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Springfield Will Be Featured in a PBS Documentary

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--A PBS docu-series is being filmed right here in Springfield called "Our Kids."

It's a four part documentary taking a look at the opportunity gap between rich and poor students.  

The series just started production and is based on the best selling book titled "Our Kids" by Robert Putnam. 

A California based television crew has come to town to showcase what Springfield is doing to provide equal opportunities for underprivileged people. It's part of a documentary examining how communities are giving back to those who are underserved. 

Producer Harry Wiland says, "How can we give more opportunities to young people who are poor, maybe of color, how can they get a leg up because there's so many advantages for a child who comes from middle class and upper class backgrounds. "

One of the programs the docu-series will feature is the work being done at the Drew Lewis Foundation. The producers say that change in communities starts at the grassroots level.

"It's got to work on the community level. Amy is an example in what she's doing at the Drew Lewis Foundation. It's just phenomenal to look at kids from poor neighborhoods and say they deserve a chance to participate in the arts, the way I did," says Wiland. 

Amy Blansit of the Drew Lewis Foundation at the Fairbanks says, "I'm just glad that there is an opportunity to share a message and I think being able to share a message that isn't gloom and doom, but instead how do we be different."

Also highlighted in the documentary is the Middle College Program at Ozarks Technical Community College and the work being done at the Robberson Community Elementary School.

Producer, Dale Bell says, "The community actually owns the school and the school in affect owns the community and we talked to parents and we listened to parents who were saying we're not just dealing with our own kids, our biological kids, we're dealing with our kids as a community."

The documentary is expected to air on PBS late next year.


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