In the last decade, 2 million children were killed worldwide due to armed conflicts, and in war-affected areas, the battlefield can be anywhere -- a grim reality that nonprofit War Child powerfully paints in its latest PSA.
In the spot, grenades explode in a market and terrified kids hide from yelling gunmen staking out their homes. But in the midst of the bloodshed, something surprisingly beautiful happens: Crayons replace bullets and books supplant grenades.
War Child, a Canadian nonprofit, provides educational opportunities to children living in conflict-torn countries. It uses these bright images to remind viewers that even in such devastated countries as Afghanistan, Darfur and Congo, there is hope for the youngest victims. If given the opportunity to go to school, War Child argues, these children will have the chance to escape the cycle of violence and fulfill the organization's mission: "Where childhood thrives, war does not."
Click through the slideshow below to see 10 PSAs about serious issues that will make you smile.
"Cheerleader" (Fatherhood Involvement)
More than 79% of Americans feel "the most significant family or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father from the home." Research shows that the lack of a father in the home correlates closely with crime, educational and emotional problems, teenage pregnancy, and drug and alcohol abuse. This ad is a lighthearted prompt to fathers to become involved and spend more time with their children.
Since the launch of the Ad Council's foster care adoption campaign with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004, 12,000 children have found a permanent home. The consistent tagline, "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent," illustrates imperfect parent moments to dispel perceptions about adoption from foster care.
"Ditched" (Pet Adoption)
"The Shelter Pet Project" campaign aims to encourage pet lovers throughout the country to make shelters and rescue groups the first place they turn to when acquiring companion animals. The humorous PSAs help to break down the negative stereotypes associated with shelter pets by illustrating how issues with the owners often lead to pets ending up in shelters.
"VD Is For Everybody" (VD Awareness)
Launched in 1969, this campaign helped raise awareness about the prevalence of venereal disease and paved the way for frank and non-judgmental messages on related health problems.
"Alley" (Colon Cancer Awareness)
The Ad Council launched the colon cancer prevention PSA campaign with the American Cancer Society in 2002 to raise awareness that colon cancer is the third most common cancer -- and one of the most curable, if caught early. A character named "Polyp Man" was created to personify colon cancer and communicate the actions needed to prevent it.
"Interview" (High School Dropout Prevention)
Approximately 7,000 high school students drop out every school day, which translates to one in three students. Once students make the decision to drop out, they lack the tools to compete in today's society and diminish their chances for greater success in the future. This PSA campaign shows how your opportunities may be limited by the lack of a high school diploma.
"Cell Phone" (Patient Involvement)
The "Questions Are The Answer" campaign is designed to encourage patients to get involved in their health care by knowing and asking appropriate questions when visiting their doctor and other clinicians. This PSA cleverly juxtaposes help-seeking behaviors at a store and at a doctor's office.
"Soccer" (Lifelong Literacy)
With this PSA the Library of Congress sought to engage all Americans in learning our nation's history.
"Chin" (Small Steps/Obesity Prevention)
The obesity prevention campaign with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services promotes healthier living by encouraging Americans to incorporate more physical activity and healthier eating into their lives through small, manageable steps. Launched in 2004, the ads show typical families finding love handles, double chins, and other unwanted body parts in public places because, well, watch!
"Sock Friend" (Afterschool Alliance)
As many as 15 million children have no place to go once the school bell rings. These children are at greater risk of engaging in risky or criminal behavior. Kids who are in afterschool programs, meanwhile, do better in school and have greater expectations for the future.
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