Over the past four decades, an alarming opportunity gap has widened among our nation’s children. If present trends continue, according to Harvard Professor of Public Policy, Dr. Robert Putnam and author of the best-selling books Bowling Alone and Our Kids, we will be a country tilting towards a two-tier caste system. The Media Project tells compelling stories about diverse families caught in the widening opportunity gap between “haves” and “have nots”, and the strategies and solutions that communities and leaders are developing by working together.

The traditional American ideal that individuals can move up the socio-economic ladder regardless of where they started out in life is at risk. The impact will be profound not just on our children but on our economy and even the strength of our democracy. 

Our Kids: Narrowing the Opportunity Gap is the 4-part broadcast hosted by Dr. Robert Putnam to be distributed by public television. The series profiles younger generations, their families and their communities examining inter-twining circles of influence: families, parenting, schools, socio/economic status, legal justice and communities that impact today’s youth. Each one-hour episode of Our Kids: Narrowing the Opportunity Gap explores one of these circles of influence from multiple perspectives including from the kids themselves. Dr. Putnam and others provide important context and analysis. Viewers will get insight into the lives of those living in the opportunity gap by hearing their very personal and emotional stories.

Our Kids travels to nine communities across the country uncovering the issues, talking to kids, parents, educators, community leaders, non-profits, and those spearheading grassroots efforts to halt this dangerous and ever-growing decline, and to restore a greater chance for upward mobility for all of our children. Many of these grassroots programs can be adapted and adopted by communities across the country with the necessary local support. These programs can ignite and invigorate struggling communities that are looking for answers to this growing problem. The nine communities include: Springfield, MO; Seattle; Duluth; Columbus, OH; Nashville; Detroit; Manchester, NH; Riverside, CA and Boston.

Change can’t happen overnight. While some of the programs profiled in the series have more immediate outcomes, they are all long-term strategies that we must begin now. The future depends on it. We must create a more equitable society where every child has hope and is not destined to fail or succeed based on the success or failure of his or her parents or on their zip code.

Each of the four hours of Our Kids features communities examining the issues they face in identifying and addressing the opportunity gap. In nine unique eight locations, we profile programs designed to narrow the gap: examples of efforts being made to inspire viewers and professionals alike; examples that can be replicated elsewhere with the necessary local support.

 These are just a few of the innovative programs and people featured in Our Kids :












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