Case Studies 2008 - 2009

Good child care is a community resource that supports families, contributes to economic productivity, and nurtures children's growth.

Founded in 1975 to coordinate, assist and strengthen child care services in our community. Child Care Solutions provides information and resources to parents, providers, employers, and community leaders who seek solutions to their child care needs.

Child Care Solutions is a not-for-profit organization committed to making child care work for this community. We are Onondaga County's child care connection.

comm.UNITY wanted to help Child Care Solutions by developing more attention-grabbing advertisements. By studying their pervious ads and mediums in which they advertised, we were able to create more appealing layouts to attract the target audience. Our main objective in working with Child Care Solutions was to provide them with print advertisements and posters that would look appealing and that would hold the attention of their target audience.

In order to implement our campaign, we worked as a group to come up with our main goals and objectives. After this, we explored the target audience and discussed different media options. Ultimately our main goal was to walk away with a final designed product that Child Care Solutions would be able to use in their advertising campaign.

Our team was able to successfully provide Child Care Solutions with print advertisements and posters to use. Here are our results:

On Point for College, Inc., is dedicated to making higher education accessible to low-income youths who have the desire and the will to continue their education, but who feel college is out of reach due to economic, academic and other barriers.

comm.UNITY sat down to brainstorm with Ginny Donohue, the founder of On Point for College, George Nazzaro, who has volunteered with On Point for several years, and Dave Cusano, a new volunteer at On Point who would oversee some of our student activity. Ginny and George listed several projects that they suggested we work with over the course of the year. The list included revamping both the website and newsletter, help with planning and building designs for the 10th Anniversary Dinner in April, archiving news articles about On Point and initiating a poster campaign to get the word out about the organization.

We held meetings weekly to convene as a team and talk about where we were with our projects and to discuss obstacles we were facing. Everyone as a whole – even if they were not on that particular subcommittee – helped to brainstorm. In addition to these weekly meetings, subcommittees met separately after our general meetings.

Overall, the quality of all our work was of a very high caliber; the students working on these projects cared about what they were doing. Substantial work was completed for the organization's website, newsletters and posters.

Click the images below to view PDFs of the posters we produced.

The mission of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site is to provide direct support for children who are victims of physical or sexual abuse as well as professionals working to address the issue of child abuse. McMahon/Ryan uses advocacy and education to inform the public about child abuse and other related traumas as well as to ensure that victims receive necessary treatment and assistance. The Site also uses education to inform the public of different ways to report cases of child abuse to authorities.

The Site seeks to make a difference by providing a centralized location for coordination of the multiple disciplines within Onondaga County working on behalf of abused children.

We focused on two large, short-term projects. The first was the Kids Helping Kids poster contest and art show. Fourth, fifth and sixth graders and high school students made posters centered around the theme "Kids helping kids" and got to vote online for the winner at the end of the competition. Fourth, fifth and sixth graders that won the competition received the prize of a bike, while high school students that won were awarded an ipod.

The second project was Pinwheels for Prevention. Pinwheels were planted all around the Syracuse area, in front of schools, in a park, at a hospital, etc. Cutouts were to be sold that represented each pinwheel, symbolizing the idea of "saving one child."

To plan both of these large projects, we had to collaborate extensively with the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site. Brainstorming sessions helped us to decide what concrete things we would accomplish to help promote the events and to really help the projects materialize and be successful.

In the first week of mall sales we made over 70 dollars seeling 70 pinwheels with a supporter's name attached to each one. The flyer turned out to be a success, and the brochure conveys the Site's message much clearer than it did before. Our short term projects were completed well and with style. The Site was satisfied with our work as well.

The Adult Services Department has five program areas that provide a full range of emergency and practical assistance services including homeless prevention and intervention services, shelter services, supportive housing services, mental health outreach, support and advocacy services and a full range of services for older adults and developmentally disabled adults through the Adult Day Center programs.

The Salvation Army Adult Center asked us to help them celebrate the center’s 60th Anniversary by creating a short video, a photo booklet, and a time capsule presentation.

After meeting with the group members, we decided that anyone could help out with any project they liked. We organized our team based on people’s strengths and interests. We had Television/Radio/Film students assemble the video, while students with other expertise worked on the photo booklet and time capsule.

Our projects will help the Salvation Army Adult Center celebrate their 60th Anniversary, but they will do more than that. The projects are updated records of the center’s history. The video, the photo booklet, and the time capsule will help the center and its members remember what the center is really all about in the future.

"The Salvation Army greatly benefited from the time and effort put forth by comm.UNITY. The group of students working to create an archive for the 60th Anniversary of our Senior Center were professional, friendly and diligent in their work. comm.UNITY is a great asset to the Syracuse area."
-Lynn Hy of The Salvation Army Adult Center

Below are a few images from the Adult Center.

Transitional Living Services (TLS) is committed to the process of enabling persons with disabilities to reach their fullest potential, to live and work as valued and involved community members, to live and work as valued and involved community members.

To accomplish this purpose, TLS offers supportive residential and outreach services in community settings principally to Onondaga County residents who have disabilities. Support services are also offered to families.

Originally, there were three projects assigned to comm.UNITY by TLS: To help a person TLS serves by organizing, designing and publishing a book of his poetry, to teach staff members how to use recording equipment to tape people's personal stories, and to teach staff how to use ULead video editing software.

The poetry book became the priority project, and the team began by meeting with Aileen Jackowsky of TLS to learn the requirements and parameters. The goal of the project was to validate the poet Mark Ellis’ passion by publishing his work in a form that was more accessible to a broader audience.

The team was able to help Mark Ellis accomplish his dream by publishing his work and making it available for a broader audience, via on-demand printing on This goal, one that Jackowsky shared, would not have happened this quickly without the dedication of the comm.UNITY project team.

The project team successfully completed two of its original three goals (the client discontinued the third) and completed an additional goal. The client learned new technology and publishing information; a community member achieved one of his dreams; and Syracuse University students participated in scholarship in action.

"The students knew how to listen to an idea and bring it into reality ... They used great time management and organizational skills; the project manager was a gem."
-Aileen Jackowsky of Transitional Living Services

To the right is a page from Mark Ellis' Where the Light Shines Bright. The book is available for purchase at

It is the mission of Vera House, Inc. to end all domestic and sexual violence, to assist families in crisis, to support those affected by domestic and sexual violence to live safe, self-sufficient lives, to empower women and children, and to promote a culture of equality and respect in all relationships.

comm.UNITY was asked to design posters to promote the Vera House’s annual event "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," we also wrote press releases prior to the event, and took photographs at the event.

Public relations majors worked together in groups to write press releases, photography majors and students who were comfortable with their photography skills took pictures at the event, and the remaining students broke up into pairs and designed posters using Adobe InDesign.

We immediately began meeting and the press release and poster teams began meeting individually very quickly because they needed to be finished with the press release and posters by the first week in March so they could be used to promote the event on March 27, 2009.

The best part of our project was that the people involved were really committed. They put in a lot of time to creating designs that they really believed would spread awareness. The poster we designed ended up being used on all of the large posters that people carried during the walk. It also was emailed out to their entire listserv prior to the event to encourage participation. They plan on using the photographs we took for both their website and print materials that show the different events they sponsor each year. The Vera House was really appreciative and pleased with our work and we were equally appreciative at the opportunity to get involved in the local community that they gave us.

We are a community center that seeks to serve not only the local Westcott area, but the entire metropolitan Syracuse area.

Our goal is to provide a safe, accessible community space for activities and programs that meet community needs; strengthening and uniting the community by brining together its diverse elements; and raising conscious awareness through public education, art and to promote the full inclusion of all persons.

We are a venue for classes, dramatic performances, celebrations, community meetings, and much more.

The Westcott Community Center asked for comm.UNITY's assistance to increase the number of attendants at its senior programs, as well as develop a visually appealing video that would display the diversity of services and events that the center offers. The purpose of the video was to help promote the variety of activities and programs that the center provides.

In order to effectively work on the two projects, the team was divided into two smaller project groups based on members' interest and experience. A visit to the center was the most beneficial step in determining the direction that the projects should go.

The team finished the insert for the brochure, edited the brochure, and sent it out to the contact at the Westcott Community Center before the deadline. The majority of the team agreed that carrying the project into the next semester was the best option so that they did not have to rush and could use the time to create a more effective video.

Below are a few of the deliverables produced for the Westcott Community Center. The video illustrates the diversity of programs available at the Center, and beneath the video are PDFs of the brochure and inserts we created.

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