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

Posted 24 Oct 2014

Mr. Rogers posing with Daniel Tiger

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and 15 libraries across the state have partnered to conduct a statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive as a tribute to Fred Rogers and his example of being a caring neighbor. Sweaters will be accepted at partner libraries Nov. 1-29.

"'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' has long been a place where caring and consideration for others instills good feelings in all of us," AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. "These messages and the values that children learn from the program and from PBS icon Fred Rogers are timeless.

"Fred Rogers' cardigan has come to represent the gentle spirit, warmth and nurturing of the neighborhood. As Mister Rogers himself once said 'All of us, at some time or other, need help, and whether we're giving or receiving a sweater, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.' This project connects Arkansans as neighbors."

Participating libraries include: Bainum Library and Learning Center in Glenwood, Cabot Public Library, Carlisle Public Library, Charleston Public Library, Cross County Public Library in Wynne, Delight Branch Library, De Witt Public Library, Dumas Public Library, Earle Public Library, Elkins Public Library, Green Forest Public Library, Madison County Public Library in Huntsville, Sevier County Public Library in De Queen, Van Buren Public Library and West Poinsett Library in Weiner.

Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn sweaters at participating libraries or at AETN, 350 South Donaghey Avenue, Conway. Collected sweaters will be distributed by the Arkansas Salvation Army and various local charities to those in need as cooler weather approaches.

"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," Salvation Army Central Arkansas Area Command Major Roger Glick said.

Additional information is available at aetn.org/sweaterdrive.

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 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).