The scenes include that of a woman providing a community service by sweeping streets in downtown Bradford, as well as a testimonial from a man who credits the YWCA Bradford for helping him with everyday life.
Those scenes are part of the recent airing of a television advertisement designed to share a snippet of what the YW does for individuals and families in the community in need of help or services.
Angela Erway, development and marketing director for the YW, said she is pleased that people are seeing the 30-second spots on television, as it lets the community see just some of the services the agency provides.
“This is something that we have been wanting to do for a long time, as we frequently hear that people don’t know what all the YWCA does, or all of the services and programs that we offer,” Erway said. “I still hear that people don’t realize that we serve men; they only think of the YWCA as a place for women and children. The YWCA Bradford has been serving all of McKean County for several years, yet people remain unfamiliar with us.”
Because of this, she said YW officials “knew it was time to make distinct marketing decisions in an attempt for the YWCA to show its significance throughout our communities.”
Erway said they started the ad process by choosing two individuals who have received services from each of the agency’s three programs, for a total of six program participants.
“Those who took part in the filming are walking billboards for the YWCA, and truly spoke from their hearts; we just needed a means of capturing it for others to see,” Erway explained.
She said the three programs featured are Housing and Employment Services which includes the homeless shelter and Street Outreach; the Mental Health, Development Disabilities Program; and the Victims’ Resource Program, which includes the domestic violence shelter and all domestic violence and sexual assault services.
“(The ads) will be aired on numerous stations based on the digital plan we have with Spectrum Reach, with a focus on stations with the most viewership, notably Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, TBS and the major news networks,” Erway continued. “Our initial contract with Spectrum is for six months, but we intend to extend beyond that.”
Erway also noted the ads coincide with the relaunch of the YW’s capital campaign, which now plans to construct a new agency headquarters and shelter at the site of the former Second Ward School, following its demolition.
Nathan Lawyer, a case worker at the YW shelter, provided additional information on the ads, which were designed and filmed this summer.
“We were very fortunate to have donors who offered the funds they had given toward the capital campaign to be used for these commercials,” Lawyer remarked. “Because the biggest challenge the YW faces is no one really knows what we do. So we had participants willing to share their story.”
He said they include a woman named Betty who often sweeps in front of businesses on Main Street. Others featured include a man named Gary, and a woman named Shannon, both of whom have been helped by the YW.
“(Shannon) had received services a few times in her life through the YW,” Lawyer commented. “When we asked her to be in the commercial, she got real emotional. She said, ‘I can’t always give money to the YW when I want to,’ but to be able to share her story to help the YW” was her contribution.
Lawyer said awareness of people helped by the YW is important to share, as ongoing support is needed from communities in the county.
“I just had somebody ask me questions about our homeless shelter,” he added, before providing an example of those served. “At any point, we have 18 families on our waiting list … one day we got six calls from people who were physically living on the streets.”