Press Releases

WDBJ7, Blue Ridge PBS share award funds with Smart Beginnings

February 20 2010

(February 2010) –WDBJ7 and Blue Ridge PBS presented a $1,000 check to Smart Beginnings of Greater Roanoke, during a live “JobQuest” broadcast on Feb. 16. The donation is part of a community service award the two stations recently received for work on “JobQuest,” the popular advice and information program.

Jeffrey Marks, President and General Manager at WDBJ7, and James Baum, President and CEO of Blue Ridge PBS agreed that Smart Beginnings was the most fitting recipient of the award funds, which came with the Laurence E. Richardson Community Service Award from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters (VAB).

“As proud as we are to share in the award for public service, we’re even prouder to direct the grant to Smart Beginnings, a program that will have long-term positive impact on the Roanoke Valley,” said Marks.

Smart Beginnings of Greater Roanoke is a collaborative of community leaders from business, school systems, nonprofits and private individuals who are working together to ensure that every child in Greater Roanoke enters kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

“Offering early childhood education programs and services is part of our mission at Blue Ridge PBS. The recent local production of ‘Positive Parenting’ is just one example,” said Baum. “Blue Ridge PBS worked with Smart Beginnings on that project, and we look forward to further collaboration.”

Frank Rogan, President & Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Roanoke Valley and a key Smart Beginnings partner shared, “We are honored to be working with Blue Ridge PBS and WDBJ7 to pursue strategies that make a difference in the lives of our youngest citizens. The business community, and the media for that matter, are important allies in mobilizing everyone in the Roanoke Valley to share in the vision that all of our children grow healthy and have the skills needed to succeed in school and in life. This investment that you’ve made now towards quality early childhood care and education through Smart Beginnings reaps long-term benefits. In fact, studies show that for every dollar invested now we can save our community up to $17 in the future.”

WDBJ7 and Blue Ridge PBS teamed up with other community partners to create “JobQuest” in late 2008, when the economy took a downturn. The goal of the interactive program is to help people get back to work.

The VAB award trophy is presented in the name of Laurence E. Richardson, a past president of the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, who set an impressive example of community service for all broadcasters. In determining the winner, impartial judges use specific criteria, including supporting documents from local organizations. The judges this year were from the National Association of Broadcasters.

“JobQuest” will continue to share its award-winning content with job seekers on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. and again on March 23 and 30 at 7 p.m. Visit for how-to video clips, a calendar of events, resume tips, links and job listings highlighted during the show. To follow “JobQuest” on, search for “Blue Ridge PBS.”

About “JobQuest”
“JobQuest” is a live, monthly Blue Ridge PBS production that showcases job openings from The Roanoke Times’ online employment bank——the Virginia Employment Commission, and other sources. The show covers a variety of topics related to hiring trends, job hunting on the Internet and preparing a resume. In addition to The Roanoke, “JobQuest” community partners include CBS affiliate WDBJ7, Virginia Western & New River Community Colleges, Roanoke’s Economic Development Office, Roanoke Regional Office of the Virginia Employment Commission, The Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce; Roanoke Valley Society for Human Resource Management; Virginia Economic Bridge, Inc., and National College.

About Blue Ridge PBS
Blue Ridge PBS, founded in 1967, is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS offers outstanding informational, educational and cultural programming, along with an award-winning local production team devoted to regional issues and interests. Further, over 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV in Roanoke, WSBN-TV in Norton, and WMSY-TV in Marion, Va.

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Privacy Policy

Early childhood education is critical to our community's future economic well being. It's a question of pay-now or pay-later. Research indicates that if children are prepared when they start school and reading on grade level in their early years, they're far more likely to stay on track and finish school rather than become a costly drain on the community's social service system. Those who finish school are much more likely to become contributing members of our workforce.

Joyce Waugh, CEcD
President, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce

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The United Way of Roanoke Valley serves as the fiscal agent for Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke.

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