Westfield State University Students Launch Campaign to Raise Awareness, Funds for Rick’s Place

Nov 29, 2023
Westfield State University class of Advanced Public Relations pose in front of a poster design for “Stick Together with Rick’s Place Where Hope Scores Big,” campaign.

Westfield State University class of Advanced Public Relations pose in front of a poster design for “Stick Together with Rick’s Place Where Hope Scores Big,” campaign. 

Westfield State University Advanced Public Relations students are launching a campaign, “Stick Together with Rick’s Place Where Hope Scores Big,” to raise awareness and funds for Rick’s Place. The non-profit has been a source of comfort for grieving children, teenagers ages 5 to 18, and their families, since it was founded in 2007.

Headquartered in Wilbraham, Mass., Rick’s Place provides grief support programs for families throughout Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut.

The campaign will feature multiple events aimed at creating awareness for the organization and collecting donations for a Cricut Maker and Foldable Floor Chairs enhancing the aid provided to youth who need support.

In order to meet their goal, students are inviting the community to join events featuring games and raffles with prizes including a Stanley Cup tumbler, Apple AirPods, and other items. The three events are:

  • Saturday, December 2, at 5:35 p.m., at the Westfield State Hockey game versus UMass Dartmouth at Amelia Park Arena, 21 S Broad St, Westfield.
  • Tuesday, December 5, 11-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., inside Tim and Jeanne’s Dining Commons, Westfield State University, 577 Western Ave. Westfield.
  • Saturday, December 9, 12-5 p.m., outside Target in the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, 50 Holyoke St, Holyoke.

The social media public awareness campaign will take place via @hopescoresbig and hashtags #hopescoresbig and #goalsforsupport.

“We extend our sincere gratitude to Westfield State University's Communication Department for choosing to collaborate with Rick’s Place. Working with such engaged and forward-thinking students has been a pleasure. Their efforts to raise awareness about the impact of grief on youth and families and our free services are invaluable. We believe that together we can make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need of grief support,” shared Therese Ross, Executive Director for Rick’s Place. “We look forward to a continued partnership and the positive outcomes that their efforts will bring to those navigating the challenging journey of grief.”

Rick’s Place was founded in honor of Rick Thorpe, who grew up in Wilbraham and lost his life in the World Trade Center on 9/11. By providing a comforting place where people may process their loss, pay tribute to their loved ones, and get specialized support, the organization strives to connect with a wide range of people.

The organization provides a variety of services, such as read-aloud programs at local schools, grief support groups, evening caregiver support groups, child support groups for kids ages five to 18, and training for teachers and mental health professionals.

“The Westfield State Communication Department’s Advance Public Relations course partners with a local non-profit each semester to help the community through its civic engagement program,” said Westfield State Adjunct Professor of Communication Suzanne Boniface. “Students in this class use the skills they have acquired from their studies and gain practical experience for their future careers.” She added that her students’ campaign will increase awareness of the services Rick’s Place provides and help them purchase necessary supplies for their program.  

Donations to the campaign can be made by Venmo @hopescoresbig or by visiting https://ricksplacema.org/donate/.

If you have questions or want to learn more about the campaign, please email Professor Suzanne Boniface at sboniface@westfield.ma.edu.