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

Posted 31 Oct 2016

The Arkansas Educational Television Network and more than 30 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. 1-30.

'For me, Fred Rogers epitomized the heart of educational public service media's mission,' AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. 'His life was devoted to helping children and their families grow and prosper.

'His legacy is carried on through the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. We have been thrilled with the tremendous response to the drive and are proud to help our neighbors and keep Fred Rogers' spirit alive.'

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.

Participating libraries include:

This is the third year for the statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. In 2015, 20 libraries participated and collected more than 2,500 sweaters. Additional information is available at aetn.org/sweaterdrive.

'The Salvation Army is excited to again 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.

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. 

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 State Library provides the resources, services, and leadership necessary to meet the educational, informational and cultural needs of the citizens of Arkansas, and provides guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and library services. For more information on the library's services, visit library.arkansas.gov.

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).