Inspiration: Fred Rogers


The foundation of every child’s healthy development is the power of human connection. Whether we are parents, educators, media creators, or neighbors, each of us has unique and enormous potential to nourish children’s lives with positive interactions.


This is a great mission statement – don’t you think?

I felt really satisfied to read this. Its core beliefs are something all of us can strive to abide by – a potent notion that even a small interaction has tremendous potential to nourish a child’s life – really anyone’s life for that matter. It’s a hopeful reminder that we all have the power to do something positive over and over each day. For me, it is a succinct articulation of the foundation of educational therapy’s work – healthy learning builds from connections. It renews my commitment to this ideal, not only as an educational therapist, but as a parent and as a human. What are your thoughts reading this statement?

What Led Me to the Mission Statement

After seeing the Fred Roger’s movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, I felt inspired to continue to learn more about this person and the people around him. In fact, the people who appeared in the movie created a compelling constellation of personalities and kind beings who drew me in as much as the star at the center. One whose energy and presence stood out and inspired my curiosity to google in response to a “who is that guy?” feeling was Junlei Li. He exudes an equanimous presence in the film, and shared gentle wisdom in a way that I wanted to hear more from him. My understanding was unclear about how he fit into the Mr. Roger’s picture. I found that he currently directs The Fred Rogers Center as a scientist, psychologist, and scholar. And reading about him, led me to the center and its mission.

Have you seen this film? What are your reflections after considering Mr. Rogers and his cohort of kid-connectors?

Thanks Mr. Rogers, and thanks Dr. Li.

Above: JUNLEI LI, PH.D., Rita M. McGinley Chair of Early Learning and Children’s Media, Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Co-Director. Photos from

2 Responses

  1. Heather Genschmer

    I was also very interested in Junlei after watching the film, thanks for investigating and I love the mission statement!

  2. Cindy Miner Kapelke

    Thank you, Heather! I am grateful for your post and appreciate that we were able to connect about it.

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