AUDIENCE RELATIONS: A DIRECT LINE TO YOUNG HEARTS
Throughout COVID-19, SAT-7 KIDS has been a loving, familiar hand for children to hold when nothing else feels normal. But maintaining this consistency not only involves presenters and production teams. Behind the scenes, SAT-7 KIDS Audience Relations are a direct line of support for young hearts across the Middle East.
“So many children and young adults are engaging with us!” says Audience Relations Coordinator Suzy Gabenian. “We invited children to share their lockdown activities with us, and they are sending videos of themselves singing, praying, dancing, and telling Bible stories. This initiative helps kids express themselves and takes their minds off any worries.”
In these inspiring videos, the young viewers show strong faith and positivity. Louly, a young girl from Egypt, sent in a video of a playful dialogue in which her mother tests her Bible knowledge. When her mother asks what Jesus did, Louly answers, “Miracles.” When she is then asked, “What did Jesus do for Louly?”, the little girl says, “He died on the cross.” In a second video, four-year-old Lyandra recites the Lord’s Prayer in Coptic, the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church. In others, children share their favourite verses, including young O’Neil from Iraq, who recites Psalm 8. The videos are shared in live SAT-7 KIDS programs and on social media, which is a great encouragement to the children.
“The role of Audience Relations has been very important during the pandemic,” says Gabenian, who is based in Lebanon. “When our young viewers are isolated at home, they need us to show them God’s love and reassure them with His Word.” When the crisis hit the Middle East, the team posted videos that explained the facts in age-appropriate ways, helping young viewers protect themselves and others. “Then we created more videos to encourage them – telling them that, while we must take precautions, we should not forget that God is stronger than any disease. We help kids rely on and trust in Jesus, our only refuge,” Gabenian continues. These videos have been well-received – one, with Family of Jesus presenter Mina Awny, reached almost 430,000 people and received more than 30,000 responses. One viewer responds, ‘Thank you for this encouraging and reassuring message. May God fill our hearts with peace that passes every understanding, in a world full of fear.”
A purpose-driven role
But for Gabenian, supporting children is not only a pandemic response – it is her daily routine. Every day, she replies to viewers’ messages and emails and manages the channel’s social media pages, sharing clips, photos, and program timings as well as posts to encourage children in different areas of life. She sends out gifts and messages for children’s birthdays, runs the “Star of the Week” section on the SAT-7 KIDS website, and prepares child-friendly devotions for older children to read.
Gabenian was also instrumental in launching Facebook Live sessions in 2019, which have since become an important part of the channel’s wider pandemic response. She explains that these sessions help viewers feel closer to SAT-7 KIDS presenters. “In the first session, which was about fear, 85 children took part,” she says. “Some children said they were scared of lions, or the dark, or being alone. So the presenters shared their testimonies. They said, ‘I used to be afraid of the dark, too, but after I knew God in my life everything changed.’ This session was a triumph,” she smiles.
In every aspect of her role, Gabenian finds great fulfilment in seeing the impact of SAT-7 KIDS firsthand. “We get to see the children’s love for us, their desire to learn from our programs, and – most importantly – their confidence in us,” she says.