ESD 112 wins national communications award

The Educational Service District 112 Communications and Prevention teams received a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association. The award recognizes the outstanding and successful Weed Can Wait marijuana prevention project targeted at youth aged 12-20.

To win the national award, the campaign had to meet detailed criteria based on research, analysis/planning, communication/implementation, and evaluation.

“In our profession, this is one of the highest honors we can receive,” said ESD Assistant Superintendent of Communications Lori Oberheide. “It represents the talents of many people across the communications and youth prevention programs. I’m just so proud that this collaborative effort has resulted in national recognition for those who worked so hard on this project.”

The Weed Can Wait campaign was developed when ESD 112 received a Department of Health grant funded by Washington State tax dollars from marijuana sales. To build the most compelling messaging, professionals from education, business, and marketing arenas met for several months at ESD 112 to get input from more than 1,200 teens, develop strategies, create effective messages and images, build timelines/action steps and select communication tools and tactics. Their work resulted in the two comprehensive projects — the Weed Can Wait campaign designed to prevent underage marijuana use and Cannabis Conversations, a toolkit for parents. Both projects are under the umbrella of ESD 112’s Youth Now initiative.

Communication tools included:

  • Social Media Campaigns: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a website
  • Direct Outreach: Pop-up parties at five schools in two different counties to kick off the campaign; and the Cannabis Conversations Toolkit, with age-specific talking points to help adults talk with youth about marijuana
  • Environmental Advertising: “Lock it up” cards given out with every purchase at New Vansterdam and High End Marketplace marijuana retailers; ads on 20 bus tails and inside 40 buses; and ads on Pandora music app

The campaign also included policies and systems alignment and engagement that involved youth, parents, business, media, schools, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, civic/volunteer organizations, health care professionals, substance abuse organizations. Youth in possession policies and practices were reviewed with stakeholders regarding marijuana and partnerships were formed with retail shops to encourage and educate adult users.

More information about the campaign can be found at:
Youth Now website
Youth Now Facebook page
Youth Now Instagram page
Clark County website
Columbian news story
KPTV news story

Team members recognized for the award are:

  • Joy Lyons
  • Deb Drandoff
  • Lori Oberheide
  • Heidi Barnes
  • Michele M. Larsen
  • Megan Streeter
  • Leanne Reid
  • Delena Meyer
  • Moriah Diederich
  • Melissa Burt

NSPRA GOLDEN ACHIEVEMENT AWARD CRITERIA:

  • Research — careful analysis of the need for the program/project/campaign/activity, stated goals and measurable objectives.
  • Analysis/Planning — planning to address the need for the program/project/campaign/activity including target audience identification, budget/resource allocation and staff responsibilities.
  • Communication/Implementation — timelines, strategies/activities, communication components implemented as planned, and quality of support materials (print and electronic).
  • Evaluation — assessment component included and conducted. The evaluation should include a measurement of the success of the program/project/campaign/activity, and recommendation for future improvements or next steps.