Shaping Our Stories

PRSA Rochester is proud to collaborate with Causewave Community Partners on their new initiative, “Shaping Our Stories.” The effort is currently looking for volunteers for several areas of the project. Below is a message from Rashad J. Smith, project manager for “Shaping our Stories,” with details on how you can be involved in this important initiative.

Dear PRSA Members:

We are thrilled to collaborate with the Public Relations Society of America Rochester Chapter for this project. We are working to address the findings from the Shaping our Stories study about how race is represented and perceived in local news media. In this phase of the project, we have determined how Causewave can help with our findings-- by collaborating with nonprofits to help them shape their own stories. 

About the Organizations We will Serve: We are inviting dozens of local nonprofits to our kick-off breakfast event on September 11. About 10 organizations will be chosen to benefit from the services we will provide. These nonprofits will be small in staff size with limited budgets. However, their mission to impact Rochester is priceless. In order to qualify for the services, organizations must attend the kick-off breakfast and complete a very simple RFP. Participants will be selected based on their submission and need. Most of the organizations will have staff who are highly capable of collaborating but may need guidance. That’s where you’ll step in. 

Here’s what we need: 

Shaping Our Story PR Coaches: Volunteers to serve as coaches to nonprofit organizations starting September 11 until mid-January. As a coach, you would be responsible to help a minimum of 2 nonprofit organizations develop or redefine their communication plan--particularly for media engagement opportunities. You would also serve as a partner to support the organizations as often as you can. Once we identify the selected organizations, we’d ask you to be a part of the coordination of your meetings with respective org(s). We are looking for volunteers who can commit about 20-25 hours for the entire 5-month project period.

SAVE THE DATE: Race and Media Breakfast on Wednesday, September 11 from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at One Favor Street in the historic Corn Hill neighborhood. This event is free to attendees and volunteers but registration is required.


  • One-sheet DIY Media Engagement Guide:A team of PRSA volunteers to develop a one-sheet DIY media engagement guide that will be used to distribute electronically after our kick-off event. This one-sheet will be a guide for organizations to follow when looking to develop media engagement plans and potentially get their stories covered in local news. This is primarily for the organizations that are not selected so we can make sure they gain valuable information by attending the event. 
  • Workshop Facilitators:Around October 2019, we will host a mid-program interactive session comprising workshops around media engagement. Facilitators would recommend topics or create a 1-hour workshop around topics such as: 1) How to create newsworthy actions, 2) Writing media advisories and press releases, 3) Getting your stories covered, 4) Developing or strengthening relationships with media pros, etc. More information about the mid-program interaction session will be communicated following the kick-off event.  


Thank you for your support,

Rashad J. Smith • Shaping Our Stories Project Manager

Causewave Community Partners

585.442.0200 ext. 215 |

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these areas, please email Melissa Greco Lopes, co-chair of PRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, at [email protected].