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PBS CHILDREN'S SERIES OFFERS KIDS IDEAS FOR COPING WITH THE AFTERMATH OF THE ATTACKS ON AMERICA

"Zoom: America's Kids Respond" Airs This Weekend On PBS Stations Across the Country

ALEXANDRIA, VA., September 20, 2001 - This weekend, PBS will offer a special episode of the award-winning children's series ZOOM entitled AMERICA'S KIDS RESPOND. The half-hour special features the ZOOM kids, along with kids across the country, sharing their feelings and the efforts they're making in their communities to address the issues brought about by last week's attacks on America. Designed to be a catalyst to help kids and their families express their feelings, and to be used as a tool for coping with the recent events, ZOOM: AMERICA'S KIDS RESPOND will be made available to PBS stations for airing beginning on Friday, September 21 and throughout the weekend. (Check local listings.)

ZOOM: AMERICA'S KIDS RESPOND reflects ZOOM's philosophy of encouraging kids to "turn off the TV and do it!" and is, in part, an extension of the ongoing "ZOOM Into Action" campaign which encourages kids to volunteer. The special not only takes viewers behind the scenes to share what cast members, Kaleigh, Caroline, Kenny, Eric, Rachel, Frances and Buzz are feeling about recent events, but what they are doing to help in their communities.

The special also highlights kids from all over the United States, who are volunteering to help with relief efforts, such as raising money, collecting and donating food and clothing and holding candlelight vigils. Among the kids featured is 12-year-old Jemma from downtown Manhattan baking cookies and delivering them to weary rescue workers; a group of kids who, after witnessing the attacks from their school in Brooklyn, New York, were moved to create artwork to give to their local firefighters; and from Weston, MA, 12-year-old Lana, who is Muslim, talking about the Koran and how it teaches people not to kill.

"Serving the needs of our young viewers and their families, particularly in the wake of last week's events, is what PBS is all about," said Pat Nugent, senior director, children's programming, PBS. "We've learned through ZOOM and our other children's shows that television has the capacity to motivate kids to help in their communities."

"The flood of emails to the ZOOM Web site, from kids across the country, played a key role in the decision to create this weekend's special," says ZOOM Executive Producer Kate Taylor. "We hope that it will help kids understand that they are not alone and that they can make a difference."

In addition to the televised special, the ZOOM Web site (pbskids.org/zoom) has created a special section called "ZOOM Responds" that is posting emails sent in by kids, who are responding to the attacks. It also offers advice for kids on how to deal with the tragedy and ideas for how kids can help.

PBS.org is offering a comprehensive, continually updated Web site (http://PBS.org/americaresponds/) tying together numerous local and national resources for general audiences as well as parents, educators and families from many programs and sites, including CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, DRAGON TALES, MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD, TELETUBBIES, ZOOM and more.

Additionally, on-air, PBS KIDS® is providing local PBS stations with a number of existing spots featuring Mister Rogers, SESAME STREET and ZOOM, as well as new spots. The new spots, from SESAME STREET and BETWEEN THE LIONS, targets parents and directs them to the "America Responds" site and suggests books to be read to children that address such themes as tolerance, fear and scary images. Stations can also use the new spots to highlight local outreach efforts.

ZOOM is produced by WGBH, one of America's preeminent public broadcasting producers. More than one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup and companion Web content as well as many public radio favorites are produced by WGBH. The station is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to people with disabilities. For more information visit www.wgbh.org.

PBS KIDS provides a nonviolent, noncommercial daily schedule that extends beyond the TV screen to the Web (pbskids.org), home videos, educational outreach materials and the PBS KIDS CHANNEL. The PBS KIDS Ready to Learn Service leverages the television programs with workshops in local communities to help adults boost children's reading and social skills.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.

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Contacts:
Donna Williams
PBS/NY
212-708-3002

Dara Goldberg
PBS
703-739-5031

Kevin Dando
PBS
703-739-5073

Amy Kunen
WGBH
617-300-5340



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