(Shreveport, LA) – United Way of Northwest Louisiana’s (UWNWLA) Associate Director of Communications, Paige Melton, has been awarded by the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF) for her outstanding public relations practices around UWNWLA’s Book Club campaign.

Professional and student members of the Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA), the Public Relations Association of Louisiana (PRAL), and the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) earned a total of 60 awards honoring the best PR in the Gulf South. During the SPRF’s Lantern Award Ceremony in Huntsville, Alabama, on September 12, 2023, Paige was announced as a Lantern Award recipient, the highest award of honor distributed by SPRF.

Professional and student submissions in 30 categories were scored on their individual merit based on adherence and success utilizing the four-step RPIE process by PR practitioners outside SPRF’s four-state region. Award-winning entries demonstrating excellence in process and results earned Certificates of Merit and Awards of Excellence, with top projects and programs earning Lantern Awards. The Best of Tier winners were selected from the Lantern-winning entries in each tier, with the Best of Show award chosen from the three Best of Tier winners.

This is the second award Paige has received, championing her work for the United Way Book Club. In April, she was recognized locally at the PRAL Northwest Beacon Awards Ceremony and received an Award of Merit. Paige’s excellence has also earned her a spot in the Young Professionals Initiative of Northwest Louisiana’s 40 Under Forty class of 2023.

The United Way Book Club was launched in November 2022 in an effort to expand and increase enrollment for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a UWNWLA program dedicated to mailing free books to children from birth to age five. Strategically planned around Giving Tuesday, Paige spearheaded the execution of the Book Club to target donors and increase the program’s funds. Through effective marketing, communications, and public relations implementations, the UWNWLA surpassed its fundraising goal of $50,000 and raised more than $66,000 for the Imagination Library.

“I’m so honored and humbled to be recognized among so many outstanding public relations professionals across the Gulf South,” said UWNWLA Associate Director of Communications, Paige Melton. “At my organization’s chapter, we LIVE UNITED externally and internally. I could not have accomplished this without the support of my dedicated team and our shared commitment to keeping our sights set on serving our community. Knowing that my efforts not only resulted in an award but also gave our youngest students the opportunity for success makes this achievement all the more special.”

“We are happy to celebrate Paige’s hard work and the recognition she has received for this campaign,” expressed LaToria W. Thomas, President and CEO of UWNWLA. “The Book Club Campaign truly shows our team’s unwavering commitment to early childhood literacy in Northwest Louisiana, showcasing both our passion and expertise. The campaign’s remarkable success not only increased funding for the Imagination Library but also fostered new partnerships within the community, propelling us forward in our mission to improve Louisiana’s kindergarten readiness rates.”