Students Win Prestigious Award for Forming Peoria's First Youth Neighborhood Association

May 20, 2019

In a 2018 State of the City Address, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis gave his community a call to action - "Consider taking a strong, active role in your neighborhood association. If you don't have one, start one." A group of Bradley University public relations students saw this call to action as an opportunity for them to make a difference.

For these students' senior capstone project, they formed a public relations agency, MK PR. Their goal was to address the lack of youth participation in Peoria neighborhood associations. This goal was decided upon after discovering that of the 119 active Peoria neighborhood associations, no members are under the age of 21 as of January 2019; the majority of members are aged over 30.

Together, these Bradley students brought young voices into community conversations through the creation of Peoria's first and only youth neighborhood association, West Bluff HomeSpace. This new neighborhood association included four teenagers who served as the inaugural executive board. They were joined by five community leaders as mentors to the students. Last month, West Bluff HomeSpace's first meeting took place in the Quest Academy High School cafeteria. Members of all ages in the community attended this successful event that included student discussion and remarks from The City of Peoria Community Development Department as well as Peoria Magazines.

For their efforts, the team was awarded the Spring 2019 Ebeling PR-ize™. MK PR consists of:

(Pictured L to R)

William (Kyle) Powers, Senior
Hometown: Morehead, KY
Major: Public Relations

Misa Nagase, Senior
Hometown: Normal, IL
Major: Public Relations

Meghan Anderson, Senior
Hometown: Jackson, WI
Major: Public Relations

Kristin Drew, Senior
Hometown: Mount Morris, IL
Major: Public Relations

(and Chuck Ebeling)

The Ebeling PR-ize™ was conceived by Bradley alumnus Chuck Ebeling and faculty member Dr. Ron Koperski in 2004, and is a competitive program among Bradley’s senior public relations students in their capstone course. Students form “agency” teams and are responsible for planning and implementing a real, coordinated public relations campaign on behalf of a local business and a compatible community service organization. Campaign submissions and judging criteria are based on the nationally recognized Silver Anvil Award competition administered by the Public Relations Society of America.