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Over 1,500 Guests Celebrate PBS KIDS Day with WKAR

Families from across mid-Michigan came together on a Saturday in late January to celebrate PBS KIDS Day with WKAR. The annual event drew more than 1,500 attendees of all ages to the WKAR studios on the campus of Michigan State University on Jan. 27, 2024.

Elementary school teacher Nicole Wybo brought her son to the event. “As a teacher, community events like PBS KIDS Day that mix education with fun are some of the best ways to get children learning,” said Wybo. “Seeing how Dr. Rob and the Curious Crew were able to captivate a crowd of children with science experiments gives me so much hope as an educator!”

“This year’s PBS KIDS Day was the most widely attended WKAR event since the launch of the PBS KIDS channel in 2017,” said Shawn Turner, WKAR general manager. “It is great to see so many members of our community join us to celebrate and to get an inside look at where some of their favorite shows live. We’re looking forward to creating more opportunities for fans of all ages to visit us here on campus and learn more about WKAR.”

During the event, MSUFCU CEO April Clobes presented a $50,000 check to WKAR. The donation is part of a five-year, quarter-million-dollar commitment to support the station’s community wide educational initiatives. With the donation, WKAR’s education department will be able to host more community pop-up events and procure more literacy tools and books to be distributed to children and families throughout mid-Michigan.

The PBS KIDS Day celebration included science demonstrations with Dr. Rob and the Curious Crew, along with other activities such as giveaways and a prize wheel. WKAR was joined for the day by 22 community partners sharing activities.

Molly and Super Why, of the PBS KIDS programs Molly of Denali and Super Why!, were there for children to meet and pose with for photos. Sheril Kirshenbaum, host of the WKAR original series Serving Up Science, was also there to explore some of the scientific phenomena behind the food we eat.

“The excitement that the children and their families have when it comes to PBS KIDS characters and programming never ceases to amaze me,” said Ashlee Smith, senior director of content and education at WKAR. “PBS KIDS means so much to such a vast number of people across the country, so hosting an event like PBS KIDS Day in our own local community means a great deal to us.”

The WKAR education team held a book giveaway with children’s books ranging from birth through third grade levels. Hundreds of children walked away from the event with free books thanks to the giveaway.

“Facilitating the joy of reading among the young members of our mid-Michigan community is a truly rewarding experience," said Robin Pizzo, director of education at WKAR. "The books we provide at our giveaways all have a wide variety of educational topics that are sure to benefit the children receiving them.”

Community partners at the event included East Lansing Public Library, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, TheraPLAYoga- Adaptive Yoga Studio, Woldumar Nature Association, Lansing Community College- Child Development and Early Education Program, MSU Federal Credit Union, Michigan State University Community Music School, Michigan Education Trust (MET), Child and Family Charities, Capital Area District Libraries, Fenner Nature Center, MSU Department of Theatre: Sense-Ability Ensemble, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, Greater Lansing Area Moms, Haslett East Lansing Dental Health & Wellness, WKAR Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Serving Up Science, Sparrow Health System, and MSU Extension. Curious About Careers partners included the MSU Department of Anthropology, Spicer Group, Inc., and the MSU School of Packaging.

PBS KIDS Day with WKAR is supported in part by MSU Federal Credit Union.

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