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The Grateful Garment Project by Noah Sanchez

Professor Richard Rossi’s Public Relations Cases and Campaigns class is currently working with the San Jose based non-profit organization The Grateful Garment Project. His class is planning and setting up a public relations campaign for the non-profit. “In this class, the students are creating a PR campaign for The Grateful Garment organization. A majority of the students have taken some of the other public relations courses I teach before this PR Campaigns class so they are familiar with the steps to start a campaign and all of the different things they need to do. I feel that with a strong PR campaign, we can really help The Grateful Garment Project reach their goal of 20,000 sports bras for Operation emBRAce,” said Professor Richard Rossi.

The Grateful Garment Project’s mission is to ensure that every victim of a sexual crime who crosses the threshold of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) facility or who seeks medical attention and/or law enforcement involvement is provided with whatever new clothing, toiletries, snacks, and other miscellaneous items that he or she may require. They have further expanded their mission and vision to encompass all victims of sexual violence. This includes, but is not limited to Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and victims of Human Sexual Trafficking (HST).

Along with donations of money, the Grateful Garment organization is also looking for donations of sports bras for their Operation emBRAce campaign. Their goal for the campaign is to collect 20,000 bras over the next year. “Although this goal seems a little far fetched to achieve because twenty thousand does seem like a lot of bras, even if it is over the course of the year, but with the right public relations campaign, we can achieve the goal. There is also currently a drop box for sports bras in the library if anyone is interested in donating. Helping this non-profit organization is very fulfilling to me and I really like what this organization stands for and what they do,” according to sophomore student, Erin Banda.

The Grateful Garment Project was started by a Notre Dame de Namur alumni, Lisa Blanchard, as senior project, but it expanded to become a whole non-profit organization. Blanchard says that it is her vision that victims of sexual assault never experience further suffering due to lack of resources. One of Blanchard’s partners Michele Grisham accompanies her whenever there is a meeting with Professor Rossi and his class. “TGGP’s mission truly touched me. There are really no words to properly describe the horror of being sexually violated. Anything that I can do to help those survivors is important to me personally. Sports bras are one of the most requested items by sexual assault victims, and yet they are one of the least donated items. Allowing victims to go home without proper support is unacceptable, and you can help us solve this challenge,” said Grisham of The Grateful Garment Project and Operation embrace.

The Grateful Garment Project currently partners with agencies in 29 counties throughout California. In each of theses counties, they have up to six programs. The programs include; clothing closets, human trafficking/CSEC Resources, youth gift-card/incentive, dress for dignity, pack-it forward, and beautification projects. For more information on each of these projects, as well as the different ways you can get involved and donate directly to The Grateful Garment Project, visit their website at http://gratefulgarment.org.

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