence towards the victim and their family.
“[Human trafficking] is very much a hidden crime. It’s not obvious and right there in the open, even to people that know about it,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein has coordinated many collaborative efforts between Mosaic and other agencies in the fight to bring information and awareness to residents of North Texas and others outside of the state’s borders. His programs work with many local and national agencies in fields spanning across social services, children services and domestic violence agencies, local and federal law enforcement, as well as refugee resettlement agencies. Through numerous speaking engagements each week and many ongoing information-related campaigns, Bernstein and his programs at Mosaic do a great deal of outreach in their proactive and direct involvement in the human trafficking cause.
Mosaic Family Services’ website states that its mission and purpose is to support, educate and empower victims of trafficking, immigrants and refugees in crisis, and the community. The organization accomplishes this through an array of services and programs that its staff provides to those at risk. In order to increase awareness and understanding about the abuse of human rights, Mosaic also actively participates in and advocates community outreach events.
Media outreach is a high priority tactic for the team at Mosaic Family Services to accomplish its mission, Bernstein said. The organization has been on the local news multiple times on both English-speaking channels and ethnic ones and was also featured in a three-part series about human trafficking that aired on Univision. His information campaigns with Mosaic also target many of the ethnic-language publications in the North Texas area.
To Bernstein, the fruition of trafficking survivors and families reclaiming their lives and independence is the most satisfying form of success.
“When we see these people get back to a position where they are in control and become self-sufficient and feel very happy after being in a tortuous situation is very gratifying to see,” Bernstein said.
While each of Mosaic’s programs has a different success rate, the trafficking program that Bernstein is the director of has served approximately 300 people in the last 10 years. Mosaic’s domestic violence program, which Bernstein is also directly involved with, has a much higher rate of about 200 to 300 people served annually for the last 14 years. Bernstein hopes to see further growth in Mosaic’s established success in service and assistance to those in crisis, as well as further expansion in the community’s awareness of Mosaic and its capabilities.
“I would just like to see [Mosaic Family Services] establish itself as the agency and the source for these types of services in the area so it’s more well-known to the public,” Bernstein said.
This is my coverage of the speech Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA, UNT InHouse editor, gave to some students of the Mayborn School of Journalism on March 15, 2012.
Communicating internally with Carolyn Bobo
Written by Tanya Nguyen
In our technologically wired environment today, employees within an organization are showered with a staggering volume of messages from a variety of different communication platforms each day. So is it even possible to communicate with a group of people who are interrupted by a new series of messages multiple times each hour of their workday?
According to Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA, establishing and managing effective communication with employees within an organization is not only possible but also integral to supporting goals and achieving success. The key to effective communication with employees is knowledge of the organization’s culture, demographics and variables through the communications process of research, planning, execution and evaluation. This knowledge will shape the communications tactics and styles that the organization should pursue.
Speaking with UNT students on Thursday, March 16, Bobo explained that one of an organization’s key groups of constituents is always its employees, especially when it comes to the task of presenting a unified image and message to its other publics. Employees must be knowledgeable of their organization’s mission, value and purpose in order to support those goals through their actions and, according to Bobo, many organizations underestimate the importance of how internal communications can affect management’s relationship with its employees and their successes.
A clear and effective channel of communication must be established with an organization’s employees to quickly deliver messages about strategies and goals, or to address issues or weaknesses, Bobo said. Internal communications help employees better understand the reasons behind the actions and improvements that they are asked to make. This understanding of their actions’ purposes impacts how the organization can achieve its goals and also helps build camaraderie and internal pride in organizational success, Bobo said. Internal communications also helps employees access other information that they need, including news on benefits, policies and procedures, deadlines, events and updates on the industry’s environment or the organization’s competitors.
Bobo briefly discussed using Hage’s four variables to observe organizational structure and behavior, therefore determining how an organization can communicate with its employees. Centralization and stratification typically promote one-way, downward communication based on the organization’s hierarchy with decision making concentrated among the high-level employees. Formalization typically discourages communication and is focused on the level of rigidity of an organization’s rules and regulations and tends to control its members, rather than coordinate them. Complexity, the fourth variable, has a range of upward and downward communications and refers to the extent of varied job roles and educated, professionalized employees.
Bobo also talked about the different communication style preferences, which research can uncover. According to Bobo, most employees prefer face-to-face communication with their immediate supervisor. However, because of today’s technologically advanced and wired environment, organizations must determine other means of communication aside from cascading information down through the levels of management to the front line employee.
To connect with internal publics, organizations can utilize forms of electronic, print, video, audio and grapevine communication, though the last channel is the least effective according to Bobo. Including the essential 5W’s/H are still useful towards organizing and executing any tactics, but writing for internal communications requires a certain degree of information mapping to align the message’s accessibility with the current, rapidly changing technological environment. Bobo explains that messages should be suitable for online distribution, with short sentences and paragraphs, and encourages the use of bullet points to quickly and clearly present important information.
Bobo also discussed intranets, a website within an organization, as a means of interactively engaging employees by allowing them to add and exchange information, ideas and news. According to Bobo, an organization’s in-house website or blog must be well-designed and functional to successfully engage and communicate with employees. Another benefit of having an organizational website or blog includes the ability to link other relevant content to the message for employees to find more information.
Bobo stresses that all communication and information from an organization must be 100 percent accurate and professional since credibility greatly affects an organization’s ability to reach its goals. Having a clear message that internal publics can understand and support is crucial in effectively communicating with all other publics.