Todd Moore of "The NED Show" chooses a volunteer during a character-building program at Aylesworth Elementary School in Portage, Ind., on Dec. 4, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 15, 2013 6:11AM
Laughter exploded recently from the Aylesworth Elementary School gym, even as orderly lines of children walked in to watch “The NED Show.”
Todd Moore, “ ‘The NED Show’ guy,” as he described himself, grabbed his Portage audience immediately. He blew up balloons and held them up like a mustache. He did tricks with a yo-yo, made silly faces and spoke in funny voices as the children streamed in.
When all the students were seated, Principal Tara Wiltfong introduced the program.
“We are all so excited; we’ve been talking about ‘The NED Show,’ for a couple of days,” she said. “This show has been presented to children all over. It’s been at the White House, in Canada, England, Australia, and all 50 states.
“So the fact that we’re going to see what all those other kids have seen is pretty cool.”
Moore began the show with a story about the fictional NED’s crazy adventure. He punctuated each part with his yo-yo, making it into amusement park rides, a motorcycle and even the Eiffel Tower.
Although the high-energy show was filled with fun and humor, the message was serious. Sprinkled throughout Moore’s dialogue were words of advice, such as, “If you want to turn your life around, have a good attitude and do the right thing,” and “Champions love to read.”
The main point was, anyone can be a champion by following NED’s three critical skills — Never Give Up, Encourage Others, and Do Your Best. Moore had students shout out the skills several times during the program to make the ideas stick.
In order to win a “super-cool prize,” he asked several students to tell him how they could be champions. Autumn Music, 10, won a balloon hat and a yo-yo with her answer.
“The NED Show” is produced by All for KIDZ. Moore has performed it for about a year. He went through four or five rounds of auditions, then a six-week training period.
“I love doing this,” his said. “I just love to watch their faces during the ‘magic’ moments.”
For five days after the program, Aylesworth students could purchase a NED yo-yo. The yo-yos feature the NED message to reinforce what they heard in the program.
Four fifth-graders chosen by their teachers helped with the sales. Moore trained Hayley McCumber, Brandi Hunt, Justin Kreiger and Andrew Karsten to measure the yo-yo strings, so they were the perfect lengths for those who bought them.