How do you reach parents and caregivers with vital information about today’s drug and alcohol scene—when they don’t want to hear about it? You build a popular blog full of information they do want to read and “sneak” in the D&A information. That’s been Erick Lauber’s (Journalism and Public Relations) strategy for two years as he and a group of IUP undergraduate students have produced 80-plus blog items.
Full of information that parents obviously want, the blog just crossed the 45,000 reads threshold this month with its most recent blog item, “Early tech usage may not be related to tech addiction” by undergraduate Megan Donny (Fashion Merchandising and Journalism and Public Relations). She is part of a five-student team that has continued to produce materials for the 2020 Parenting campaign after four students graduated in May 2020. The current team consists of Michelle Raymond (Journalism and Public Relations), Brooke Campbell (Communications Media), Steven Langdon (Journalism and Public Relations) and Cassidy Black (English Education).
The blog provides weekly, first-person blogs on one of four topics: social media and technology, health and wellness; popular culture and media; or drugs, alcohol, and/or gambling. The attraction to parents is the recent experiences and insights provided by the undergraduate students. All have recently graduated high school, and many have younger siblings still in junior high or high school. Lauber ensures that a sizable percentage of the content relates to addiction no matter what topic category the blog falls into.
Recently, the previous team produced a book of their most popular blogs titled Your Kid’s World Today. Parenting One Step Ahead. The book was co-authored by Lauber and recent IUP graduate Katie Mest. Other contributors were Seth Woolcock, Megan Donny, Desmond Brown, Morgan Rihn, and Lily Whorl. The book is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.
Lauber intends to continue his work with the team through the spring semester, and he encourages anyone who has a topic they think the team should cover to contact him via his IUP email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Lauber is director of Community Health and Leadership for the Mid-Atlantic Research and Training Institute for Community and Behavioral Health.