Archive for the ‘Local Schools’ Category

Community National Bank and Susan Farb Public Relations

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Since Community National Bank’s (CNB) grand opening in June 2002, Susan Farb Public Relations counseled the bank to embody its name, “Community.” In fact, the firm created the theme of the bank’s grand opening, securing nine integral leaders of the Bellaire community — from the Bellaire Police Department to the Bellaire High School Belles, Boy Scouts to City Hall. A representative from each entity held up a letter at the grand opening to spell out the word, C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y.

Since then Susan Farb Public Relations has orchestrated the bank’s community service programs, beginning with partnering with the Bellaire Police Department on what has become an annual Free Child ID Kit Day. Soon after, the bank’s commitment to community continued with partnerships with the Bellaire Fire Department, civic groups, schools and organizations to sponsor programs that further promote the safety and well-being of children, families and the overall community. Citizens have responded to the programs very favorably in terms of their attendance, support and goodwill generated in the schools and the community overall.

Since August 2002, the bank has joined forces with the Bellaire Police Department to kick off National Night Out by administering free child identification (ID) kits to local families. The Bellaire P.D.’s community outreach officer will take children’s’ fingerprints and Polaroid photos of them.  For the seven of the past eight years the bank has collaborated with Bellaire Lions Club and McGruff the Crime Dog on the bank’s Free Child ID Kit Day. In addition to distributing free ID kits to participants, the bank gives each child a gift bag with a banking coloring book.  The program has been so well received that the bank now distributes free Child ID kits year-round on request. Susan Farb Public Relations handles the media relations for the event, which this year included in-studio television interviews on KPRC-TV Ch. 2 and FOX 26 morning news, a Univision Ch. 45 news story, announcements on KPRC-TV, KTRK-TV and KHOU-TV morning news, news articles in local weekly newspapers, listings on family-oriented and missing children websites and blogs as well as posting an SEO news release..

For the past seven consecutive years, CNB has co-sponsored the National Fire Prevention Week poster contest in Bellaire with the Bellaire Fire Department and Greater Southwest Chamber of Commerce. The program has helped teachers disseminate fire safety messages to thousands of Bellaire-area elementary school students and their families this year. Susan Farb Public Relations organizes the bank’s free celebration for the poster contest winners and runners up from Kindergarten through fifth grade from the schools, as well as their parents and siblings. The event includes an educational presentation by the Bellaire Fire Marshal, an appearance by Sparky the Fire Dog and the display of a Bellaire Fire Truck. CNB rewards all runners up and first-place winners with honorable mention and blue ribbons while the best overall winner received a plaque from the Chamber. CNB displays the children’s Fire Prevention posters in its lobby for two weeks as a community service and a source of pride for the young artists on their fire safety mission.

Another well-received community event that is free to the public is CNB’s “The Great Bellaire Paper Shred,” which is growing at a significant pace every year. A project of Community National Bank, Iron Mountain® Secure Shredding and the Bellaire Police Department, it provides the opportunity for local citizens to receive free document shredding services to help minimize their risk of becoming victims of identity theft. Individuals could bring up to 100 pounds of paper to feed into Iron Mountain’s mobile shredding unit. More than 3,000 pounds of documents were collected in three hours at the first event; 4,500 pounds the second year and close to 9,000 pounds the third year.  In 2009, Susan Farb PR recommended moving the date of the event to be the first Saturday after April 15th Tax Day to generate greater publicity opportunities. With increased media coverage (television interviews and announcements, newspaper articles and SEO optimized news releases), the Great Bellaire Paper Shred truly lived up to its name. Two Iron Mountain shredding units were needed (capacity is 15,000 pounds of paper per unit) for the collection of 27,000 pounds of paper in three hours.

Double Rewards: Eastwood Academy Charter School Receives Capital One Bank Mosaic Benches and $3,000 SPARK Park Donation

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Houston – June 5, 2009…. Earning double rewards has taken on an entirely new meaning at Eastwood Academy Charter School, where Capital One Bank recently donated two mosaic tile benches and SPARK School Park Program donated $3,000 to the exemplary high school’s proposed SPARK Park. The dual gifts came as a result of a Non-Profit Partnership forged four years ago between the Art Colony Association, producer of Houston’s Bayou City Art Festivals, and SPARK School Park Program.

“Capital One Bank considers financial support of local non-profit organizations, such as the Art Colony Association, an investment in the future of our city and its people. As our physical presence has grown in Houston, so has our role as a corporate citizen. Houston is a great place to live and do business, and Capital One Bank is proud to be a leading corporate citizen here,” said Capital One Bank-Houston President Annella Metoyer.

Eastwood Academy students have performed outstanding community service on behalf of SPARK at the Bayou City Art Festival’s Capital One Bank Creative Zone. It just made perfect sense for the two Art BaYOU! mosaic benches created at this spring’s Festival to be donated to their school, according to Art Colony Association Executive Director Kim Stoilis. For the past four years, Eastwood Academy students have provided the volunteer support required by the Art Colony Association for SPARK to be a Bayou City Art Festival Non-Profit Partner.

At a recent bench dedication ceremony at the school, SPARK Executive Director Kathleen Ownby also commended Eastwood Academy’s teen volunteers, 40 to 45 students per festival, and announced SPARK’s donation of their $3,000 check from Art Colony Association’s Non-Profit Partner distribution to be used toward the development of Eastwood Academy’s own SPARK Park. A $75,000 fundraising campaign is underway for the park, which is set to feature a running track. Once funded, the park will be completed in 12 to 18 months at the Houston Independent School District charter school, 1315 Dumble, East of downtown.

Bayou City Art Festival goers of all ages joined Houston artist GONZO247 and CKC StART Street & Urban Arts to make the pair of mosaic masterpieces at Art BaYOU!, a hands-on, collaborative public art project at the Festival. GONZO247 also teaches art classes at Eastwood Academy. His students have painted a mural on their school and have created art totems on campus. Ranked the #3 art festival in the country by the readers of AmericanStyle Magazine (Feb. ’09), Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park received two 2008 International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) Gold Pinnacle Awards and was named “Best Festival in Houston” by the 2008 Houston Press “Best of Houston” magazine.

Over the past 37 years, the Art Colony Association, the 501c(3) organization that produces the Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park and Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, has raised more than $2.5 million for local non-profit organizations. The SPARK School Park Program is a non-profit organization operating out of the City of Houston Mayor’s office. Developed in 1983 as a way to increase park space in Houston, SPARK was created by former City Council Member Eleanor Tinsley to develop public school grounds into neighborhood parks. An inter-local agreement (one of the first in Houston) between the city, the Houston Parks Board and the school district, formally established the SPARK program. SPARK combines the resources of the Department of Housing and Community Development, seven local school districts, Harris County, the private sector, neighborhood group, PTA/PTO groups and concerned citizens.

The City of Houston, Budweiser Select, Capital One Bank, Legacy at Memorial, Houston Parks & Recreation Department and KTRK-TV are the Festival sponsors. The Festival is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. For further information about Bayou City Art Festivals, check or call (713) 521-0133.

Firethorne and Susan Farb Public Relations

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Susan Farb Public Relations has been public relations agency of record since the 1,400-acre master designed development began marketing home sites in spring 2005.  The firm’s very first publicity placement was an article on the development of Houston’s “western-most” development that ran on the front page of the main section of the Sunday Houston Chronicle newspaper. The story included a color photo of the new Firethorne sign on the property.  That publicity placement has set the tone and the bar for publicity that complements the theme “Kindle the Spirit. . . . at Firethorne.”

The public relations campaign has embraced the evolution of Firethorne from a development of a handful of homes and homeowners to a true community of neighbors.  Susan Farb Public Relations uncovers “gems” of stories to then generate editorial coverage on television, radio and in print in the Katy and Houston-area media.  The projects cover a wide range of projects, including:

• Firethorne’s commissioned sculpture erected at the grand entrance (feature stories on the artist, who worked at the Brookwood Community, in several Katy publications and KTRK-TV Ch. 13’s “Hometown Live.”)

• “The Milkman Still Delivers” – Houston’s last home delivery milkman delivered free milk to new Firethorne residents as a “thank you” to new homeowners (News story in Houston Business Journal as well as Katy publications)

• Houston area’s first regulation Lacrosse Playing Fields – Major feature stories in Houston Business Journal (which ran in sister business journal publications nationwide); two days of pre- grand opening coverage, including a wild art photo of the finishing touches on the field, plus a Houston Chronicle Sports article; various Katy newspapers and magazines; and Health Sports & Fitness News Magazine.

• Fitness Center Director Peggy Skaggs – Susan Farb Public Relations took a basic announcement of the first personal trainer for the Firethorne Fitness Center and, upon learning of the trainer’s personal weight loss triumph and transformation to a certified fitness trainer, launched a publicity campaign. The results of which included feature stories in the Houston Chronicle “Health” section, KTRH Radio interviews, several Katy publications, and, ultimately, national coverage in Prevention magazine.

• Sandee Horton – David Weekley Homes/Firethorne  “Top Sales Consultant of the Year Award” – Susan Farb Public Relations launched a publicity effort that generated coverage in the local residential real estate media, Katy media and a “Faces in the Crowd” feature story in the Houston Chronicle Katy Neighborhood News.  Horton praised the benefits of the publicity/third-party editorial endorsement as follows:  “ . . .being named in the Houston Chronicle in the Katy Section, the Real Estate Section, and in Real Estate & You, has brought out some of the really wonderful Realtors and clients. I have had 3 Sales in the last couple of weeks, and I truly believe your putting this information in the publications has helped tremendously.”

• Sun Shade dedication at WoodCreek Elementary School – Firethorne, with Susan Farb Public Relations at the publicity helm, took the lead on media relations for the 2009 dedication of a new sun shade Firethorne helped sponsor for WoodCreek Elementary School.  Upon interviewing Beverly Tucker, the Firethorne mom in charge of fundraising for the giant sun shade, which covered the school’s playground equipment, Susan Farb Morris learned that Tucker’s son suffered from Alopecia Areata, an auto-immune disease that causes severe hair loss; Beverly’s motivation was to help protect her son from the intense rays of the sun while playing outdoors.  Agency principal Susan Farb Morris rallied the media to the Katy I.S.D. school’s playground for the sunshade opening ceremonies.  The media results included “live” coverage by the FOX 26 News Helicopter hovering overhead, Ch. 2 News, weather blogs on the, as well as feature stories in the Katy media, including a major byline story in Katy Magazine.

Firethorne is a big believer in being involved it the local community, whether sponsoring charitable events, donating sponsorships, helping its residents respond to community needs, mentoring students and many other activities.  Susan Farb Public Relations works hand-in-hand with Firethorne’s marketing director to complement the community service program through a series of concentrated media relations campaigns.

The agency’s most recent publicity effort landed a significant feature story on Firethorne’s third anniversary and its exceptional home sales to date in the Houston Chronicle “Neighborhood News” – Katy (July 30, 2009.)  Published on and in print, the story was extremely positive, focusing attention on Firethorne’s community spirit through the hearts and minds of its residents.  The news story helped generate exceptional traffic at Firethorne in the heat of the summer that weekend, normally a slow time in real estate.  For the week ending Sunday, August 2 Firethorne sold a phenomenal amount — seven homes.

Firethorne Resident Spearheads PTA Fundraising Campaign: Shade Structure Dedicated at Woodcreek Elementary in Katy/Fulshear

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Katy/Fulshear, TX – February 23, 2009. . . . Thanks to the PTA, industrious Firethorne mom Beverly Tucker and generous donors, Katy/Fulshear-area students at WoodCreek Elementary School now can play outside and still be protected from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. According to the school’s 2008-009 PTA President Diane Pharr, Tucker spearheaded the PTA’s campaign to raise $28,500 to construct a shade structure to cover the school’s playground at 1155 WoodCreek Bend Lane in Katy.

“This shade not only shields our students from the sun, but it adds value to our campus,” said WoodCreek Elementary School Principal Ronnie Mosher. “And the kids absolutely love it!” Mosher lead the morning dedication of the new structure Friday, February 20, with the 1,100-member student body wearing “shades” (sunglasses and caps), PTA President Pharr, several Katy-area project donors and Ms. Tucker on hand.

“Our mission is to enhance our children’s education, their lives and the lives of the school staff,” said Pharr. “With the intensity of the UV rays we get in Texas, we thought it would be a good idea to have this sun shade on our children’s school playground.” Tucker, who has two sons at the school, responded to then-PTA President Beth Toot’s request for a volunteer to write a grant for the American Academy of Dermatology’s Shade Structure Program in March 2007. The Academy grants awards of $8,000 to purchase permanent shade structures to non-profit organizations that serve children and teenagers, ages 18 and under.

The Firethorne full-time mom was the perfect grant writer and advocate for the school’s shade structure project. Not only had Tucker worked as a professional fundraiser, but she has a son who has an autoimmune disease, Alopecia Areata, which causes severe hair loss and therefore makes him susceptible to overexposure to the sun, noted Pharr. Local dermatologist Kelly H. Duncan, M.D., who has extensive dermatologic cancer training at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dept. of Dermatology, provided the required Academy member sponsorship for the grant, which was awarded in May 2007. ”I am thrilled that Woodcreek Elementary has an appropriate shade structure for the children while at recess. Early and consistent photo protection early in life can significantly reduce or eliminate a child’s risk for developing skin cancer or malignant melanoma in adulthood,” said Dr. Duncan. The PTA then gave $7,000 toward the project, which left Tucker another $20,500 to raise.

As a new homeowner in the Firethorne master-designed community, Tucker approached Firethorne General Manager Wayne Meyer to support the neighborhood project.  Firethorne agreed to donate $4,000, as did WoodCreek Reserve and Pine Mill Ranch residential communities in Katy/Fulshear. BP-Fabric of America and Montreaux Luxury Homes contributed $1,000 and $500, respectively. The American Academy of Dermatology provides a permanent sign to be displayed near the shade structure promoting the importance of sun safety. The Academy receives support for this program from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company.

Firethorne is a 1,400-acre master-designed community that combines the vibrancy of West Houston with the small-town charm of Katy/Fulshear. It is strategically located on FM 1463 near the crossroads of the 1-10 West corridor, Westpark Tollway and the Grand Parkway. For info, go to, or call 281-395-1440, ext. 115.

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