What does the Public Information/Professional Outreach Committee do?
It carries our message of recovery to the compulsive eater (COE) who still suffers.
People need to know OA exists as a Twelve Step program of recovery! OA, as an organization, is not anonymous. Mindful that OA is a program of attraction, not promotion, we attract newcomers to OA when we inform the general public about our program and tell professionals and others who work with COEs about OA.
In addition to carrying the message one-on-one as outlined in Step Twelve, we need to inform the public about our existence and where to find our meetings, as well as where to find us on the Web or reach us by phone. There are many public information channels: newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, podcasts, websites, and phone directories. Posting on bulletin boards in public places, such as stores, coffee shops, libraries, gyms, and colleges is an easy way to inform the public. Some service bodies have purchased billboard space or spots on diner placemats. Some have held public information nights. We can also participate in community health fairs and make sure we’re listed on local hotlines.
Perhaps one of the most important things we can do is provide information to health care professionals in our communities: doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, nutritionists, and others who may refer people to us.
We can sometimes furnish speakers to civic groups or community service organizations. All these things can be done within the scope of our Traditions while maintaining anonymity at the public media level. Many of these activities are coordinated by the intergroup, but require the participation of every group to be successful. It is often individual members putting up the bulletin board meeting notices, taking OA literature to their counselors, or leaving old copies of Lifeline in their doctors’ offices that makes a difference.
How do newcomers get help?
Compulsive overeaters who are still suffering cannot be helped by OA unless they know the Fellowship exists and where to find it. So it is a good idea for a group to print announcements of its name, its meeting place (in person or online) and time, and a telephone contact. These notices can be given to hospitals or clinics, doctors, clergy and churches, social and health agencies, and business firms in the community. Attraction Sticky Notes and the New Prospect Card, available from bookstore.oa.org, may be placed on bulletin boards in supermarkets and other places.
In areas with an intergroup or a service board, the meeting hours of all groups can be used, along with the intergroup address and telephone number.
In addition to the notices, it is a good idea to distribute the public information flyer About OA, as well as the pamphlet In OA, Recovery is Possible: About Compulsive Eating and the OA Program of Recovery.
How can you help?
Please review the following to learn how all OA members, abstinent or not, can help OA to reach the still suffering compulsive eater.
If you are abstinent, at or near a healthy weight, have worked the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, have a sponsor and are interested and willing to lend a helping hand with public events, then please contact the Public Information Coordinator, to advise on what you are willing and available to do to reach out to the newcomer.
ALL OA MEMBERS – YOU ARE NEEDED FOR THE FOLLOWING
- Provide storage space (in your garage or home) for OA literature, meeting guides, literature racks, table/booth set-up items.
- Help set-up and teardown OA information tables or booths at public events.
- Work an OA information table or booth at health fair/festival and be prepared to hand-out literature and answer any questions about the 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, what OA is, what we do, what we don’t do and where to find us (typically 2-hour to 6-hour shifts).
- Bring pamphlets, meeting guides and copies of Lifeline to your physician’s office and let him/her know about how OA has helped you.
- Talk to your employer, your spiritual center, your college, your child’s school – anywhere that you frequent and may have a contact person with whom the PI/PO Coordinator can speak – about OA. Ask them if they would be willing to host a presentation by an abstinent member or receive OA pamphlets, meeting guides, copies of Lifeline, to learn more about OA.
- Make yourself available for presentation training (email the PI/PO Coordinator for details – being abstinent and at, or near, a healthy weight is a requirement) so you can be ready to speak before interested groups.
- Work with the PI/PO Coordinator to do outreach to various groups within the community to help arrange presentations by abstinent OA members.
- Post notices about OA (use the Bulletin Board Attraction Sticky Notes available from the OA website) on bulletin boards in public places, such as stores, coffee shops, libraries, gyms, and colleges. Ask the PI/PO Coordinator (or visit www.oa.org) about what is ready and available for such express purposes!
- Print out announcements about your favorite OA meeting (its name, meeting place and time, along with a telephone contact) and provide this announcement to hospitals, medical clinics, all of your doctors, members of the clergy, your church group, any social or health agency, as well as local businesses in your community.
- Provide OA information (pamphlets, meeting guides, copies of Lifeline) to healthcare professionals in your community: doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, nutritionists, and others who may refer people to us.
- If you are a member of the media or know someone at a TV or radio station, please contact the PI/PO Coordinator with this information so we may reach out to them about OA.
- Share any ideas you may have about how to reach out to the still suffering compulsive eater with the PI/PO Coordinator, your Intergroup Rep or a member of OASV’s Intergroup – we need great ideas and any special contacts you may have, in order to be successful with our outreach efforts!
Looking for more ideas on how you can help? Click here!
Contact the Public Information/Professional Outreach Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org