A Gift for Life
November 16, 2010
Our goal in producing A Gift for Life is to save
lives through education. Along with its complementary website and partner-driven
engagement programming, this one-hour public television documentary will raise national
awareness about organ donation and transplantation, underscore the tangible need
for and benefit of these processes, and motivate viewers to consider how this important
topic touches their own lives.
The program shares the inspirational stories of several
transplants from across vital organ, socio-economic and ethnic spectrums. Each narrative
begins at diagnosis, and follows recipients through the donor search, surgery, and
post-operative process. The film works to dispel commonly-held myths about transplantation,
illuminating both the recipients’ and the organ donors’ experiences and viewpoints.
Finally, A Gift for Life also profiles the family members, surgeons and other
medical professionals involved in each respective journey.
To raise awareness of both A Gift for
Life project in particular, and organ transplant in general, within a focused
audience of high school-level students, their parents, and educators.
To insert A Gift for Life and its
messaging into existing social media outlets, with an eye toward increasing the
topic’s reach and keeping the conversation alive long after the broadcast and formal
programming has ended.
To highlight The Carlson Foundation’s
commitment to building healthy, educated communities by sharing cutting-edge information
on organ transplant.
Powerful Partners, Deeper Engagement
For A Gift for Life engagement program, our most powerful
asset is our national and local partners’ ability and willingness to reach out to
their existing, trusting and receptive high school-focused audiences, sharing with
them the film and its attendant assets. We will work with our partners to not only
disseminate these tangible tools, but to also share with their audiences the messaging
about how nearly 100,000 people are currently on the U.S. organ transplant waiting
list; the need for transplant knows no demographic boundaries, and the time to sign
up as a donor is now.
Our Engagement Partners include:
Educational partners, who will integrate
A Gift for Life and its resources into existing high school-level classroom
and informal education settings, engaging and informing a youth audience about donor
opportunities, transplant, wellness/prevention and advocacy. Potential partners
include the American Driver and
Traffic Safety Education Association (which
oversees largely teen-populated national driver’s education programming), the
American Association for Health
Education, a professional association for
teachers of heath content, and
a social outreach/peer-to-peer education organization based in Pensacola, Florida.
Diverse national and local organizations,
who will in turn use A Gift for Life to engage their already-existing audiences
and collegial affinity groups, thus amplifying reach. These groups currently include
The American Liver Foundation,
National Kidney Foundation, and
Donate Life America.
Education, engagement, and online specialists
at all 350 public television stations
nationwide, each of which has a tailored
reach into the specific community and schools it serves. We also will publicize
A Gift for Life’s engagement resources on PBS Teacher Connect,
an outstanding online resource providing content
to educators nationwide to use within their classrooms. Teacher Connect has over
200,000 unique visits monthly during the academic year.
We are creating three distinct assets
to help our partners introduce and underscore A Gift for Life’s messaging
to the youth and families they currently serve. Programming elements include:
A Gift for Life in the Classroom
This easily downloadable, web-based resource is for
use in both high school health classrooms and Driver’s Education programming, reaching
thousands of students nationwide. These turn-key materials are adaptable to suit
each instructor’s individual needs, and can be modified to fill a half-hour window
or a longer, more in-depth unit.
Instructions for viewing the film, or
its shortened modules, online
Discussion questions to spark and guide
lively conversation about the film and its topics, or about individual modules
Suggestions for community service projects
around A Gift for Life subject matter (in partnership with local chapters of national
groups like the American Liver Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, and Donate
Opportunities for classroom/school assembly
motivational speakers, particularly peers who have experienced transplant (either
by undergoing one, donating, or having a family member or close friend who received
Links for further exploration and learning
about groups and concepts featured in the film.
Resource Goal: Generate 10,000 completed
donor cards nationwide.
Chain Reaction Meets A Gift for Life
Chain Reaction is a student venture initiated by Kim
McMahon, a Florida mother who lost her son William in 2005 when his need for a second
liver transplant could not be met. To honor William and to raise awareness about
transplant and donation among his peers, Kim launched school-based, student-run
Chain Reaction Pensacola. This active group of middle and high school kids, led
by student Gemalie Perez, created a media campaign targeting 5,500 peers, encouraging
them to speak with their parents about becoming an organ donor. Hundreds of local
teens clicked on the "I've Had the Conversation" link on the mychainreaction.org
website. The group’s PSA aired on local television, in schools and on YouTube. The
campaign was so popular that the school district is supporting Chain Reaction’s
second organ donation awareness campaign.
We will replicate this successful pilot project in five
additional school districts in New York, Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio and California,
again mobilizing students, creating PSAs, and utilizing social media to encourage
peer-to-peer messaging. Liaisons (who are themselves transplant recipients) will
assist students in program creation and implementation in each location, and will
share A Gift for Life film and its resources with participants, their parents,
and their teachers.
Resource Goal: Generate 3,000 visits
to mychainreaction.org’s “I’ve had the conversation” link, indicating increased
parent-child communication and potential donor participation.
Transplant This! A Gift for Life Video
For this initiative, we will communicate to students
via both classrooms and social media to engage them in a contest to create thirty-second
public service announcements and short films around donor registration, transplant,
health and wellness, prevention, etc. This initiative could serve as a classroom
project, perfect for a media or health course, or students could create their submissions
using simple digital tools. Contestants would submit their content for national
judging (possibly with a celebrity and peer panel). Prizes could include anything
from teen-centric digital gear (e.g. an iPod or video editing software), scholarship
money, or more. Completed projects will be posted on Miracles for Life Worldwide
website www.miraclesforlifeworldwide.org as a Online Film Fest that is promoted
via social media and possibly paid ads on Facebook and Google.
Resource Goal: 100 user-generated
Walking Cure: The Online Presence
A Gift for Life
website at www.miraclesforlifeworldwide.org
acts as a portal or “launch pad” for all of our
endeavors. It will feature:
Information and tools relating to Walking
Cure in the Classroom, the Transplant This! Contest, and the Chain Reaction project.
Streaming video of the film in its entirety,
as well as edited modules for curtailed viewing/classroom or community use
Q and A with transplant recipients, donors,
physicians, activists, and other experts
A brief press release describing the film
and its tenants, for use in local or national broadcast, print or online outlets
A one-page fact sheet, including Q and
A, about the film
A mini-article about A Gift for Life
which can easily be dropped into e-newsletters, blogs, or other existing communication
vehicles our partners already utilize
A two-line blurb about the film for easy
use on partner homepages
Downloadable key image and photos from
The site will also, of course, act as a hub for all
of our social network/interactive media activity. A Gift for Life’s interactive
campaign will join ongoing conversations about transplant, health and wellness by
searching for relevant topics within Facebook, Twitter and other sites, and connecting
with active users. By finding ambassadors for A Gift for Life -related content
where they are already having similar discussions, we can introduce them to the
trustworthy information that the PBS program will provide, enriching and expanding
(and ultimately driving) the conversation.
A Gift for Life’s
interactive media presence will also include:
A consistently updated and dynamic Facebook
page with content from the website and from the documentary (including video) as
it is available;
A Flicker group that will allow visitors
to submit their A Gift for Life -related images, such as photos taken of donor pairs,
transplant recipients enjoying active lives, medical scenes, etc.;
A constantly-updated Twitter feed featuring
updates from the project, questions, and fast facts about transplant.
A YouTube channel to create one-off stunts
and collaborations with other partners, as well as a place to feature video and
clips from the documentary and user-generated video. This is an excellent outlet
on which to promote and/or display short films created and submitted by student
groups or individuals, particularly 30- and 60-second PSAs. Of course, all fresh
YouTube content, as well as contests or user-generated content prompts, can be promoted
via Facebook and Twitter postings, thus reaching users via the medium they most