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Westchester High School Students Sought for United Way’s 'Voices for 2-1-1'

United Way of Westchester and Putnam, CEO and President, Alana Sweeny reviews the 2014 "Voices for 211" contest winners with Westchester County Executive, Rob Astorino, in the county’s editing room. Photo Credit: Submitted
United Way of Westchester and Putnam, CEO and President, Alana Sweeny discusses the "Voices for 211" contest with Putnam County Executive, MaryEllen Odell and contest judge, Joseph Demarzo, Deputy Commissioner of the Putnam County Mental Health/Socia Photo Credit: Submitted

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. --  United Ways in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam are partnering with County Executives Robert P. Astorino and MaryEllen Odell in challenging area high school students to participate in the second annual “Voices for 2-1-1” public service announcement (PSA) contest.

The contest begins this Feb. 11 – National 2-1-1 Day. The competition aims to increase awareness of United Way's 2-1-1 helpline, while offering teenagers the opportunity to further develop their skills and to learn about careers in communications and media. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners and the winning PSA’s will be broadcast by 100.7 WHUD.

“Last year, we were very impressed with the submissions, and the students gained valuable insight into what they can expect from a career in the competitive communications industry,” said Alana Sweeny, president and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam.   In 2014, Raéchel Peterson, a senior at the BOCES Tech Center at Yorktown took first place for the inaugural PSA contest with her powerful submission: “When you have too much on your plate call 2-1-1.”

“Many of our residents are not aware of the valuable services offered through United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline,” Astorino said. “With the help of our smart and creative high school students, we can change that, while at the same time cultivate these young minds for successful careers in communication.”   “United Way’s 2-1-1 is a critical service to Putnam County,” said MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive “I am so glad to see students, not only gaining experience, but also spreading the word to people in need about how to get help. ”   The top three winners in each category (radio PSA and video PSA) will be chosen by a panel of judges representing media, government, nonprofit and corporate communications. The judges will also host a “Careers in Communications Day” at the three schools with the highest number of PSA submissions.   The Westchester shopping mall in White Plains is the awards sponsor, providing first ($100), second ($75) and third ($50) place cash prizes to the winners.   Additional information, last year’s winning videos, rules of entry, and applications are available at or by calling 914-997-6700 x720.

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