Springfield Featured in PBS Documentary Airing in May

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SPRINGFIELD — Efforts to help kids and families dig out of poverty is something you normally hear about in Springfield, but soon you’ll be able to actually see it for yourself 

The documentary features 9 different cities and their efforts to help kids and families overcome poverty and pursue better opportunities in education.

Springfield’s efforts to fight poverty will be spotlighted in the PBS documentary series called “Our Kids”, which airs the next four Mondays.

Dr. Robert Putnam, the man who produced the documentary, visited Springfield 6 years ago, and was hooked on some of things that were being done to forward that mission.

The Springfield portion was aired at a sneak preview screening at The Fairbanks in Springfield Wednesday night. 

Amy Blansit of the Drew Lewis Foundation talked about how Springfield became part of this series. 

“He really had spoken you know — ‘Springfield is a place I want to go back to.’ So we were invited to be a part of the poverty initiatives that are happening in Springfield in comparison to what is happening across the country,” says Blansit.

Blansit and the Drew Lewis Foundation are featured in the documentary for thier community work, but not just with children. 

“With adults we look at 10 pivotal assets that create stability. They of course are financial literacy and banking, it goes into quality housing, which we know is a concern in our community right now,” says Blansit. 

The effort to help people overcome poverty happens in many forms.  

“Things like the Robberson school and the year round model they’ve created so that families are able to work year round and not have to worry about summer break,” Blansit says.

Dr, Kevin Huffman, principal at Robberson Elementary, says he is excited for people to see the change that is taking place, rather than hearing about it.

“I guess my goal is just to work in high poverty schools and do something creative and innovative to help break that cycle,” says Huffman in the documentary. 

When KOLR10 spoke to Huffman on Wednesday, he said Robberson is proud of what it is doing and can’t wait to share its efforts.

“I think they’re just going to see that Robberson’s just got a heart for kids and a heart for families, and we’re just trying to make a difference in our part of the world,” Huffman says. 

The four-part series starts next Monday, and Springfield is featured on part two which airs May 6th. 

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