United Way of Westchester and Putnam Announces Winners of “Voices for 2-1-1” PSA Contest

Contest judges Lanning Taliaferro, and Kacey Morabito, answer student questions about careers in journalism and broadcast at United Way’s communications career day, Tuesday, June 3 at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.
Contest judges Lanning Taliaferro, and Kacey Morabito, answer student questions about careers in journalism and broadcast at United Way’s communications career day, Tuesday, June 3 at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES students learn tips of the trade from 
Westchester’s leading communication experts at 2-1-1 career day

More than 50 students, teachers and administrators from Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES attended United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s (UWWP) communications career day at The Tech Center at Yorktown Tuesday, June 3. The event was the culmination of United Way’s recent “Voices for 2-1-1” PSA contest.

The contest, which ran from February through April, offered students in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties the opportunity to further develop their writing and communication skills by creating a 60-second written or video public service announcement (PSA) focusing on United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline. Submissions were made from students living in areas from Yonkers up to Brewster.

Student contest winners Raéchel Peterson (Brewster), Kevin Aruilio (North Salem), and Katie Lawrence (Carmel), were honored for their respective first, second, and third place winning video submissions.

“It was gratifying to see the professionalism of the student’s work and how eager they were to use their talent to help the community,” said Alana Sweeny, president and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “The student videos will be used throughout the year to promote the 2-1-1 helpline.”

Launched in 2005, United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline that provides millions of people each year with health and human services information, referrals, crisis support and disaster recovery information.

The communications career day presentation set up by United Way for The Tech Center included a panel presentation from the contest’s judges, including Ernie Garcia, business reporter, The Journal News, Stacey Cohen, president and CEO, Co-Communications, Inc., Diana Costello, communications specialist, Office of the Westchester County Executive, Lanning Taliaferro, associate regional editor, Patch.com, and Kacey Morabito, co-host, 100.7 WHUD’s “Mike and Kacey in the Morning.”

During the panel, the judges emphasized the importance of networking and obtaining internships during both high school and college. Four main competencies, including being strategic, creative, flexible, and strong in execution, were identified as the most important keys to success in the field of communications. “You have to wear a lot of hats in this industry,” said Morabito. “It’s crucial you know who you are and what your strengths are,” added Cohen.

“I am so very happy and proud of my students. They have worked to the best of their abilities to produce high quality public service announcements for United Way’s 2-1-1,” said Elizabeth Marques, TV production and digital film teacher at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES. “Through this competition, my students listened diligently to the advice of the judges, worked out their ideas persistently and learned a great deal about the industry.”

Official contest partners were WHUD, the Office of the Westchester County Executive, and The Volunteer Center of United Way. To view all of the “Voices for 2-1-1” PSA videos, including winning submissions from Raéchel, Kevin, and Katie, visit www.uwwp.org/voices.

About United Way of Westchester and Putnam

For the past 50 years, United Way of Westchester and Putnam has operated with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. United Way works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone. All contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Westchester and Putnam. United Way’s Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1, covering Westchester and Putnam as well as Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers up to 500 calls and 1,000 online inquiries per day ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls. United Way of Westchester and Putnam is at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. They can be reached at 914-997-6700 or by visiting www.uwwp.org

Follow United Way on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP) for the latest news and updates.


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