Island videographer recognized for work on ‘Tuesday’s Child’
Almost every Rhode Islander knows the “Tuesday’s Child” series which showcases children in need of an adoptive family. Jamestown’s Albert Gamble, an NBC 10 WJAR videographer, is the cameraman who films it.
For 14 years he has helped tell the children’s stories. Adoption Rhode Island recognized him on Nov.17 for his work and his dedication to youngsters in need of a family.
His own three adoptive children, Jack, 13, Gabriela, 11, and Maya, 9, came to the State House ceremony to cheer on their dad along with their mother, former television news reporter, Robin Costello.
Gabriela liked hearing her father introduced with a story about how he always teaches the children how the camera works. But her favorite part of the ceremony came “when my dad finished his speech and touched everyone,” she said.
Gamble wrote the speech on the fly. He said he typed it into his cellphone during the awards presentations while he was waiting for his name to be called. Five or so people were on the program to receive awards ahead of him, so he had enough time to jot the words down.
Although he didn’t practice his delivery, he knew where he was going with the speech, he said. He wanted to tell the audience about a recent taping of “Tuesday’s Child” with a youngster who summed up the whole issue in a few simple words.
Gamble said reporter Patrice Wood interviews the children and usually starts off with easy questions, like favorite color or favorite foods.
“We get a lot of pizza and spaghetti,” he smiled. But then Wood starts to go deeper so prospective adopters in the television audience can learn about this youngster’s ideal family and decide if there’s a potential match. She wants to know, for example, if this child prefers the city to the country, or needs a busy active family versus one that enjoys quiet times.
This particular child didn’t care about the details, Gamble said. The child said, “I just want a family that cares.”
Gamble said that message, which is “so simple and so basic,” summed it up. These children are without families through no fault of their own, he said, and “more people could make a difference” in a child’s life if they would become involved.
Gamble did not know the percentage of children who have been adopted after being featured on “Tuesday’s Child” but he believes the majority are successfully placed.
Typically, some 200 or 300 children are waiting to be adopted in Rhode Island, he said. Some have been orphaned due to their parents’ death, while others were removed from homes with parents who could not keep them safe. But a few children never find new families and are “aged out” of the system.
“My point is, they are in this situation by none of their own doing,” he said. Gamble said he never finishes a “Tuesday’s Child” installment without wanting to help that youngster.
He said that for the first few minutes, after he’s back in the car, he wonders how he could bring them home to be part of the family.
“Every single time I wonder, but I know that I can’t,” he said.
A year or two after he started as the “Tuesday’s Child” cameraman, he and his wife started the adoption process, he said. They’re not unique on the island, he said, because he sees many other adoptive families in the schools and playgrounds.
Adoption has made them a better family than they might have otherwise been, he said, just because they were required to give parenting so much thought.
In every other way, they’re like every other family, he said. Being the dad is the fun part, he said, and being the mom is hard work.
Gamble received the Community Partner Award. According to Donna Rivera, Adoption Rhode Island spokeswoman, the award recognizes people and organizations that have demonstrated “commitment, compassion and vision” for the children and the families waiting to adopt.
“Albert has been filming the ‘Tuesday’s Child’ segment for over 14 years, easing the nerves of bashful children and going the extra mile to make each child feel special and cared for,” she said. “Albert’s compassion and dedication to this segment is reflected in the response from the children and the finished product.”
He also received citations from Gov. Lincoln Chafee and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
Gamble took over the “Tuesday’s Child” assignment after the previous cameraman took a new job. He asked for the assignment, he said.
“I just saw this as an opportunity to do a feature piece that serves the greater good,” he said. “It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my job, mostly because ‘Tuesday’s Child’ is one of the most effective tools for Adoption Rhode Island for bringing in families interested in adopting. That’s the gratification for me.”
He also enjoys working with children and has a knack for putting them at ease.
“Children are nervous around cameras,” he said. “It takes a certain craft to put them at ease and get them to relax and show their fun side.”
Adoption Rhode Island chooses the children who appear on “Tuesday’s Child,” he said, and notifies Wood and Gamble about the time and place for the shoot.
“We show up at some activity,” he said, such as horseback riding or kayaking after Adoption Rhode Island has screened the child and zeroed in on something they like doing.
“For the most part, the experience of shooting ‘Tuesday’s Child’ is about having a child have a fun time so we can tell their story,” he said. He edits the tape and makes sure he has included plenty of “smile moments,” he said.
Gamble didn’t know how long Channel 10 has been producing “Tuesday’s Child” but estimated longer than his 19 years with the station. WJAR has a longstanding commitment, he said. Currently, sports reporter Frank Carpano sits on the Adoption Rhode Island board, and several previous general managers and news directors have also served as Adoption Rhode Island board members.