>>>Padilla Speer Beardsley - Public Relations
Lutheran Brotherhood National Youth Forum
"Speak for Yourself"

The Challenge

As a fraternal benefit society, Lutheran Brotherhood (LB) is a not for profit insurance society which provides charitable and benevolent programs in excess of $40 million annually. LB asked Padilla Speer Beardsley to help them develop a program which would further the mission of its youth initiative, and build awareness for it.

The Strategy

PSB developed the RespecTeen "Speak for Yourself" program and the RespecTeen National Youth Forum...with 1995 being the program's seventh year. The "Speak for Yourself" curriculum is distributed to more than 70,000 social studies teachers in middle schools nationwide. A portion of the curriculum is an exercise for students to write their member of Congress on an issue of importance to young people. Winning letters are recognized from students in each participating congressional district, and one winner is selected per state and the District of Columbia. The 51 winning students, each with one parent, receive an all expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to learn about Congress and to learn more about how different points of view are translated into public policy in our government.

The Results

PSB has scheduled more than 1,000 Congressional visits throughout the seven years of the program, enabling each student and parent to meet with the two senators from their state and their U.S. representative to present their issue and views. Every member of Congress is reached 3-6 times each year through this program, reinforcing LB's presence in their district.

PSB works with LB to line up speakers from the administration and other government agencies and departments to speak at the forum, and assists in developing other programing components. PSB also manages the publicity for the program which reaches more than 50 million people around the nation each year. Congressional offices see the program as extremely well-run, efficient and a positive experience for members of Congress.