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Lakeshore Public Media Set to Launch ‘Building Blocks’ Early Learning Initiative

Lakeshore Public Media announced they will host the Building Blocks Breakfast: Fueling the Future on September 25, from 8-10 a.m. at the Dean & Barbara White Community Center in Merrillville. This event will serve as the official launch of Lakeshore’s "Building Blocks'' initiative, a comprehensive multimedia project aimed at exploring the science behind early childhood development as well as the issues and obstacles that many families face, while identifying tools and resources that can help give children the best start to a successful life.

Attendees will gather in the Mike Anderson Chevrolet Event Center to enjoy a complimentary meal, visit vendor tables showcasing local resources, and listen to keynote addresses from station leadership and local experts. For more details, including tickets and sponsorships, visit LakeshorePublicMedia.org/BuildingBlocks.

Chuck Roberts, President and CEO of Lakeshore Public Media, expressed his excitement for the project and its inaugural event.

“We are thrilled to launch our Building Blocks project with the Building Blocks Breakfast: Fueling the Future. This event is more than just a meal; it is a powerful gathering of community leaders, experts, and families united by a common goal—to lay a strong foundation for our children's future,” Roberts said. “The Building Blocks project reflects our unwavering commitment to education and empowerment by providing essential insights and shining a light on resources that address the critical early stages of child development. Join us as we embark on this transformative journey to ensure every child in Northwest Indiana has the opportunity to thrive.”

Lakeshore Public Media was recently awarded a $100,000 matching grant from the Legacy Foundation as part of the Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VIII) initiative. This grant marks a significant milestone for the nonprofit station, and will enable Lakeshore to produce its “Building Blocks” television program and corresponding initiatives that promote high-quality early learning and child development across Northwest Indiana and beyond. Community members and businesses interested in supporting the initiative and having their donation matched dollar-for-dollar can make a contribution at LakeshorePublicMedia.org/BuildingBlocks.

Carl Kurek, Vice President of Development at Lakeshore Public Media, said the support from the Legacy Foundation is a testament to the importance of early childhood development in our community.

"Early learning has become a prominent topic of discussion in many different circles, and Lakeshore has the opportunity to generate widespread impact through the production of ‘Building Blocks.’” Kurek said. “The opportunity to match funds not only incentivizes donations but also establishes long-term support for this initiative. This ensures that we can continue to create impactful content and promote high-quality early development in our region for years to come."

The "Building Blocks" series is slated to premiere its first episode in October 2024. This six-episode series will cover critical topics such as brain development, maternal mental health, early intervention, and the effects of childhood experiences. Complementing the series will be special programming for radio broadcasts on 89.1 FM and podcast content available online. Additionally, public events, like “Learn with Lakeshore,” will engage community members and highlight available resources.

The program's steering committee, comprising individuals from local and statewide organizations, has played a pivotal role in its design since February 2023. Members include leaders from First Things First Porter County, Purdue Extension, Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children, Northwest Indiana Community Action, Porter-Starke Services, and Community Healthcare Systems.

Lakeshore Public Media’s early development efforts align with the mission of PBS stations, which reach more families with young children in low-income homes than any other children’s TV network. By leveraging the extensive reach of public broadcasting, this program will serve as a valuable resource, particularly for underserved and underprivileged families.