For immediate release
August 9, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

NPR Listener and USA WEEKEND Magazine Reader Ruth Kamps of Waukesha, WI to be Broadcast Essayist On August 15 Edition of This I Believe, NPR Series Exploring Personal Values

Essay Capturing the Importance of All Living Things Chosen from More Than 4600 Entries

WASHINGTON - This I Believe, the NPR® (National Public Radio) weekly series of personal essays about core values and beliefs - a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow's landmark 1950s project - will feature the thoughts and words of retired elementary school teacher Ruth Kamps of the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, WI on the August 15 edition of Morning Edition®.

Kamps, whose essay was chosen from among 4600 submitted since the series launched four months ago, writes on the importance of her life compared to that of a tree. Kamps says, "There are those who want to give my life more importance than the tree, but I don't believe them. They think there is special place for me somewhere for eternity, but I don't believe them. I believe my tree and all other living things believe and feel in their particular living ways. I want to work on being as good a human as I am able, just as my tree does her job with grace and elegant treeness."

Kamps wrote her This I Believe essay after reading about the series in USA WEEKEND Magazine, which is the national print partner for the series and encouraged readers to submit their own entries. Initially, she didn't plan on attempting the project. The next morning at 5 a.m., however, she got an idea and wrote it in a matter of minutes. Kamps listens to NPR programming on Wisconsin Public Radio.

She joins an impressive list of essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4; participants have included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris, authors John Updike and Isabel Allende, psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, and physicist Brian Greene. This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners from around the country who have responded with essays on a variety of subjects.

According to Jay Allison, who hosts the segment, "Ruth Kamps found her inspiration right outside her window, and deep within her own experience. The combination made for an arresting essay about the meaning we find in our surroundings even as we grow old, or perhaps 'especially' as we grow old."

NPR and its member stations have always had a strong connection to its listeners, and with This I Believe, listeners have the opportunity for their personal beliefs to be heard on more than 600 public radio stations across the country, reaching over two million people. Essays from listeners comprise at least half of the pieces broadcast.

According to USA WEEKEND, its coverage of This I Believe has generated nearly 500 essays from their readers. The weekly magazine has a circulation of 22.7 million and is distributed in more than 600 newspapers in the United States. This year USA WEEKEND is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

During its original run in the 1950s, Murrow's This I Believe launched a national dialogue about core values and beliefs. The contemporary version covers a broad spectrum of topics such as compassion, faith, love, the power of change, the importance of knowledge, the value of family and tolerance. The essays range from poignant to humorous, and provide unique insight into what Americans believe in the 21st century. This I Believe essay writing has already been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations. This I Believe essays have been read or played at weddings and funerals. Additionally, blogs have featured the concept among groups as diverse as college students, senior citizens and people affiliated with various religious and political associations. The segments air every Monday, alternating between NPR's signature newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on To find your local station, to listen to past essays or to submit an essay, please visit

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.