“Through the years I have been frequently asked … how did you become affiliated with HSF? Here is a brief outline from documented information that I hope will provide the answers,” prepared by Dorothy Chlad. (Copies of some original letters are attached.)
After a presentation in Washington D.C. 1972, I was introduced to … Pete O’Grady – Director Ohio Department of Highway Safety. I explained the need for a … Nation Safety Town Center … to provide information to local communities. Could he assist in obtaining a sponsor.
Several months later, 1973, he organized a meeting with Highway Safety Foundation members. After several meetings, they agreed to sponsor a National Safety Town Center.
- I agreed to voluntarily work for HSF to prepare necessary materials, publicity, meetings with organizations, corporations, etc.
- They would be responsible for all my travel and printing expenses … I would become a full-time employee, of HSF, as of July 4, 1974 … after their 1974 national telethon.
- HSF had a telethon in 1973; however, the Telethon Board felt corrections and additions had to be made. My role – to convince Safety Town (NSTC) would provide that addition.
- January 1974, I met with Beverly Roberts, Executive Director, Theatre Authorities, in New York. She graciously spent 6 hours viewing videos and allowing me to explain/discuss the program and benefits to parents and each community.
“I found Dorothy Chlad to be a thoroughly responsible, dedicated, indefatigable, and selfless worker for a project which ultimately can, and I think should, be developed into an important and beneficial community educational program!”
Dorothy’s 6 Safety Town guides (300 pages) to be sent to communities, from telethon and publicity requests. Organizational, Teenage Instructor, Curriculum, Parent, Teen Training, and General Information
- February 12th, 1974, I spent one week, in New York, meetings with representative from “major new syndications”. Gay Pauley, Women’s Editor of UPI … Dee Wedemeyer, Editor of Today’s Living of AP … Shelley Engelmayer, Editor of North American Newspaper Alliance … Larry Reich, Managing Editor of Metrolotin Sunday Group. (Includes New York Sunday News; Los Angeles Times; Boston Globe; Philadelphia Inquirer; Detroit Free Press; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Cleveland Plain Dealer; San Francisco Examiner, etc.)
- Results: Articles and pictures appeared in thousands of local papers.
- The above interviews were arranged by … Stanley Fields. who was Sammy Davis Jr.’s Public Relations Manager. (Sammy Davis Jr. was an Honorary Chairman of HSF.)
- “Dorothy did a superb job by bringing Safety Town to life for this group of sophisticated journalists. If press interest is any barometer, Safety Town has stepped into the limelight as our … number one … program.”
- March 1974 I spent the majority of time focusing on two very important aspects
- Preparing a specific time table as to what Safety Town segments would be appropriate during the 24 hour telethon. (See attached pages)
- Finalizing details for a large event for corporation, media, entertainment officials officials to be held on April 2, 1974 at the Waldorf/Austoria in New York. Mrs. Sammy Davis, Sr. would explain Sammy’s accident which is why he became Honarary Chairman of HSF. My role … explain Safety Town (NSTC) and our promotional efforts involving Sammy, HSF and the telethon … including proposals.
- Three proposals from McDONALD’S – H.J. HEINZ – CEDAR POINT – brief outlines attached
UNFORTUNATELY … April 1, 1974 … the above event – AND – the telethon were cancelled – AND – HSF would dissolve the organization!
My first question was … WHY? I was told the HSF Board Members had disagreement problems. (A few months later, I learn about the problems, mainly financial.)
NIGHTMARE #1. My husband and I spent several days/nights discussing future plans. We were advised to organize a non-profit organization and relocate to Cleveland … AND … completely dissociate from HSF, which was located in Mansfield, Ohio.
In 1973, prior to my meetings with HSF … I met Wayne Corporation officials in Richmond, IN. They provided a 4 page color ad which appeared in 3 national publications – Nation Schools – American School Board Journal – Future (National Jaycee)… reduced pages attached.
NIGHTMARE #2. As a result of the above ad, plus the AP, UPI, magazines publicity, 2,000 – 3,000 requests were received. The HSF printer would not release my 6 guides until he received full payment. HSF would not pay.
My husband and I DID NOT want to jeopardize the Safety Town program so we obtained an $8,000 loan to receive the books, which were then mailed. (Each book had picture/personal letter from … Sammy Davis, Jr. as Honorary Chairman of HSF and included the HSF logo on the back cover … see pages attached.)
NIGHTMARE #3. After preparing information for a non-profit organization, April 29, 1974, I spent most of May/June finalizing proposals for corporat funding and loans from banks. (During this transition, I conducted seminars and meeting for local communities, etc.) Our offices were located on the 30th floor of the Terminal Tower Building, downtown Cleveland to project a new professional, business atmosphere from HSF.
On July 12, 1974 the Cleveland Press, front page picture/article, was HSF. WOW!!! Within the next few days, articles appeared in the Wall Street Journal; New York Times and business journals and magazines … a few articles attached.
I had arranged meetings, prior to the articles. When I did meet, the response was negative. WOW!!! It was impossible to get an corporate funding or involvement of any kind and we could not get bank loans. It took four years of attending business and organization events and became a member of Greater Cleveland Growth Association to be accepted, but funding was not available. Some corporations offered services and were supportive of our efforts.
Fortunately, in 1975, after several meetings with … PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY … in Newark, New Jersey provided our initial $10,000 to cover organizational costs. They also provided printing/art services; a national training conference for our State Coordinators; funds for a slide presentation for new programs etc. THANK YOU … Joe Vecchione and Cole Lewis … for being our “rock” to develop … The National Safety Town Center … to help our children learn about safety and precent accident!
PUBLIC RELATIONS PROPOSAL for … JOINT PARTICIPATION … for TELETHON and BEYOND!
#1. McDONALD’s CORPORATION … will provide public relations for telethon publicity.
- Promote Safety Town (NSTC) to further child safety education.
- Have RONALD explain Safety Town during telethon, with children on TARP.
- Sponsor a “child safety week” with proclamation displayed at all restaurants signed by … Sammy Davis Jr. and Ray Kroc, President, McDonald’s Corporation.
- RONALD to visit various restaurants to explain Safety Town and (NSTC).
- RONALD to attend opening of new Safety Town and participate in ribbon cutting … complete with the “Golden Arches and the RONALD McDONALD ALL AMERICAN BAND!
#2 H.J. HEINZ … will provide television promotions and supermarket displays.
- Offer a “Safety Town Starter Kit” to any community minded group to organize the program for their pre-school children.
- The “kit” would be free with a predetermined number of lavels from any Heinz product. (Theme: Baby consumer grow up to become adult consumers.)
- HSF to provide “kit” (6 guides) to include: Safety Town philosophy, history, directions, educational material, curriculum, songs, etc. One sample of each.
- Print label on products explaining “kit” and provide one pre-fabricated Safety Town building of sturdy, weather-proof, paperboard with printed facade for front of the building.
- Telethon and television promotional material will be presented by H.J. Heinz executive expressing their concern for parents to help their babies grow up.
- Prior to the telethon, TV tapes will be made at Cedar Point, covering Miss Teenage America, other entertainers and scenes depicting numerous activities on the midway that could relate to the telethon.
- HSF would establish a replica of Safety Town showing how the program teaches safety to pre-school children.
- All recorded TV filming would be periodically exposed to the viewing public as coming live out of Cedar Point. The exposure would be worked on a local regional or national basis.
IF – HSF HAD NOT DISSOLVED – SAFETY TOWN would have grown rapidly throughout the UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD!
FORTUNATELY we overcame another “challenge” with the assistance of many dedicated people who believed in our efforts and continued to give us encouragement. AS A RESULT, IN 1975;
NATIONAL SAFETY TOWN CENTER – sponsored – FIRST NATIONAL SAFETY TOWN WEEK – with support of governors, mayors, and organizations – SAFETY TOWN – DID GROW RAPIDLY THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD!
“THANK YOU – to everyone who has been involved in continuing to promote the importance of SAFETY TOWN and early childhood safety education. Your efforts have and will continue to prevent accidents to OUR precious children.” -Dorothy Chlad, 2018