Professor Jane Paley along with the Public Relations students organizes Hooper’s Toy Drive. The professor of mass communications has also spent 11 years working at ABC as the network spokesperson on educational issues and the executive producer of a series of documentaries called “ABC Notebook.” She has also written for HBO, PBS and Court TV and is currently working on a children’s book
TORCH: Why did you decide to start Hooper’s Toy Drive?
PALEY: I wanted the public relations students to embrace the Vicentian mission and at the same time mimic what they will be doing in the professional arena, which is seen through outlining objectives and strategies and by broadening the scope of this three year tradition. The students were able to exploit the media and encourage participation.
What is great about the toy drive’s growth is that there has been a broadened distribution of toys to include St. John ‘s Bread and Life, Momma’s House, Shriner’s Hospital for Children and Toys for Tots. We were able to reach out to the Queens Press which led to enormous support from Alumni, the Honors Society, Greek Life, Campus Ministry, Athletics, Residence halls, and the students at large. It is heartening to see how many people jumped on board and embraced our mission.
TORCH: What are your future goals for the toy drive?
PALEY: Just to keep getting the St. John’s community more involved. This year, we had screenings, bake sales and raffles at major sporting events. Also, the St. John’s Ad Club helped us with an advertising campaign [through the colorful flyers around campus] and the Film Club created a commercial for us as well. I just want to keep getting everyone to step up and rally together to promote this fundraiser and the organizations we support.
TORCH: How did the PR students get support from donators?
PALEY: The students were able to solicit the help of local businesses and large chains alike by visiting the stores and informing them about our drive. They were able to find out who they should target based on who was most likely to give. Some even went to their alma mater over break. A lot of the initiatives are in their hands and are a result of their work.
TORCH: How has it helped children in the community?
PALEY: While we are not always directly involved with the distribution of toys, we know that the organizations, like Bread and Life, are very sensitive to the children and fairly give out gifts based on gender and age which guarantees that the children will get something that they enjoy.
If anyone wants to see the results of Hooper’s Toy Drive, visit the group’s facebook page www.facebook.com/hooperstoydrive