Journalism students launch campaign to help children with cancer

Young patients at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital will receive care packages, thanks to a group of students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

A group of young women and local elementary-age girls spent the afternoon today (Feb. 25) assembling care packages for children battling cancer. They decorated boxes and filled them with books, gift cards, assorted goodies, uplifting messages and hand-drawn pictures.

The event was organized by a group of five students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications as a part of an ongoing public relations campaign for the Bateman Case Competition.

The students comprise one of two Bateman Teams at Carolina. The journalism school’s Bateman course divides students into groups to create campaigns for the national case competition.

Sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the annual Bateman competition challenges students around the country to develop and implement a comprehensive public relations campaign for a real client.

This year, PRSSA chose the nonprofit organization With Purpose as the client for the case competition. Founded in Charleston, With Purpose ensures children diagnosed with cancer have access to safe and effective treatment. It raises money for childhood cancer treatment and research by empowering young people to organize events in their communities.

Journalism students Margarette Ruth Snell, Margaret Dalton, Amanda Campbell, Julie Heidenreich and Rachel Barnett created the Columbia-based mentorship program Girls With Purpose to support and raise awareness for With Purpose. The program launched on Feb. 15.

Girls With Purpose pairs college-age students and young girls to complete service activities that also promote female empowerment, local involvement and leadership. The creation of care packages for children at Palmetto Health is the program’s first mentoring event.

To ensure their program’s success, the Bateman Team students have forged partnerships with local colleges, nonprofits, businesses, student organizations, media outlets and prominent women in the community.

Among them is university first lady Patricia Moore-Pastides, Her Campus, Richland County Library, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and Leeza’s Care Connection.

Dalton says the Columbia community has been extremely responsive.

“We’ve had a lot of people reach out about being mentors, and as far as the younger community and their parents, they have been really supportive as well,” Dalton says. “There has also been a lot of awesome support from places that we might not have even originally expected to see it coming from. Students from other universities have reached out asking if they can help from their campuses.”

Moving forward, the Bateman Team will continue to organize Girls With Purpose initiatives until their campaign ends in March. They will then evaluate their work and submit their campaign to PRSSA headquarters in April. After that, it will be up to a panel of public relations professionals to judge the campaigns and choose three finalists who will present their work to With Purpose representatives.

Dalton says she is excited to evaluate their campaign and submit it for judging.

“I’m optimistic that our campaign will be successful, so I’m looking forward to finalizing our book,” Dalton says. “This experience has been a great way to apply what I’ve learned in the journalism school to an actual real life scenario and make a lot of important connections and relationships.”

For more information about Girls With Purpose, contact Dalton at

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