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AETN, Arkansas libraries partner for statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive

Posted 22 Oct 2015

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and 20 libraries across the state have partnered to sponsor the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive as a tribute to Fred Rogers and his example of being a caring neighbor. The drive will be held Nov. 2-30.

Participating libraries include: Arkansas State Library (Little Rock), Bainum Library and Learning Center (Glenwood), Barton Library (El Dorado), Calhoun County Public Library (Hampton), Carlisle Public Library, Charleston Public Library, Cross County Public Library (Wynne), Delight Branch Library, De Witt Public Library, Dumas Public Library, Earle Public Library, Garland County Public Library (Hot Springs), Harper Memorial Library (Junction City), Huttig Public Library, Marjorie Walker McCrary Public Library (Lonoke), Monticello Branch Library, Sevier County Public Library (De Queen), Smackover Public Library, Strong Public Library and Van Buren Public Library.

Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn sweaters at participating libraries or AETN headquarters in Conway. Sweaters collected in this drive will be distributed by various local charities and the Arkansas Salvation Army. Additional information is available at aetn.org/sweaterdrive.

'Mister Rogers epitomized the mission of educational public service media,' AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. 'He dedicated his career to helping children and families grow together and thrive.

'His legacy is carried on through the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. We are proud to conduct this drive to help many Arkansas neighbors and keep Fred Rogers' spirit alive.'

This is the second year for the statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. In 2014, 15 libraries participated and collected more than 2,000 sweaters for The Salvation Army and local charities.

To help set the tone for a 'comfortable' visit with his young viewers, Rogers put on a sweater and changed into sneakers as a way to help children settle in for 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.' All of Rogers' original sweaters were knitted by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers. Each year, she knitted a dozen sweaters and gave them to family and close friends at Christmas.

'The Salvation Army is excited to partner with AETN on this project that will bring warmth and comfort to our neighbors in need this holiday season,' Major Roger Glick of The Salvation Army Central Arkansas Area Command said.

Over the course of more than 40 years, 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,' PBS' longest-running children's series, earned four Daytime Emmys. As a testament to his legacy, Rogers received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and was recognized in 2002 with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his contributions to children's development and education using broadcast television.

The Fred Rogers Company was founded by Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes, but it also extended Rogers' values and approach to other efforts in promoting children's social, emotional and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on his legacy through a wide variety of media and by engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. Additional information is available at FredRogers.org.

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. Additional information is available at salvationarmyusa.org.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).