Gina Elise, founder of the organization Pinups for Vets, is making difference through creating a World War II era pin-up calendar.
That is why when Jennahway Huerta, senior public affairs major, learned Elise needed some public relations help, she jumped at the opportunity, and parlayed this good cause into a public affairs senior project.
Elise, a UCLA graduate, began the calendar project – for which she herself poses in various 1940s style wigs and fashion – five years ago.
To date she has raised $50,000 for various veterans’ affairs and military hospitals.
“The idea was born after hearing horror stories of troops returning home to under-funded healthcare programs (of) veterans who lay in bed day after day, never receiving any visitors,” Elise said.
“I got into contact with Gina and after hearing her stories, I wanted to help,” Huerta said.
Elise’s organization has three main purposes: to raise money for hospitalized veterans; to deliver calendars as gifts to sick and injured veterans; and to send calendars to current troops serving overseas.
It is important to let the current troops, as well as the veterans, know that Americans back home are thinking about them and are thankful for their service.
“My goal is to visit at least one hospital in every state,” Elise said. “I have been to 13 states so far and only 37 to go!”
Huerta work began during the month of January, when she coordinated Elise’s 2011 calendar release party.
Working with budget of zero, Huerta arranged the event at the Broadway Bar in downtown Los Angeles.
Performers at the event included 1940s singer and the Lalas, a Los Angeles group of burlesque dancers. The event also included a raffle and goodie bags.
“This opportunity allowed me to gain knowledge and experience in the P.R. world,” Huerta said.
Huerta’s public relations efforts got the event listed in the Los Angeles Times Calendar section and the Channel 4 News team showed up to cover it as well.
Maia Kinsinger, Huerta’s senior project adviser and associate professor of communications, was impressed with the results.
“Her initiative drove the success of the project,” Kinsinger said. “She really dedicated herself to it.”
If you missed the Lalas’ event, do not worry.
Huerta is still working on the Pinups for Vets public relations campaign, which will include another event March 31 at T-Phillips in downtown La Verne.
For more information, visit pinupsforvets.com.
Rachel Creagan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.