Tuesday, 02 April 2019
Written by EARL VAUGHAN JR.
ShineLight, a Fayetteville-based organization that offers services for individuals with autism, will hold its 5K Shine Your Light run and one-mile fun run Saturday, April 27, at Town Hall in Hope Mills. The address is 5776 Rockfish Road.
Nikki Creecy, chief executive officer of ShineLight, said the organization is 13 years old and was previously called Genesis, A New Beginning of Fayetteville.
“We rebranded in 2014 and decided to specialize in autism,’’ she said. Creecy said the rebranding was done because the majority of people the organization was working with suffered from autism.
The services provided to individuals with autism are of a behavioral nature, she said. The services deal with skill development that allows autistic individuals to replace maladaptive behaviors and function in society, the community, at home and in school.
Recently, ShineLight has added applied behavior analysis to its services.
The run is an annual event that was held in Fayetteville last year. Creecy said it’s held in April because that’s autism awareness month.
“It’s all about shining the light on autism and ShineLight, as well, so people will know who we are for the purpose of educating the community,’’ Creecy said.
All proceeds from the race will go toward funding the services ShineLight provides.
The race is open to both serious runners and to those who just want to get out and support the cause.
There will be official timing for those who want to compete. The first 300 finishers will get medals, Creecy said, but there will be separate prizes for the first-, second- and third-place overall finishers. There will also be awards presented in various age groups.
In addition to the race, there will be a raffle for wireless ear buds, a Go Pro camera and a Fitbit. Raffle tickets are $1 each, and those buying tickets don’t have to be present to win.
There are three entry fees. For the Shine Your Light 5K, the cost is $35. The one-mile Fun Run is $17. Teams of five runners can participate for $30 each.
Registration for the race is day-of from 6 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. The 5K race starts at 8 a.m. and the Fun Run starts at 8:15 a.m.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available. There are five levels of sponsorship, from $5,000 to $250. Each offers combinations of race entries, event T-shirts, logo recognition and vendor space.
For those not interested in the sponsorship option, in-kind donations or direct contributions are available.
Creecy said volunteers are also welcome to help out, and if any food trucks would like to set up at the race site, they are welcome to contact the ShineLight offices. In order to be assured recognition in printed race materials, sponsors must finalize their deals by April 12.
Creecy can be reached at nikki@shine-light. org, 910-323-1335 or in person at the ShineLight office, 203 Rowan St.
Monday, 25 March 2019
Written by EARL VAUGHAN JR.
It was about 15 years ago when Aneisha McMillan had an idea for a product she wanted to launch and needed a public relations firm to give her plan a boost. The problem was, she couldn’t afford to hire someone. So, she did the next best thing. She taught herself how to do it.
That self-training launched a new career for the Michigan-born McMillan, and now she’s bringing her business to a new storefront location on Trade Street in Hope Mills.
Her business, Oink Agency, will share space with her husband, Shaun McMillan’s, Drama Lab, a video audition business geared toward aspiring actors. Shaun, a retired Army ranger, is an actor with multiple film and TV credits on his resume.
Aneisha said her career in public relations snowballed after she was able to land products she was promoting on “Good Morning America” and other outlets.
“I started getting calls from other entrepreneurs who said, ‘Hey, how did you do that?’ she said. “They started asking, ‘can you do it for me?’ It turned into an actual career.’’
The flying pig logo that adorns the door of her new location on Trade Street is a symbol of McMillan’s attitude toward life.
“My entire family has an affinity for flying pigs,’’ she said. “For us, the meaning is anything imaginable is possible if you believe in yourself, believe in your dreams. The flying pig is the embodiment of that notion. Impossible things happen every day.’’
McMillan said her favorite clients are what she calls mom and pop shops. “They are fiercely driven and so passionate,’’ she said.
Her biggest client for now is the Halloween and Costume Association, a group of merchants who specialize in Halloween-related products including costumes and candy.
Last fall, McMillan collaborated with the HCA on a promotion with supermodel Heidi Klum, who was proclaimed the queen of Halloween.
McMillan also helped promote a national push of a petition on change.org to get people to support a permanent move of the celebration of Halloween annually to the final Saturday in October.
McMillan lives in the Gray’s Creek area and decided to open a storefront for her business in Hope Mills. “I love Hope Mills and love the lake,’’ she said. “I’m really excited it’s back in action.
“This area is amazing, and Trade Street is very nostalgic. The history behind it is pretty rich. The building itself is a great building, over 100 years old.’’
Married with six children, the 44-year-old said she found solitude at home something tough to come by, so she came up with the idea of opening an office to get a little privacy.
“It’s definitely hard to grow as a one-person show,’’ she said. “Here, I hope I can expand, bring on some more clients and some employees.’’
McMillan said the basic offerings of her business are public relations and marketing. “I’m the person to come to for big ideas,’’ she said.
Even companies with in-house public relations staff have called on her, she said, looking for bigger ideas or things they’ve never thought of.
“My kids say I make folks famous for a living,’’ she said. “I don’t know if that’s quite true, but it’s a pretty good explanation of what it is, marketing to put together multi-faceted campaigns to help people get the message out about their product via social media or direct to the media.’’
To find out specifics about what McMillan’s business has to offer, visit www.oinkagency.com.
McMillan said while she will have an office open to the public at her new place of business, it won’t have 9-to-5 operating hours.
“We’re not a traditional retail storefront,’’ she said. She will use the space as needed to meet clients in person, and her husband will also use it for videotaping auditions for his Drama Lab business.
“Clients that want to talk should shoot me an email or call,’’ McMillan said.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Her phone number is 910-849-9003.
Photo: Aneisha McMillan