WFSU – A Special Kind of Magic

I have always been a PBS kid. I watched Barney and Zoom. I laughed till I cried watching the crazy chickens on Between the Lions, and the dueling knights in the Gawain’s Word segment. I watched the Elmo’s World portion of Sesame Street until I was in my early teens because I couldn’t resist the adorable sweetness of Elmo, Mr. Noodle and Dorothy the Goldfish. Sesame Street even had me convinced that I wanted to live in a moss-covered cave with the snuffleupagus family. Most importantly, my childhood hero wasn’t a sports star or a comic book superhero, it was Fred Rogers. I was enthralled with the gentleness and kindness of this amazing person on the screen, and as I grew too old to watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (and continued to watch anyway) I realized just how special Fred Rogers was. And, I realized that I wanted to be part of the public broadcasting family, and help create the magic that I felt during my childhood for future generations of children.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when in college I had the opportunity to work at WFSU in the Education and Outreach department, and be a connection between PBS and the local community. I have been here for two years now, planning family events and helping with educational programs, and I absolutely love my job. Who wouldn’t enjoy a job where you occasionally get to transform into Daniel Tiger or Clifford?

But, there is a deeper reason why I love public broadcasting and why I am so dedicated to its mission. PBS (and NPR) exist to fill a need in communities across the United States—whether that need is literacy programming, or shows that help children make healthier choices. Time and time again I turn to PBS and NPR for information and entertainment. It makes me happy that there is still something so stellar and beautiful in our society…created through endless collaborations between people, and held to the highest standard of quality. Public broadcasting is everyone’s opportunity to open their eyes to what is going on around them, and to connect to the rest of the world. Public broadcasting is media “for the people, by the people,” and paid for by the people as well.

I see a need for children’s language programming in the United States, and this is why I am leaving WFSU to pursue an MA in Psycholinguistics at the University of York. I will be studying how people learn a second language, in order to create the best possible programs to teach children. There are so many reasons why I think that we need these programs—for one, most American children are behind their peers in other parts of the world, who learn to speak at least two languages. But, I think most importantly, knowing another language makes one more open-minded and more accepting of different cultures. I hope that by teaching our children a second language, we might both guarantee our children’s futures in an increasingly globalized job market, and ensure a more peaceful future for our world.

“The connections we make in the course of a life—maybe that’s what heaven is.”

- Fred Rogers

I can’t imagine a world without PBS—I can’t imagine my world without PBS. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to my WFSU family—to Tasha, Kim, Natalie, Ashley and Trisha (my amazing coworkers and truly intelligent, strong, creative, kind and wonderful people in every way), and to all the staff at WFSU who I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know. I will miss all of you so much! And, a huge thank you to the teachers, parents, children, and other members of the community I have worked with during my time at WFSU—I so enjoyed watching you experience the magic of PBS!

To quote Barney the Dinosaur….With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you!

Sarah