If inspiring everyday heroes aren’t enough to hook teen viewers, Give, featuring NBC News correspondent and founder of UNICEF’s Next Generation Jenna Bush Hager, has a reality-TV-show vibe that includes money at stake, celebrity appearances, and even a “shocking twist” – and even more shockingly, it accomplished this all with good taste and a big heart. Each episode involves a “celebrity ambassador” from the world of film, television, music, sports, or business. A big foundation puts money at stake and the celebrity visits two different non-profits (described in the show open as “small but mighty charities”), sometimes devising a ruse to explain why he or she is visiting, other times going there undercover. The celebrities meet the people, examine the practices, and evaluate community impacts—and then it’s time for the big reveal: The celebrity has to allocate funds to the charities based on the visit, observations, and consultations with an expert from the non-profit world.
In one episode, chef and author Sunny Anderson visits two organizations in New York dedicated to helping females in underserved communities. Anderson says she’s there making a documentary and she spends her time talking to the non-profit workers and the girls and women they serve. Sunny cooks with them, talks with them, and finds out how these organizations are helping the females build skills and set goals for bright and independent futures, and then Anderson decides how to split $50,000 between the two groups.
In other episodes, Jenna Bush Hager visits charities devoted to helping rescued cats; former soccer star Cobi Jones and basketball player Jordan Clarkson team up to assess two Los Angeles charities that teach teens about teamwork and life skills through sports; Blair Underwood visits two Southern California organizations working to end poverty and homelessness; mother-daughter actresses Connie Stevens and Joely Fisher visit organizations that help senior citizens through multigenerational programs; and actors J.R. Martinez and James Pickens, Jr., visit non-profits that help special needs students excel in the arts.
Give is driven by inspiring people who use ingenuity, compassion, innovation, and kindness to help others overcome challenges. And that’s a “reality” show that’s important for every teen to embrace.
Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.