In November 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 into law, expanding
non-commercial, public interest broadcasting throughout our nation. Fifty-five years on, New Hampshire PBS continuously reflects and evolves to meet the changing needs and interests of our community — a central tenet of our public service mission.
Jasmine Torres Allen is NHPBS’ new community and education engagement coordinator. Allen is meeting with groups and local leaders throughout the state to learn about their interests and find creative ways NHPBS can better serve community concerns.
“I am actively assessing and listening to community needs and educator needs,” says Torres Allen. “People who live in the community understand best what their needs are. We want to build programs that meet those needs and build trusting relationships with individuals and groups.”
One goal is to get more educators using NHPBS’ rich educational content, which is entirely free to access. A focus group of about 20 teachers — encompassing different subjects and grades — is providing feedback on existing content and helping to shape future programming. Educators identify subjects and historical periods of interest and the best digital tools for student use. Other projects include working with nonprofit and industry groups on workforce development to find ways NHPBS can educate effectively about opportunities in the health care, childcare and building trades industries.
As Allen meets with various groups, one common need is emerging: language services. “There’s a significant number of Spanish and Portuguese speakers in Nashua — and in Manchester and Concord — but I’m finding now up north, it’s actually 30 percent French,” says Torres Allen. “I’m beginning to understand there’s a language component that could be included in a lot more of our content, and on our community advisory board, and I’m hoping to expand on that.” She adds that studies show including bilingual content increases concerted family activities, fosters community building and is more inclusive.
SURVIVING NEW ENGLAND’S GREAT DYING is an NHPBS documentary on the Indigenous peoples of New Hampshire, which premiered last year. To increase access, Torres Allen is currently creating a lesson plan and discussion guide for teachers, which will include an Abenaki language component — the language of the Wabanaki peoples of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Quebec. NHPBS is also planning a related screening and live event at the Nashua Public Library.
Expanding NHPBS’ viewership also involves collaborating with the state’s younger population — those aged 40 and under. Torres Allen hopes to grow the FLAVORS OF OUR NEIGHBORS (LOS SABORES DE NEUSTROS VECINOS) project, profiling Latino restaurant owners to other populations, including BIPOC and LGBTQ-helmed restaurants. Other potential programming includes a creative spotlight, highlighting artists and creative professionals and having them share their artworks.
Before joining New Hampshire PBS this summer, Jasmine worked in radio in Nashua and at a multimedia company she had started with a friend. Her background also includes educational and training roles with nonprofits, focused on youth development and helping previously incarcerated young adults with their re-entry into society. For nearly a decade, she worked in Boston restaurants as a chef, a vocation which she credits for honing her people skills and attention to detail.
To learn more about NHPBS’ engagements and initiatives, visit: nhpbs.org/education.
About New Hampshire PBS: New Hampshire PBS inspires one million Granite Staters each month with engaging and trusted local and national programs and services on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Beyond its award-winning television programs, New Hampshire PBS is a leader in education and community engagement. www.nhpbs.org
Peter A. Frid
President & CEO
Vice President & Chief Content Officer
Carla Gordon Russell
Director of Communications