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Program 904

1. pool prodigy Landon Shuffett
2. Kids on the Block
3. Fishing for Smiles
4. the Fabulous Leopard Percussionists
Season 9 Menu

Green County

For more information:
• Stan’s web site, Just Cue It, has information about lessons he teaches as well as news about Landon.

Producer: “Cousin” Dave Shuffett
Videographers: Joy Flynn, Dave Shuffett
Editor: Dan Bailey

All in the Family

pool prodigy Landon Shuffett

This episode is dedicated to the children of Kentucky, and we start with a particular child who’s making a name for himself at a very tender age.

Landon Shuffett is the cousin of our host, Dave Shuffett—but that’s not why he’s on the show. This Greensburg boy, only 7 at the time of our 2002 visit, is a pint-sized pool prodigy, possibly the best little billiards player in America.

It may be genetic, since Landon’s father, Stan, is a dedicated pool player himself. But wherever it comes from, Landon’s natural talent is immediately obvious when you turn him loose with a cue. He’s also rapidly becoming a pro at making television appearances: Before Kentucky Life, Landon had already appeared on both Late Night with David Letterman and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Warren County

For more information:
Kids on the Block, 730 Fairview Avenue, Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 842-2259

Producer: Jennifer Belcher
Videographers: Kat Stewart, Chris Mueller, Justin Hardison

Puppets with a Purpose

Kids on the Block

From Punch and Judy to Bert and Ernie, puppets seem to have an almost universal appeal. Kids on the Block, a nonprofit organization based in Bowling Green, uses that magic to get kids thinking and talking about issues that would otherwise be very difficult to raise.

The troupe’s 30 people-shaped puppets come in a wide variety of face colors, and each represents a child with a particular challenge to cope with, from medical conditions like spina bifida, autism, or cancer to prejudice or bullying to family crises like divorce or child abuse. Their interactions offer lessons both for kids dealing with the same challenges and for classmates who aren’t sure how to treat them.

The Kids on the Block puppeteers travel around Kentucky presenting their shows in elementary schools. The staff, including Executive Director Davida Warren and four regular puppeteers, also has developed age-specific presentations on safety issues, bereavement, and, for older elementary students, AIDS awareness and teen pregnancy.

Breckinridge County

For more information:
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rough River Lake, 14500 Falls of Rough Road, Falls of Rough, KY 40119, (270) 257-2061

Producer: Jennifer Belcher
Videographers: Jennifer Belcher, Kristen Churchwell

A Reel Good Time

Fishing for Smiles

Our next group of caring adults is dedicated to the idea that kids with mental and physical handicaps should also have access to fresh air and the kinds of outdoor activities other children take for granted. So these volunteers organized Fishing for Smiles, an annual fishing expedition and picnic for those kids at Rough River Lake.

The founder of Fishing for Smiles is Jeff DeFosse, a ranger from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He called on colleagues from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the state parks as well as Breckinridge County volunteers and businesses to organize the first event in 2001.

Jefferson County

For more information:
Louisville Leopard Percussionists, P.O. Box 3291, Louisville, KY 40201, (502) 635-2557

Producer: Heather Lyons
Videographer: Mike White

Diane’s Drummers

the Fabulous Leopard Percussionists

The Fabulous Leopard Percussionists have recorded CDs, played with jazz notables, and performed at national and international conventions. And yet making music is not really the primary purpose of this group. Louisville elementary school teacher Diane Downs, who has no percussion training herself, founded it as a way to teach self-confidence, personal discipline, community awareness, respect for cultural differences, and the value of striving for success. Kids don’t even audition for the group. Instead, membership is open to all who want to participate. But to stay in the group, a child must continue to meet academic and behavioral standards.

As proof that her unique approach is working, Diane can point to the enthusiasm displayed by the young performers, the praise they’ve received from the professional musicians they’ve worked with ... and a 2001 Governor’s Award in the Arts for herself in the education category.

Since our profile, Diane has expanded the group from its original base at M.L. King Elementary. The Louisville Leopard Percussionists is now a community nonprofit organization, with participation open to children throughout the Louisville area.

SEASON 9 PROGRAMS: 901902903904905906907908909: Along Highway 62

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