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Bringing an online resource to the community

Braxton Daniels III wants his hometown of Mansfield, Ohio, to thrive.  

As a junior studying sociology at the Ohio State Mansfield campus, he is working hard to help the downtown businesses of his city — and his fellow Buckeyes — to endure the far-reaching challenges of  COVID-19.  

“I’m always trying to do good and make a difference where I can,” said Daniels. “Recently, I’ve been extremely humbled to be able to say I’ve been a part of some things that are doing that.” 

Daniels began his studies in Mansfield as a communications major, a background that gave him experience to start his own photography and multimedia website and land valuable marketing and communications internships. 

In his second term as an intern at Graziani Multimedia, Daniels designed the website e-Mansfield soon after Governor Mike DeWine issued a stay-at-home order for Ohio in mid-March.

The site informs residents about ongoing services from downtown businesses, retail stores and non-profit organizations. It also links to employment and health sites, business resources and websites offering tips for working from home. He also created ads for local businesses to use on the website for free promotion. 

“We (Graziana Multimedia) all came together when the shutdown happened to try to figure out what we can do to help our businesses,” Daniels said. “A lot of the companies we work with are impacted greatly right now, so we wanted to find a way to support them and keep people informed about what’s still going on around Mansfield.” 

E-Mansfield offers a Facebook group with 1,300 members, sharing information similar to what is on the website. Daniels said he’s heard from a number of residents and business representatives that both online platforms have been incredibly helpful at getting the word out as to what is open and available.  

“This website can have a huge impact afterward also,” Daniels said. “It can be a nice welcome center for people, showing them what this city has to offer.” 

This type of effort isn’t new for Daniels, who is active in several charities and nonprofit efforts in Mansfield. He recently became a board member for a non-profit community organization called the North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC).  

Daniels is a social media ambassador for the Mansfield campus, helping students to stay connected to resources and events continuing around campus. “We’ve done virtual talent shows and helped students get access to tutors through Zoom,” he said. “A lot of it is keeping students informed of what’s out there.” 

Social ambassadors have worked hard to reach out to students personally by phone to offer help in any way they can. 

“Ohio State has really done a fantastic job of switching gears through this, of being sympathetic and understanding to the students,” Daniels said. “We just want students to know there are resources for them through this, and if they have questions, reach out to us — we’re here.” 

Published: May 20, 2020

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