Focus

WILL - Focus - March 21, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

The Effects of Gender-typed Toys

Were the toys you played with as a child either pink or blue?  

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(Duration: 51:54)

Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves are painfully aware that they are surrounded by mostly male students in their engineering classes at the University of Illinois. That’s part of the reason they’re behind the new start-up Miss Possible Inc., a toy company with intentions to manufacture dolls for girls fashioned after historical figures like Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart.

“Most toys, especially dolls, are empty,” says Hobbs, “Entrepreneur Barbie wears a suit and has a smart phone; that makes her a CEO?”

This hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Hobbs about the start-up, and why Hobbs and Eaves want girls to be interested in science and technology. We’ll also hear from Analisa Russo, part of the company Electroninks, which is bringing a gel pen to draw circuits to market this summer. Isabelle Cherney, a researcher at Creighton University, will tell us how the toys we play can have an effect on our perceived capabilities and our gender identity.  

Then, we’ll switch gears at the end of the hour when Jake Kuebler of Bluestem Financial Advisors, LLC in Champaign joins us to discuss issues in personal finance.  


WILL - Focus - September 18, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Private Re-homing

When you can’t take care of a dog or a cat, it seems perfectly reasonable to go online to try and find them a new home. But would you ever even think to do that with a child?

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(Duration: 51:46)

Nicole Eason, who adopted several children through "private re-homing," even though she had her two biological children taken by social services.

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with reporter Megan Twohey about her series “The Child Exchange,” published last week by Reuters. In it, Twohey investigates what’s called “private re-homing,” a process by which an adoptive family hands a child over into another adult’s care without involving adoption officials or government agencies.


WILL - Focus - June 04, 2013

Touch Screen Kids

Too much screen time is bad news, at least that's how the story goes. But they're getting harder to avoid, especially during summer when kids are home from school. This hour on Focus, we talk about screens, educational media and how much is too much.

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(Duration: 50:44)

one child reads while another looks at a computer screen

In a recent article in the Atlantic, senior editor Hanna Rosin wrote about her experiences as a mother and the pressure she feels to limit her children’s screen time. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Hanna about her experiences with electronics and educational media as a parent. We’ll also talk with David Bickham, who is a researcher at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital about how much screen time is recommended, how to make the most out of that time and what the dangers are of too much screen time.


WILL - Focus - May 13, 2013

The Case for Summer Camp

What’s your favorite memory from summer camp as a kid? Do those memories influence how you feel about sending your kids there? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the psychology of summer camp.

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(Duration: 51:18)

Katie Nolan is pictured on the far left with campers at Camp Peairs near Bloomington.

When you go away to camp, you’re automatically part of a new community. You sleep in an unfamiliar bed in a room with unfamiliar bunk mates; you eat food you aren’t used to or go hungry. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about how that “camp experience”  can be good for kids. Michael Thompson is author of the book “Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow.” He joins host Jim Meadows to talk about the things camp can teach children, lessons he argues parents can’t.

Katie Nolan also joins us. She’s a camp director at Camp Tapawingo near Peoria and Camp Peairs outside Bloomington. She’s been spending her summers working with campers for almost a decade and will tell us from first-hand experience what kids go through at camp.”


WILL - Focus - May 10, 2013

Find Out More About What’s Coming Up Next Week on Focus

We'll talk about the psychology of summer camp, the case for comics in the classroom, personal finance and more! 

Next week on Focus, we’ll talk about the magic of summer camp, the growing need for translators and why some are pushing for comics in schools.


WILL - Focus - May 09, 2013

Let’s TALK Kids

This hour on Focus, we’re going to T.A.L.K. about kids with Baby TALK Founding Executive Director Claudia Quigg about the Baby TALK model, her organization and her new book. 

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(Duration: 51:29)

Claudia Quigg founded Baby TALK in the late 1980’s in Decatur after having children of her own and realizing that even though she had a supportive group of friends, she needed advice and access to resources. Today the organization has a presence in 36 states and Canada and has more than 100 programs in operation in Illinois communities. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Claudia about why the earliest years of life, from birth to age 3, are so important and what resources her organization provides in East Central Illinois. We’ll also talk about the memories and lessons she’s taken away from working with families for more than three decades and about her new book "Let's Talk Kids: Becoming a Family." 

Claudia writes a weekly column for the Decatur Herald-Review and has a weekly radio segment that airs on NPR member station WUIS in Springfield at 7:55 on Thursday mornings.


WILL - Focus - March 25, 2013

50 Years Later: Assembly Hall

What’s your fondest memory of Assembly Hall? A concert? A speech? Today on Focus, we remembered 50 years of the Hall with Fred Kroner, author of the new book “A Saucer Coming to Rest, A Half Century of Assembly Hall” and Kevin Ullestad, Assembly Hall’s Director.

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(Duration: 55:01)

Assembly Hall

Assembly Hall has been the focus of attention since its inception more than a half century ago. With new plans to renovate the space, we remember the hall this hour on Focus. We’ll talk about how many people thought the funds should go to academics when the hall was first built and how some said the design was doomed to collapse. 


WILL - Focus - January 25, 2013

Violence and Video Games

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(Duration: 50:47)

People playing a video game

Do gory and graphic video games really affect behavior? How did games get to be so violent in the first place? This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with Craig Anderson, a professor at Iowa State University and the Director of the Center for Study of Violence about what the research shows us about the connection between violence and video games.


WILL - Focus - January 22, 2013

International Adoption in Illinois

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(Duration: 50:45)

Ben and Timmy McClelland

The Russian government recently instituted a controversial ban on adoptions to the United States. Outcry from both families in the middle of the adoption process with Russia and families who have previously adopted from the country has been harsh.



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