Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stepping Out of the Box

How a Student Led Radio Show Changed the
Lives of Kids Without Stuff

by Jan Shoop

Several years ago, Bob Fishman, one of the teachers at StarShine, decided to create a kids radio show. I think most of the people Bob spoke to thought he had lost his mind. How in the world would Bob be able to develop a radio show hosted by students, with no funding?

- Kids who had no previous experience with public speaking.
- Kids who once struggled at school.
- Kids who worried about where their next meal would come from.

However, Bob did not listen to the critics. Bob wanted the students to be on the radio. Bob wanted to teach these students to communicate appropriately, express themselves clearly and think on their feet.

Bob’s plan was to teach the students communication and public speaking skills. The first year that’s what he did. Each year the class advanced and changed, depending on student needs and levels. The students learned to ask questions. They learned to improve their focus when talking to others. They learned to put others first. They interviewed everyone on campus and every guest that came to the school. Many of the people interviewed helped the students grow their dream.

After a couple of years, Bob started to see huge growth in the students. Bob was ready for the next step in his plan, so he asked his friend, Cathy Droz to visit the school. 

Cathy had a tremendous amount of experience in radio broadcasting, public relations and writing. After visiting and meeting the students, Cathy agreed to help Bob with his dream of a real radio program hosted by students.

Cathy had an idea. She contacted Perry Damone with Kidstar Radio and asked him to visit the school. Perry agreed with Bob and Cathy’s plan and started the StarShine Online Radio Program hosted by the students. The students progressed even further.

But -- Bob wanted more for his students. Bob wanted a real radio show. Bob explained, “I want the students to get in the face of people who are different from themselves.” His aim was for the students to interview adults. Bob called the students, “young adults.”

Bob and Kathy continued to work as a team. The students continued to improve. On April 2, through Kathy’s connections, a radio show was born on KFNX.

The students interviewed a police officer, involved with the Silent Witness Program, and a firefighter. The program was an enormous success. The show is now airing every other Saturday at 4:00 p.m. In fact, the first program was so successful that ABC15 aired a segment about the students.

Although, Bob has achieved his goal of a “real” radio show hosted by students, I know he is continuing to dream. Bob wants the program to move forward.

When Kids Without Stuff meet teachers like Bob, with the drive and confidence to move students forward, extraordinary things happen. Thank you, Bob Fishman and thank you to all the teachers and volunteers who spend their days working with Kids Without Stuff.