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Mister Rogers tapes PSAs to help kids cope with fear

Saturday, November 10, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Fred Rogers may no longer be producing fresh episodes of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," but he recently returned to the studio to tape a batch of public service announcements for PBS stations, including WQED.

The spots were done in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which left grown-ups and children looking to Rogers for new words of wisdom.

Typical is a one-minute spot aimed at adults that says: "Some parents wonder how to handle world news with their young children. Well, we at Family Communications have discovered that when children bring up something frightening, it's helpful right away to ask them what they know about it.

"We often find that their fantasies are very different from the actual truth. Probably what children need to hear most from us adults is that they can talk with us about anything, and that we will do all we can to keep them safe in any scary time. I'm always glad to be your neighbor."

Other announcements contain signature Rogers sentiments, such as how children should "look for the helpers" when something bad happens and how there's nothing wrong with being angry but it's what we do with our anger that matters.

For more thoughts about helping children in troubled times, go to the site operated by Family Communications at www.fci.org.

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