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By Lynne Valencia, Vice President of Community Relations, 9News
Above, a 9News story on January’s 9Teachers Who Care winner.
Television stations have long supported the community since the first signals hit the airwaves. 9News has led this market in community outreach through programming, campaigns, editorial coverage, partnerships and sponsorship. We recognized the influence of our broadcast and digital platforms and we understand the obligation towards improving the community we operate in. We believe that a strong community not only benefits our business, but our employees and others who live here.
12 years ago, a group of us at the station met with representatives from the educational community. We wanted to hear from superintendents, teachers, administrators and parents on how we, as a television station, could support education and students. We heard two things that we could respond to; students often do not have the school supplies required to fully participate in the classroom and teachers need more recognition for the work they do with their students. As a result of this meeting, we created two programs; Stuff for Students and 9Teachers Who Care.
Stuff for Students is a school supply drive held every August. Our goal is to collect and provide supplies to schools for use in the classroom. Teachers and administrators told us that low-income students often arrive at school without the needed supplies. If they get them, they are often left at home, causing a strain in the classroom. It was suggested that the supplies we collect be given to where they were needed most – the classroom. Supplies collected from our viewers, through our partners and online are divided and distributed to schools based on the number of kids on their free or reduced lunch program. We give the supplies to the school districts. Districts pass out supplies to schools and schools decide which classrooms need the supplies most. We support 17 school districts across the Front Range.
Our 9Teachers Who Care recognizes nine teachers a year who are doing unique things in their classrooms that push academic achievement and gets students to think broadly about their community. We seek nominations from students, parents, and anyone who knows an amazing teacher. We have honored elementary, middle and high school teachers who teach music, math, shop, history and a variety of curriculum. They host afterschool clubs, arrange field trips, utilize technology, and show up everyday willing to give 100% of themselves to enriching the lives of their students. They are creative, resourceful and caring. We accept nominations year round. Winner’s stories are broadcast on 9News, KTVD and posted on 9News.com. At the end of the school year, 9Teacher Who Care winners are invited to an award ceremony where their family and friends help them celebrate. We want strong nominations and encourage those who care about education to help us recognize the great teachers in our state. Please nominate a teacher today. Nominations can be downloaded from our website: http://www.9news.com/life/community/whocare/teachers/default.aspx
In addition to these two programs our editorial coverage of issues impacting education is another way that we are able to inform our community and to encourage engagement. We’ve seen the power of engagement make real change. We are committed to making lives better because we live, work and operate here.
Lynne Valencia joined KUSA-TV, 9NEWS as Director of Community Relations in December 1999. She was promoted to Vice President Community Relations in May, 2007.