Highlights TV Show Features WV KIDS COUNT & 2nd Annual WV Kids Summit & Awards Luncheon


Highlights is a 30 minute weekly TV show featuring organizations, events, grass-roots efforts and people who move our state and community forward in a positive way.

The show is a collaboration with Kanawha County Schools, Suddenlink Communications, The Media Center and Jim Strawn & Company.

The show airs daily at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Suddenlink’s channel 17.

The show airing September 28, 2020 – October 5, 2020 features the WV KIDS COUNT and their upcoming WV Kids Summit & Awards Luncheon set for October 6, 2020 beginning at noon on Facebook Live.

We interviewed Tricia Kingery, Executive Director and Bobbie Spry, Community Engagement Specialist with WV KIDS COUNT.


Trish discussed their mission and purpose.  They are a private, nonprofit, non-partisan organization that has championed the needs of kids and families for more than 31 years. They are a leading resource for data on child and family well-being in the state. The Data Book, their signature program, is an objective, reliable and valued source of data for educating policymakers and the public about children’s needs throughout WV.

Trish added they are doing everything in their power to make West Virginia a great place to be a kid.

As we spoke with Bobbie, we learned about the varied programs and the challenge they have faced in 2020 with the health pandemic. She spoke about the Data Book 101 trainings (via virtual), the Family & Community PAX Tools Facilitation, and the Regional Ambassadors trainings. WV KIDS COUNT has 8 Regional Ambassadors.

Trish discussed how the Data Book is broke down into 4 domains: Education, Health, Economic Well-Being and Family & Community.

This year’s 2nd Annual WV Kids Summit & Awards Luncheon is scheduled for October 6, 2020 beginning at noon from Edgewood Country Club will be broadcast live on the WV KIDS COUNT Facebook Page.

The Summit will consist of speakers, release of data and honoring this year’s Champions of Children.


The overall Champion of Children is Brad D. Smith, former CEO of Intuit and co-founder of The Wing 2 Wing Foundation, an organization whose goal is to advance the great equalizers of education and entrepreneurship in regions where individuals and communities have been overlooked and underserved. He and his wife, Alys, personally donated $25 million to Marshall University because they believe so passionately in education and economic opportunity. Smith also led Intuit to establish a prosperity hub in downtown Bluefield, creating up to 500 jobs planned. He is a true West Virginia success story – a son of Marshall University and champion of all that is good in the Mountain State.

Brad smith

The Education Champion of Children is Dr. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University. Dr. Gee is one of America’s most prominent higher education leaders, having helmed universities for more than three decades. In 2009, Time magazine named him one of the top 10 university presidents in the United States. Recently, the website Great Value Colleges named him the nation’s top university president. In 2014, Gee returned to West Virginia University, where his career as a university president began. His leadership goals include putting students first, advancing the university’s research agenda and partnering with West Virginia communities.

The Economic Well-Being Champion of Children is Nikki Bowman Mills, a West Virginia native who founded New South Media, Inc. and serves as president of the company, publisher, and editor-in-chief. Her mission is to create high caliber publications that change the perceptions of West Virginia by championing the state with positive stories. Because of her vision and leadership, what started as a regional publishing company has exponentially grown into a national multimedia powerhouse. Bowman Mills is a mother of two and advocate for empowering women. She most recently showcased a series of articles in WV Living Magazine titled ‘Meet Our Incredible Kids’ presented by WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital. Kids from all over the state are profiled for stepping up and inspiring others with their inherent spirit and kindness. She is currently working on transforming an entire block in Morgantown where she is providing affordable space for
small businesses to get started and grow.

The Health Champion of Children is Dr. Larry Rhodes, Professor of Pediatrics at WVU School of Medicine, and one of the nation’s leading advocates for rural children’s health. He maintains a clinical practice in Morgantown and also provides outreach pediatric cardiology care in several rural communities including Lewisburg, Glenville, Summerville, Beckley, Gary and Pineville. Dr. Rhodes volunteers each summer at Camp Mountain Heart in Ripley – a week-long adventure where children, ages 8-17, with congenital and acquired heart disease participate in fun activities under close medical supervision. In 2017, he helped establish a second summer camp, Tomorrow is Mine, for children in southern West Virginia to instill in them the belief that their future is bright and under their control. Under his leadership, the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health has enabled more than 1,000 students to complete rural health training and provided scholarships to encourage WVU dental and medical students to commit to practice in rural locations.

The Family and Community Champion of Children is Linda McKinney, Director of Five Loaves &; Two Fishes Food Bank in McDowell, WV. She is a wonderful example of goodness of humanity against all odds. The McKinney family, and a small group of volunteers are responsible for feeding 150 families each week. She does her job with humility and without a need for thanks. Food Bank programs include Ladies Night Out, School Break Bag, Baby Pantry and Emergency Pantry. McKinney represents the best of West Virginia here at home and on a national level. In 2017, television personality, Anthony Bourdain and the crew of his show “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” visited the McKinney home to shoot part of a season premiere featuring West Virginia. In 2018, she was featured on the Season 2 finale of “Returning The Favor” with host and Dirty Jobs star, Mike Rowe.

Champion of children 20

All Champions have a lifelong dedication to improving the well-being of children in the Mountain State and believe every child in West Virginia counts.

Bobbie talked about how support for this event also supports the mission of WV KIDS COUNT.

With no individual tickets being sold, sponsorships are critical this year. Bobbie encouraged all to visit the web site to secure your level of support.

Any questions, please contact her at 304-345-2101.

If you would like to learn more about the Highlights TV Show, contact Host and Executive Producer Jim Strawn at 304-541-4756.


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James Strawn

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