Julia Burney-Witherspoon is no longer "just" one of ABC-TV's Persons of the Week.
As of tonight, she's Person of the Year!
World News anchor Charlie Gibson gave Julia and her Cops 'N Kids reading program and book giveaway his special designation on Friday's broadcast. She shares the honor with Central Christian Church's Piecemakers Quilting Group of Henderson, NV.
Gibson quoted Julia saying, "When people think of poverty, they think of no food, no shelter, but they never think no books," and he used photos from Saturday's book giveaway, noting that the 40,000 books handed out were only a small part of the more than 250,000 books Cops 'N Kids has given away. Not to mention the 70 additional communities where the program has been copied.
You can find ABC's writeup of the story online.
And here's VIDEO of the segment in September when Charlie Gibson first named Julia Burney-Witherspoon Person of the Week.
ABC News expected to spotlight Cops 'N Kids again
ABC World News with Charles Gibson is about to shine a positive spotlight on Racine -- again.
A film crew was in town Thursday to interview Julia Burney-Witherspoon about Saturday's Cops 'N Kids book giveaway. The event was the most successful in Cops 'N Kids history, giving out more than 40,000 books to more than 2,000 kids.
This will be Julia Burney-Witherspoon's second appearance on World News in just a few months: On Sept. 26 she was Charlie Gibson's Person of the Week honoree. You can read the transcript here.
Burney-Witherspoon said a two-person film crew came to the Cops 'N Kids Reading Center at 800 Villa St. to interview her for Friday night's ABC News broadcast, which is seen at 5:30 p.m. here on Cable Channels 7 and 12. She was interviewed by Alice Maggin, a producer in New York.
Burney-Witherspoon is excited, because each time Cops 'N Kids gets publicity like this more communities express interest in the program, providing books to more children. "There were so many e-mails when they did us as Person of the Week," she said. "We were bombarded with calls and e-mails and books and people wanting to duplicate the program." A National Education Association article says Cops 'N Kids "is now in about 70 cities and towns across the country. The program was adopted by the service organization Quota International, whose local chapters are busy planting new Cops 'N Kids programs in their communities."
Jim Eastman, whose Merchants Moving and Storage Company hosts the book giveaway each year, says he hopes the broadcast will "plant some seeds" in other communities. Eastman said he'll move the book giveaway to a larger warehouse room next year, to "improve the flow: more space and no stairs." In addition to books, kids got treats, a visit with Santa, a chance to make some crafts, an opportunity to be photographed, videotaped and fingerprinted for SafeAssured ID. In addition, police and FBI agents were present to talk with the kids and autograph their new books -- all part of former police officer Witherspoon's initial goal of teaching kids that cops are friends and not to be feared.
(P.S. We here at RacinePost are especially excited, because ABC has borrowed some of the pictures we took at the book giveaway Saturday.... Who knows, we may be on the teevee, too!)