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Connor Gordon, 11, Wins “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search”

ARTHUR, the award-winning PBS KIDS GO! television series, and CVS Caremark All KIDS CAN, a program dedicated to making life easier for kids with disabilities, are thrilled to announce the grand prize winner of the “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search.” Connor Gordon, 11, of Savage, Minn., was selected for his character, Lydia Fox, a ten year-old girl fox who uses a wheelchair and loves to draw and play basketball. Connor, along with ARTHUR creator and author Marc Brown, unveiled his character at his elementary school in Savage, Minn. In recognition of Connor’s achievement, CVS Caremark presented a donation of $5,000 to St. John the Baptist school for library or arts curricula.Selected out of an overwhelming 8,500 entries, Connor, along with his character Lydia Fox will be featured in a live-action segment of the ARTHUR show. The segment will be part of an episode airing June 30 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings).”My character, Lydia, wants kids to know that even though she’s in a wheelchair, she can do what everyone else can do, but in her own way,” Connor stated when asked about his character. “I’m so excited.”Launched in February 2009, the ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search invited children ages 6-12 create a new friend for ARTHUR. The activity was designed to educate children about the importance of inclusion and how children of all abilities can play together. It also encouraged parents and children to think about what life is like for someone they know who has a disability.”We were thrilled with the enormous response from children across the country, and the exceptional thought and detail that went into each of the entries, especially our grand prize winner,” said Eileen Howard Dunn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations at CVS Caremark. “Connor’s entry really champions the idea of inclusion and helps us to think not only about what life is like for someone with a disability but also about characteristics in each of us that make us unique.”CVS Caremark All Kids Can supports programs and services that help children with disabilities learn, play, and succeed in life. Since its premiere in 1996, ARTHUR has celebrated the importance of friendship and the value of accepting and including kids with different abilities from all walks of life. Buster proves that kids who can manage their asthma can do anything, Marina shows her friends what it’s like to be blind, George succeeds as a student with dyslexia, and Carl–in an upcoming season–will share what it’s like to have autism.”We saw thousands of character ideas from around the country,” said Jacqui Deegan, ARTHUR Executive Producer. “We were truly inspired by all them, and especially by Connor’s character, Lydia Fox, whose creativity, intelligence and positive attitude are a perfect match for our series. We think Lydia would make a wonderful friend for Arthur and the gang in Elwood City.”The Character Search entries were reviewed by the producers of the ARTHUR show, colleagues from CVS Caremark, and a celebrity panel including Tolon Brown from Marc Brown Studios; Terri Mauro, About.com’s Guide to Parenting Special Needs; Matt Cavedon from Boundless Playgrounds; Katy Beh Neas, Vice President of Government Relations for Easter Seals; and Susan Kane, Editor-in-Chief of Parenting magazine’s “School Years” edition.The panel also selected nine Finalists in the ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search who will receive prize packages including CVS gift cards and ARTHUR merchandise. CVS Caremark will make a grant of $1,000 to each child’s school for library or arts programs. The finalists in alphabetical order are:· Emily Glaze of Birmingham, Alabama for her character “Grace Davis”· Shane Kearney of Lexington, Virginia for his character “Carlos”· Joseph Kesting of Yardville, New Jersey for his character “Sammy Gato”· Meaghan Pannasch of Morganville, New Jersey for her character “Arianna Petals”· Emily Pruitt of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina for her character “Bubby and his service dog Aubrey”· Meg Sheeran of Worcester, Massachusetts for her character “Preston McPanda”· Amy Solov of South Easton, Massachusetts for her character “Kristy Star”· Eliana Yopp of Santee, California for her character “Alana”· Charlie Zimmerman of Delaware, Ohio for his character “Frankie Salvador”For more information about the ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search, please visit pbskidsgo.org/arthur/allkidscan.Funding for the “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search” is provided by CVS Caremark.

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