Every quarter, WJAR-TV in Cranston, R.I., selects a grassroots organization championing change in the community and helps it grow by providing extensive on-air support. Now in its fifth year, the "Champions in Action" campaign, a partnership between the station and Citizens Bank, has provided funding and media exposure for dozens of organizations. Through the program, viewers have seen the work of former gang members turned counselors at the Institute for Study and Practice of Nonviolence; volunteers have been recruited to help the Welcome House Shelter; and students have learned about New Urban Arts, an after-school arts mentoring program. WJAR produces public service announcements and news stories about each "champion," and a quarterly breakfast hosted by the station provides recipients with networking opportunities. "When we became a ‘Champion in Action’ recipient, it really catapulted us into a new era," said Robert Cardeiro from the Norman Bird Sanctuary. "It enabled us to reach out to a larger audience and garner more volunteers." In celebration of the program’s fifth anniversary, the station produced a 30-minute special about the many "Champions in Action," both past and the present.
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