Engaging Local Mom Leads to Valuable Local Partnership
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What started out as a casual conversation with a local mom ended up opening doors for a successful community partnership and financial support for WVIA’s elementary education outreach program, WVIA Kids Clubhouse in the Classroom. WVIA Kids Clubhouse in the Classroom brings PBS KIDS content into local elementary classrooms, and offers station-led hands-on activities to reinforce the curriculum and learning.
In January 2016, WVIA Director of Membership Events and Elementary Education Debby Konnick was checking in WVIA members at the station’s Family Ski Day event and happened to begin a conversation with a mom and her 2 young sons. The mom asked about the educational programs offered by WVIA, and since the 2 boys looked to be elementary-school age, Debby began talking about WVIA Clubhouse in the Classroom and the resources available on the PBS KIDS website.
The mom expressed genuine interest in WVIA’s elementary education commitment, and as the conversation continued, she then introduced herself as the Regional Affairs Director for a local utility company. By March 2016, the utility company had signed on as a sponsor of the Kids Clubhouse in the Classroom program, working with WVIA to bring the program to Kindergarten students in 4 different counties and to combine WVIA’s Clubhouse program with the utility company's existing "Cover to Cover" book distribution initiative for the First, Second and Third Grade students in the respective schools.
The utility company's financial support helped double the reach and impact of WVIA’s Kids Clubhouse in the Classroom program, which already had a presence in 4 other elementary schools in the community, thanks to a grant from a local Foundation. The utility company realized value too, leaning on WVIA for administrative support, content expertise and relationship-building with the schools. The experience also reinforced for WVIA an approach to community conversations moving forward.
“I was making the case for support from a potential sponsor and didn't even know it! My biggest takeaway is to be an advocate for all that WVIA Public Media and PBS KIDS has to offer in every aspect of the community. Talk it up, be proud because you never know who is going to be listening, ” says Konnick.