Colorful fabrics, ribbons, shiny wrapping paper, beads and glitter invaded Beaver's Ice House as a mixed assemblage of more than 40 young professionals hand crafted and decorated cheerful pillow boxes for little heart patients at Texas Children's Hospital Tuesday night.
The American Heart Association's first-ever tweetup — Tweets for Beats — served as a warm reminder that heart health extends beyond medicine and also affects children as young as newborns.
From winter wonderland themes to kind messages of hope, from origami to sunny jazzy patterns, guests were busy at work putting on final touches and tweeting about their progress. Among those unleashing their inner child were Texas Children's Hospital residents Keith Jensen and David de Give, who both look forward to helping little ones while working the cardiology floor next year.
The concept was derived in partnership with University of Houston's assistant professor and CBG Communications owner Catherine Burch Graham. As part of her public relations' class pro bono project, students collaborated to conceive #TweetsForBeats and contribute.
"Aside from gaining real world practical knowledge and making contacts in the field, students engage in an altruistic activity," Burch Graham said. "Both of my parents died of heart disease and my son had a stroke at birth; this project took on personal meaning."
The crafty social was not fashioned as a fundraiser. Rather, it was designed to increase the nonprofit's social media presence by cheering on heart-healthy conversation and encouraging first time tweeterers like Allen Brivic to sign up for an account just so he could join in the heart-to-heart dialogue.
UH public relations senior Gloria Cheng was inspired by a similar strategy used to raise awareness and funds for victims of Japan's tsunami disaster.
"Our whole team was already on Twitter, so it was the research that took a lot of time," Cheng told CultureMap. "When implementing social media strategies, it's important to remember not to use the channel as a bulletin board. It needs to engage."
Also spotted at the creative tweetup were Sally Anne Schmidt, Elisa De La Rosa, Salma Basnir, Jamil Madni, Nicole Noska, Amanda Moore, Laura Espinoza, Allison Houser and Marmar Kahkeshani.
Though the event was informal and lighthearted, T-shirts inscribed with "Call 911, push hard and fast in the center of the chest" focused on the severity of heart disease in America as the No. 1 killer of both men and women. CPR kits scientifically designed by AHA were given out as prizes in the hopes that recipients will learn how to administer the technique as specified in the new 2010 CPR guidelines.
A tip from American Heart Association director of communications Shelly Millwee: CPR tempo should be at 100 beats per minute, like the '70s hit "Stayin' Alive."
There's no reason heart health can't be fun. Actor Ken Jeong (most known from The Hangover movies) says so. Disco can save lives.