Finding information about substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery options has been a problem for both those seeking help and help-providers, especially in times of crisis.
“You’ve got people in urgent situations that need immediate help, may not know professional terminology or may not be in a position to pursue normal assistance channels,” says Lori Vish-Stearns, Executive Director of the Community Health Challenge (CHC) in Butler, PA . “We needed to eliminate the barriers that keep people from being able to reach out for help.”
Vish-Stearns and the CHC are part of the Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco Coalition (DATC) a volunteer organization that formed 11 years ago and now includes over 40 community, government, healthcare, faith-based organizations and individuals working together to deal with the region’s substance abuse challenges. The DATC needed a comprehensive solution to the problem of effectively reaching their target clients, so they contacted BOOM .
BOOM developed a branded platform based around the concept that before anyone can be assisted or reached out to, they need fast, easy access to relevant information. This is the FirstStep™ . “All of the participating organizations have different methodologies, different messaging and different target clients,” says Scot Fleming, BOOM creative director, “But they all ultimately want to reach people with addiction problems. And for that to happen more efficiently, we had to change the way they looked at presenting their information.”
BOOM created an online centralized resource system that utilizes a multi-user blog platform rather than a traditional website structure. “The biggest challenge was enabling so many different help-providers to each present their information cohesively, in one place, without violating any of the myriad privacy and communications policies that they all have to follow,” says Scott Dix, BOOM president. “We ended up establishing a pilot-program for a branded system that can work in any county in the country.”
The FirstStep™ system works simply and cleanly, allowing representatives from any participating group to log-in via a dashboard, add articles, links, calendar events, contact information, documents, and more on their own “page” while not affecting any other group’s content. By being part of a larger collected resource, the topics gain more search engine optimization than any one group could achieve.
The FirstStep™ platform is supported by an advertising campaign targeted throughout the county.
Click on any image below to launch a gallery of the work.
The Singing Bowl Vegetarian Café Redux. Excitement and anticipation were in full force at the relaunch press tasting party Wednesday night, October 20th at the new 103 Meadville St. location in Edinboro. BOOM was in the house, tasting some AMAZING food, managing questions from the local press, and assisting with the event.
It’s a scenario unique to the online social networking frontiers of modern life. Last spring, three young owners of The Singing Bowl Café, a popular Erie vegetarian restaurant, found themselves suddenly without a place of business.
Chefs and co-owners Jessica Mueller, Ashley Sayre de Rivas and Erik Mueller weren’t sure what to do. “People really liked the food and the restaurant, but we were stretched pretty thin and didn’t know how we’d be able to open up a whole new place,” says chef Jessica Mueller, who opened the Singing Bowl with her husband Erik and friend Ashley, all long-time committed vegetarians. “It didn’t seem likely.”
Normally that would be the end of the story. Restaurants open and close all the time. But not necessarily so in these days of Facebook. The restaurant had grown a 2000+ “friend” following on their Facebook page and after the closing in March 2010, the postings and comments offering support and suggestions for new locations flooded the pages.
A mutual friend brought the massive Facebook support of the Singing Bowl to the attention of Mary Bellucci, an Edinboro entrepeneur with a food service background. “We were impressed by the reviews they had gotten when they were open as well as their online supporters and their energy level,” said Bellucci, whose husband John has owned and run John’s Wildwood Pizzeria in Edinboro for 31 years. “But we didn’t know them or how to get in touch with them other than through Facebook.”
Mary took a leap of faith and reached out to one of the owners through Facebook. A conversation ensued and 5 months later, The Singing Bowl Cafe has two new co-owners, a business plan, a new location and a revamped menu. The original three owners moved to Edinboro over the summer to start working on the restaurant plans and the build-out began back in July.
The Singing Bowl Vegetarian Cafe reopened at their new location at 103 Meadville St. in Edinboro on Thursday, October 21. An announcement went up on Facebook the previous week amidst an onslaught of online buzz about the reopening.
Click on an image to launch the Singing Bowl Cafe Launch Party Gallery.