Ed. Note: Rachel Garber is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sesame Street was in San Francisco last week to catch some of the annual October sunshine that gets San Franciscans through its famously cold summers. On Oct. 16, students at ER Taylor Elementary chattered excitedly to each other on the blacktop, but not about the weather: They were talking about their teeth.
“I brush for three minutes—not two, just to be safe,” one 5th grader bragged to his friends as his class waited to have their teeth examined by volunteer dentists. Their school participated in a three-day dental screening program Oct. 15-17 in San Francisco, as part of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Give Kids a Smile initiative. Read More
Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to San Francisco to be a part of the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile oral health screening program, which took place at two elementary schools and a hospital over the course of three days. In collaboration with the San Francisco Dental Society, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Colgate’s Bright Future, Bright Smiles program, and the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, over 2,000 San Francisco children received free oral health screenings and education on those three days. We were a part of these events for our work on our Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me outreach initiative, with the ADA distributing over 2,000 of the Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me kits to all of the participating children, along with free toothbrushes and toothpaste. Read More
Lynn Chwatsky is Sesame Workshop’s Vice President of Outreach Initiatives and Partners. She has been overseeing the work the Workshop does with military families since 2006.
When we think about the challenges of military life, we sometimes forget the transitions the youngest members of our military families go through. Our service members’ young children are faced with a number of uniquely difficult circumstances: repeated relocation, the deployment of a parent, homecomings, injuries, even the death of a parent – to name a few. For years, Sesame Workshop has been providing resources that help both military parents and their children stay resilient during those trying transitions, and now those bilingual (English and Spanish) resources are available on our new, free Military Families mobile application.
The Sesame Street for Military Families app includes videos, articles, storybooks and caregiver guides on how parents and children can communicate and express their emotions about challenging transitions.
Sesame Workshop has long been dedicated to the well-being of military families and their children. We reach out to families wherever they are: online, on mobile devices, even on the road. Our partnership with the USO, which brings The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families to thousands of families around the world, has provided infinite smiles and messages of love and support.
As technology evolves, new ways to help children through challenging transitions have emerged. That’s why Sesame Workshop uses online resources like our FamiliesNearAndFar.org website, which provides digital tools for military children, and social media like our Sesame Street for Military Families Facebook page to create an online community for sharing these resources. Our Feel Electric! app for military kids proved that mobile apps could deliver much needed content to help children express themselves during tough transitions. From those successes we knew we needed to provide the grown-ups in these same military families with resources on the device they rely on more and more – that is why we launched the Sesame Street for Military Families mobile app.
Congratulations to the Sesame Workshop team for receiving an Emmy for Growing Hope Against Hunger, a special focusing on the invisible crisis of food insecurity in the United States. Food insecurity is a difficult issue for parents and children to discuss, and Growing Hope Against Hunger sought to present personal stories about food insecure families that would help raise awareness about hunger as well strategies that have helped these families grow stronger and more secure. Congratulations to Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente, Supervising Producer Melissa Dino, Senior Producer Mason Rather and Producer Kevin Clash.
On Wednesday Elmo, Grover, Rosita, Cookie Monster, and Katie, a Muppet created especially for Sesame Street‘s USO tour, stopped by an Arizona Diamondbacks game in Phoenix. Elmo even got to throw out the first pitch. Check out the photos from their trip to the ballgame.
Since its founding, Sesame Workshop has been dedicated to making sure kids grow up healthy and strong. In recent years, our partner Sam’s Club has helped us further that goal by in part funding the creation of Sesame Street’s “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” outreach kits. The bilingual (English/Spanish) outreach kits include an original Sesame StreetDVD and a family booklet. There’s also additional activities and information at SesameStreet.org/Teeth.
As part of its commitment to the health and wellbeing of children across the country, Sam’s Club is offering free health screenings for children at all locations with a pharmacy. In addition to the screenings, a limited supply of “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” outreach kits will be distributed as well, in the hopes of providing children and parents with the information they need to make choices that will have a positive impact on their oral health.
Barbara Sawyer is the Director of Special Projects at the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) and has worked in the early care and education field for over thirty years. From the time Sesame’s Healthy Habits for Life initiative launched in the early 2000’s, the NAFCC has been a key partner with Sesame Workshop to deliver these crucial messages on nutrition and physical activity. With the NAFCC’s support and through their national network of providers, Healthy Habits for Life materials have reached thousands of children in family child care.
Last week in continuation of this partnership, Barbara joined with Sesame Workshop’s Outreach staffers at the NAFCC’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, to host a roundtable discussion of experts, representing the nutrition, physical activity, and early education fields.
Before the event, we caught up with Barbara to talk about family child care and the NAFCC’s work in obesity prevention.
Sesame Workshop: What can you tell me about the National Association for Family Child Care and the particular ways it supports child care providers?
Barbara Sawyer: The National Association for Family Child Care is a non-profit organization that promotes quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. The goals of the association include strengthening state and local associations as the primary support system for individual family child care providers, promoting a professional accreditation program which recognizes and encourages quality care for children, and representing family child care providers by advocating for their needs and collaborating with other organizations. The NAFCC is one of the only membership organizations that is dedicated to family child care providers who work in their own home with primarily a small group of children. About 65% of these providers work independently and do not have an assistant; therefore they are the only adult with the children. One of the ways the NAFCC works to improve the quality of this care is by inviting the providers to belong to a peer support group.
Bill Ayres is the executive director of WhyHunger, an anti-hunger organization he co-founded in 1975. Summer is an important time of year to focus on child hunger, which Sesame Workshop’s Food For Thought outreach initiative is committed to battling. Ayres sat down with the Workshop to explain how his organization fights child hunger, why it is such an important issue during the summer months and why his organization utilizes the anti-hunger materials Sesame Workshop makes available.
To put it simply, Why hunger? Why, as Americans, is hunger an issue that we should be concerned about?
Well, that is our name: WhyHunger. We have that name because we are asking the question, why is there hunger in the richest country in the world? Why is there hunger in a world that can feed itself? Hunger is an obscenity. Hunger in America is the ultimate obscenity. There are about 17 million children and 49 million people all together that are food insecure. That means they aren’t starving but they miss meals and they eat less. They don’t get the right kinds of food. That is devastating for kids especially.
Here at Sesame Street we do everything we can to make sure our men and women in uniform know we support them. That’s why we’re excited to wish the United States Army, which was founded on June 14, 1775, Happy Birthday! We’re so excited that we asked Rosita, Sgt. Major Raymond Chandler and his wife Jeanne to record a special birthday message for our service men and women, their spouses and children.
Matt Rogers with Rosita, Elmo, Gordon and the Marine Corps band.
Matt Rogers is the host of Lifetime’s Coming Home. On Memorial Day he performed Sesame Street’s new resiliency anthem with Elmo, Rosita, Gordon and the Marine Corps band. We recently sat down with Matt to talk about his Memorial Day performance, his admiration for our servicemen and women, and how he became the host of Coming Home.
Tell me a bit about the performance on the Intrepid on Memorial Day.
I had a blast. I felt like I was in my element. I’m a father of two and being in that role with two small kids is so much fun. When you’re doing something that you love to do, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fun. It felt great to be able to go out there and help these military families take their mind off what they’re going through. Read More