National TV show zooms in on Juneau kids

KTOO segment focuses on volunteers ages 5 to 11

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Juneau youths who help the community will be featured on the national PBS television program "ZOOM" through local affiliate KTOO, station officials said.

KTOO will insert a one-minute feed of children ages 5 to 11 doing volunteer activities for the community, said Susan Stopher, KTOO's outreach and marketing director. The local segment is called "ZOOM into Action."

The program will open with a group of Juneau children yelling "Get ready to ZOOM." Later in the program a group of Juneau youths will say "ZOOM into action" right before they are featured doing volunteer work, said Jeff Brown, program producer for KTOO.

ZOOM airs weekdays at 5 p.m. The local segments will be aired on Fridays from April 19 to June 7.

Groups of kids will be featured at the beginning and end of the program. The one-minute segments will feature one child or a few volunteering, Brown said.

Brown and a filming crew will capture the works of 10 groups of children in the next several weeks. All of the subjects are lined up for the rest of the 2004 season.

KTOO has captured children involved with the Juneau Raptor Center, dancing, the Girl Scouts, the Juneau Community Charter School and Auke Bay Elementary School, among others.

Catie Lumba, 11, was among those featured in Girl Scout Troop 39. They made blankets for children who need to stay in a local safe home, explained Lumba's mother, Debbie. Brown's crew videotaped the Girl Scouts at an ice cream social talking about their volunteer work, Debbie Lumba said.

Hannah Wilson and Lindsay Clark, both 11, are volunteers for the Gastineau Humane Society, where they walk dogs. They also play violin for folks at the Juneau Pioneers' Home, Brown said.

Viewers in Fairbanks and Bethel also will be able to see the Juneau children because they are all part of the Alaska One Network, Stopher said.

PBS offered local segments last year, but this is the first time KTOO will feature local kids, Stopher said.

ZOOM "encourages other kids in the community to volunteer," Stopher said. "That's the part that the kids are going to get the most excited about."

ZOOM is a fast-paced after-school program hosted by children. The 30-minute program features activities such as science experiments, cooking and tricks with balloons, Brown said. The program is created at WGBH in Boston and syndicated nationally.

Behind each 30-minute episode is a curriculum developed by educators and advisors. ZOOM's multi-disciplinary, content-based format teaches viewers how to take an active approach to learning - to ask questions, create, experiment and open themselves to new possibilities, KTOO officials said.

Children also can interact with ZOOM via the Web at

"Now kids throughout Alaska will have a chance to be part of the ZOOM experience," KTOO President and General Manager Bill Legere said. "Whether it's holding a bake sale to raise money for a charity, raking leaves for an elderly neighbor, or helping to clean up a neighborhood, Alaska's viewers will be watching and learning from kids in their own hometowns who are making a difference in the world."

• Tara Sidor can be reached at

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