The timing of Mary Baldwin Adjunct Instructor of Communication Suzanne Miller’s call to Carole Adams, president and founder of The Mosby Foundation, was impeccable. Miller was interested in having students in her Principles of Public Relations course volunteer to help Adams’ nonprofit agency run a public relations campaign. Coincidentally, Adams had recently won a $5,000 grant from PetSmart Gives Back and needed to organize a special “big check” presentation to commemorate the event.

mosby_foundation_insideVirginia Women’s Institute for Leadership cadet Catherine Francis ’17, an international relations major, and marketing communication majors Jessica Beaver ’15, Lizette Naranjo ’15, and Baldwin Online and Adult Programs student Lisa Wilson ’14 eagerly took on the assignment.

“I’ve volunteered with Carole before, and I absolutely jumped at the opportunity to help again,” said Naranjo.

The Mary Baldwin students’ efforts drew an impressive crowd. More than 40 attendees included Frank Tamberrino, president of the Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce, and legislative aides from the offices of Sen. Emmett Hanger, Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, Del. Steve Landes, and Del. Tony Wilt. U. S. Sen. Mark Warner sent a personal letter to Adams that was read during the ceremony.

“We usually have a few people show up and try to make a decent photo out of it,” said PetSmart District Manager Kevin Loll. Having representatives from several political offices on site was great exposure, he added.

After the murder of her dog, Mosby, in 2003, Adams sought a way to assist pet owners with food and medical care. She has been serving pet owners nationwide since 2004, and has helped with the cost of spaying and neutering 360 local dogs in the past year. The Mosby Foundation has assisted dozens of families in the Shenandoah Valley with non-routine vet care that helped save the lives of their pets. Adams’ commitment to pets and pet owners helps dogs stay with their families instead of being released into crowded shelters, lending itself to the theme of the event organized by Mary Baldwin students, which was “keeping pets and pet parents together.”

“We were privileged to assist Mrs. Adams. This has been a wonderful experience for us, and we believe in the work she’s doing,” said Beaver.

Miller praised the project as an example of experiential learning: “When students take skills learned in the classroom and apply them toward a project that helps a community group, everyone wins.”

Photos by Kiah Brooks ’15