Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by one of PPAZ’s interns, Cassidy Olson. Cassidy is an Arizona native who was born and raised in Prescott. She is currently studying public relations at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and will be graduating in December. Cassidy has been interned in the communications and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona, December 2010 through May 2011.
My internship in the communication and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) came about really by happenstance; however, it turned into something greater than I could have expected. As a member of Arizona State University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I participated in an event called “Shadow Day.” During Shadow Day, each PRSSA member was matched with a business in Phoenix to visit for a day to learn how the public relations department at each organization functioned. I had always been interested in the nonprofit side of public relations, so when I found out that I had been matched with PPAZ for the day, I was eager to learn more about nonprofit PR for a couple of hours. Never had I expected my short visit would turn into an internship lasting five months.
When I met Cynde Cerf, communication and marketing manager at PPAZ, I was in awe of the fact that she was able to manage the entire PPAZ communication department by herself. Because of this, when Cynde mentioned she was on the look-out for interns, I thought it might be a fun opportunity to learn a few things and help out. In all reality, the internship did much more than that for me. Continue reading
Has the current assault on women’s right to choose and women’s health care made you want to take action to defend these basic rights? One of the ways you can do that is to become a Community Action Team (CAT) Volunteer at Planned Parenthood Arizona. If you’d like to help but you’re hesitating because you’re concerned about how well you would do talking about these important issues with people or legislators, I have good news for you!
Planned Parenthood has very good volunteer training programs that will help you feel confident and comfortable when meeting people. Also, new volunteers are always teamed with at least one other more experienced volunteer so you can learn by talking with, and watching, your fellow volunteers.
I have been volunteering with the Planned Parenthood Arizona CAT for three years and these training sessions have been really helpful. One of the training sessions I attended is called, “Talking About Tricky Subjects.” It is reassuring to know that just about everyone has the same concerns. What if I freeze up? What if I can’t remember a bunch of facts and figures to reel off? What if I just get mad and defensive? Continue reading
I was raised in a very conservative family- sex was not discussed openly, but you certainly did not want a reputation as a “loose girl.” How that could happen was up to me to figure out, but it had something to do with boys. When I got to college, it was the late sixties, and love, free sex and birth control pills were everywhere! How could I deal with these new freedoms? I was excited by the ideas, but scared of the consequences if I made the wrong choices. In the back of my mind, I was consoled by the thought of Planned Parenthood – somewhere I could go if there were questions or issues that I could never discuss at home.
I married and raised two daughters in a home where I hoped we could discuss most anything. I always tried to convey these thoughts: ask me, I love you, trust me, I will not lie, and if I don’t know the answer, we will find out. Of course, mothers and daughters cannot always discuss everything without some embarrassment or judgement, so when they were away at university, I told them, “go to Planned Parenthood – they will always be there for you.” Continue reading
Tabling with VOX at Terry Goddard's rally at the UofA
I started volunteering for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona when I moved to Tucson for my sophomore year of college. I was drawn to Planned Parenthood because I saw in the organization a combination of two things I wanted to be a part of: pro-choice feminism and political activism. My first event was a crowd canvass at a local street fair. I was not the sort of person who regularly spoke to strangers, let alone asked them for their signatures on pro-choice petitions. But I quickly got over the awkwardness and discovered I loved it. People were overwhelmingly supportive and grateful for our presence. There were those who ignored us and moved on, but they were few and far between. I remember the men and women who smiled, not the ones who rolled their eyes.
The next few events I attended were much of the same. People were friendly and supportive. I kept volunteering for the rest of the year and began attending VOX (Voices for Planned Parenthood) meetings as well.
This past summer I returned home to Illinois to spend the school break with my family. Bored and unemployed, I applied for an internship with Planned Parenthood of Illinois, and a few months later got the job. Continue reading
Canvassing in LD17 with David Schapira
“She heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the doors. They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore. God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes. ‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose.”
I remember hearing those Everlast lyrics one day when I was a teenager. My thoughts were very different then, but I was at a different stage in my life. I was a devout Baptist.
As a doting follower, I felt that part of my salvation relied upon opposing abortion. What did that mean to me? That there were lost souls in the world “killing babies” and that it was my duty to stop this atrocity. It meant that I was right because I had the Bible and Jesus Christ on my side, and anyone who opposed me was blinded by Satan and obviously wrong. To be frank, I knew absolutely nothing about abortion; not what it truly was or the reasons for women seeking it. I opposed it because my faith told me to, and it wasn’t a big deal to me.
A few years later, I feel that I was given a dose of my own medicine. Continue reading
Volunteering at the PPAZ office
I believe in Planned Parenthood. I believe in reproductive freedom, the right to choose, medically accurate sexuality education for all people, access to all reproductive medical care options and, especially, freedom from harassment for women who make that choice.
I am here for Planned Parenthood because I remember my high school years. I grew up in Santa Monica, California and I was educated in the Catholic school system. The best part was this was the early to mid-’70s. There was still kind of a ‘hangover’ from the late ’60s to early ’70s with ‘free love’, ‘summer of love’ and Woodstock. The ‘hangover’ was evident in our high school. The school administration was unabashedly liberal. They actually believed that ‘sex ed’ should be more than just some put-upon phys ed instructor, usually the football coach, trying to maintain order amongst a group of giggling teenagers and passing on some hard-won information about reproduction, sexual intercourse, birth and STDs.
The administration set up a balance of courses that the students passed through at each grade level. Freshman usually started with just the regular catechism courses. These taught the church’s position with regard to birth control and the role of sexual intercourse inside and outside marriage. This was required; after all, we were a Catholic high school. Continue reading
Volunteering at Tucson Pride
Several years ago I attended a speech by actress Kathleen Turner, who was a national spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Federation of America at the time. Turner told the college audience about how she had relied on Planned Parenthood’s health care services when she was a student, and she encouraged all of us to take advantage of the services offered there, too. But, she told us, when we were in a position to give back to Planned Parenthood, we had an obligation to do so.
I volunteer at Planned Parenthood to fulfill that obligation. For more than ten years, I have depended on Planned Parenthood to provide affordable health care. When I haven’t been able to afford a Pap smear, I have been able to count on Planned Parenthood to help me out. When I needed information about pro-choice ballot issues or electoral candidates, I turned to Planned Parenthood to give me reliable information. No matter what, I know that I can count on Planned Parenthood to be there for me. Which is why I have made up my mind to be there for them. Continue reading