Marcy Rogers and Stephanie, the original Payson Community Kid, are headed for New York City next Wednesday for an appearance on the "Montel Williams Show."
It will be a whirlwind three-day journey for Rogers, Stephanie and Susan Gerard, a Gila County juvenile probation and school resource officer who teaches in the program.
Payson Community Kids provides counseling, after school activities and a host of other programs for children with special needs,
Rogers said the trio will fly to New York Dec. 15, will be chauffeured to their hotel and dinner, then escorted to the studio the next day where the show will be taped. They return to Arizona Dec. 17.
The syndicated "Montel Williams Show," currently in its eighth season, is one of the most popular and respected talk shows on the air, according to the show's website (www.montelshow.com). Williams recently won an Emmy for most outstanding talk show host.
Kim Wright, one of the show's producers, said she doesn't know yet when the show will run, but said Christmas Eve day is a possibility.
The show airs locally at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday on the Fox Network (Channel 10).
"We would love to be their Christmas show," Rogers said. "That's what we're praying for."
Many of Williams' shows deal with social issues, and Rogers said she believes her program was selected to show viewers that options are available.
"They want to show that neighborhoods can help, communities can help, that all the churches and community organizations can come together and provide for children in need," she said.
Rogers was contacted about appearing on the show in June, and her first reaction was "no."
"I initially turned it down because December is such a busy time for the Payson Community Kids," she said. "It is for everyone, but when you add 30 to 50 children and families, it's overwhelming."
She eventually relented.
"My daughter said, ‘Quit freaking out. You've got to go.' My sisters said, ‘You don't have a choice.' My board said, ‘You have to do it for the children.'"
It was Rogers' idea to bring Stephanie along.
"I told them, in order for me to feel the excitement I want to see a kid get something, and Stephanie's been in the program the longest," Rogers said.
Stephanie, who is now a fifth-grader at Julie Randall Elementary School, was the first child Rogers met after moving here.
"She's been working really hard helping me with the other children, so I felt she deserved it. She's 11 and she's been doing community service work since she was three. How outstanding is that."
Payson Community Kids was founded by Rogers when she moved to Payson eight years ago after organizing a similar group in Tucson. The program currently serves 50 to 60 children ranging in age from babies to teenagers.
It was articles in the Roundup, Rogers said, that brought Payson Community Kids to the attention of the "Montel Williams Show."
"They have services that go through the Internet and they found the ‘Woman of the Year' article in the Roundup." Rogers said. "They called us and said, ‘We've seen the articles.'"
A video crew spent last Sunday with Rogers and her children, shooting footage to use on the show.
"They sent the film to New York and the show called (Wednesday) and said, ‘We can't believe we saw snow and trees,' Rogers said. "We thought you were in the desert in Arizona."
Rogers and Stephanie also have a lot to learn about New York City, which neither has visited. In fact, Stephanie has never been on an airplane or outside Arizona.
She summed up her feelings about the trip in one word: "Scared."