During the past 18 months, your local public broadcasting station, WPSU, has been in Lewistown and surrounding communities in Mifflin County spreading the message of the importance of literacy to families of children ages 2 to 8. Through our Raising Readers program, we have sponsored events like Movie Night at Miller Cinemas 6 and Family Night at the Lewistown Elementary School. We have given away more than 700 books at Kid Connection and 500 pairs of mittens at the Festival of Ice. We made visits to several area preschools, and left behind DVDs and activity books for each child. Through a partnership with the Mifflin County Library, we brought in Miss Lori from the PBS KIDS Preschool Block to have a special story hour for young children, and the Super WHY! Summer Reading Camp helped 54 children in the Mifflin County School District be ready for kindergarten.
Raising Readers is just one shining example of the power and mission of public broadcasting. We aren't "just" TV and radio. We go beyond, into the communities that we serve, to enrich and enhance the experiences of the people who make their home in our 29 county viewing area. However, this could all change soon.
In Governor Rendell's proposed budget for 2009-2010, funding for the eight public television stations in Pennsylvania has been completely zeroed out. This is a loss of about $860,000 for WPSU. As you can imagine, this creates a huge deficit in station budgets. These funds are used to not only pay for the daily operations of the station, but are used to purchase programs like Sesame Street, Super WHY! and Martha Speaks. It also gives us the resources to go into communities like Lewistown, where we are providing tools to parents, teachers and caregivers that will help ready children for success in school.
While we realize that, just like everyone else, we are feeling the pressures of a worldwide economic recession, we do not believe that public broadcasting is the place to make such a drastic elimination of funding. If you feel the same, you can show your support in several ways. You can become an advocate for WPSU by logging on to wpsu.org/advocate, you can sign an online petition at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-wpsu, or you can contact your local state legislators directly:
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Rep. Kerry Benninghoff - 171st District
Rep. Mike Fleck - 81st District
Rep. C. Adam Harris - 82nd District
Pennsylvania State Senate
Sen. Jake Corman - 34th District
Sen. John Eichelberger - 30th District
Thank you for your support!
Jessica Peters is the Raising Readers coordinator for WPSU. For more information on upcoming events or on WPSU Raising Readers, contact her at (814) 863-6224, or JLD352@psu.edu.