News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 7, 2013

VIDEO: SPPRAK segment airs on NBC News

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — About 9 million national TV viewers got a very positive image of Terre Haute Monday night, thanks to a tiny not-for-profit group and the Vigo County School Corp.

SPPRAK – Special People Performing Random Acts of Kindness – is a Wabash Valley not-for-profit launched in 2009. In February, the group got permission from the school corporation to place banners in the schools on which kids attach sticky notes recording random acts of kindness they witness each day.

The program, known as the “SPPRAK Pack,” soon got national attention and, last week, NBC news contributor Kevin Tibbles was at Lost Creek Elementary School and Terre Haute North Vigo High School to find out more. Then, Monday night, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, currently the top-rated of the “big three” network news shows, broadcast the Tibbles piece.

“As I look at my time as superintendent, I’d say this is one of the most proud moments I’ve had,” said Dan Tanoos, superintendent of Vigo County schools, just a few minutes after the feature aired. “Just watching those little elementary kids on TV just now really put a lump in my throat.”

The three friends who started SPPRAK, Kim Grubb, Robin Heng and Susan Short, watched the broadcast together and all had tears of joy in their eyes.

“It gave a good picture of what SPPRAK Pack is about,” said Heng, who said the original plan was for the SPPRAK Pack to last just two weeks, but school corporation officials wanted it to become a long-term program, she said.

The NBC feature story captured well the simplicity of the program, added Short. “The little kids have such a grasp. This gives them an opportunity to control something and do something nice for someone.”

Grubb appreciated how the piece included interviews with people of a wide variety of ages and all seemed to understand the point of the SPPRAK Pack program.

“Anybody, from a first-grader tying a friend’s shoe, can make a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

SPPRAK Pack banners, covered in sticky notes, are in all Vigo County schools and even in the administration building, Tanoos said.

“It’s really taken off and has been a huge success in a short time,” he said. “This spotlight on Terre Haute really is a moment to remember.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

To see the NBC segment, go to: www.nbcnews.com/id/40153870/vp/51795308#51795308

For web only content see: www.nbcnews.com/id/40153870/vp/51795308#51794097