Little Children, Big Challenges

Welcome to our Partners Page!  Here you will find assets and tools to empower you to help spread the word about this initiative to your own networks.  Under each topic, you will find an icon that you can click on to download each tool such as project language and artwork.  Feel free to take these assets and make them your own in your e-newsletters, e-blasts and even your organization’s website.  Please check this page frequently as we’ll be adding more assets to it within the coming weeks.

press release

Download Press Release

Sesame Workshop Focuses on the Fourth R: Resilience
Helping kids to overcome adversity and thrive

December 10, 2013 (New York, NY) – Finding fun and engaging ways to help young children learn about reading, writing and ‘rithmetic has always been central to the mission of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. Throughout the years, Sesame Workshop has also looked at another important “r”: Resilience. Today, the Workshop is launching an initiative that continues to support this very important component of a child’s healthy development by turning everyday challenges into learning moments.

Little Children, Big Challenges, the newest installment of a multiyear, bilingual community engagement initiative, seeks to help children ages 2-5 in military, veteran and general public families build important resilience and perseverance skills that allow them to overcome challenges large and small. One of the most important factors in building these skills is the presence of a caring, supportive adult. This is why this new initiative is providing tools for adults to use with children to empower them to transform everyday challenges into opportunities of supporting children’s development and growth, and thrive.

“For more than 40 years, the Workshop has been focused on building resilience skills in children to help them achieve their highest potential,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop. “We’ve tackled tough subjects like incarceration and divorce. Today we continue our efforts by tackling essential skills that can help children as they encounter everyday challenges like sibling rivalry or beating the bedtime blues. These new resources not only help children to learn and grow from these situations; they also provide the adults in their lives with habitual activities to help young children build these crucial skills in a way that only Sesame Workshop can – with the help of the Muppets.”

Little Children, Big Challenges is designed to:

  • Introduce the skills and strategies young children (ages 2-5) need to build resilience and persevere through
    • day-to-day challenges, such as: beating the bedtime blues, trying new things, learning from mistakes, making new friends, not being able to do something yet, and resolving problems between friends; and
    • significant transitions and situations, such as: mean or aggressive behavior, sibling rivalry, and relocation.
    • Provide parents, caregivers and educators with activities and positive routines to help foster young children’s resilience on a daily basis.

Sesame Workshop is working closely with project advisors and partners to develop a comprehensive dissemination strategy to ensure these bilingual multimedia resources reach all families across the country. Distribution networks include parenting groups, childcare professionals, social workers and mental health professionals, among others. All partners and networks will be guided through training webinars as they integrate the materials into their existing programs in an effort to make the most significant impact possible in their communities.

Little Children, Big Challenges components include:

  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia resource kits featuring:
    • A Sesame Street DVD featuring a Muppet story and music videos with real children and families
    • A Family Guide with tips and strategies
    • An Educator Activity Guide to be used in classrooms with children
    • The Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Mobile App to help children learn problem solving strategies and provide parents with tips and activities they can use to help children navigate challenges. The app is available for tablet and smartphone on Google Play™, the App StoreSM and Amazon for Kindle Fire.
    •, an online toolkit with streaming video, downloadable Family Guide and an Educator Activity Guide, printable activity sheets, and tips for parents and caregivers
    • featuring video playlists
    • for sharing free educational resources with adults
    • Full length video podcasts available for download at
    • with project language and downloadable assets partners can use to promote these resources

Major support for Little Children, Big Challenges was provided by BAE Systems. Generous support was provided by The Prudential Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the USO and the Military Child Education Coalition.

About Sesame Workshop:

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at

Visit Sesame Street at:
Sesame Street on Facebook
Sesame Street on Twitter
The Sesame Street YouTube Channel

Learn more about Sesame Street’s Military Family Initiative:

Sesame Street for Military Families on Facebook
Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce
Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration



Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop

project overview

Download Project Overview

The Need

Resilience is the ability to cope with and overcome challenges.1 As children come to understand their feelings and learn to solve problems, they build important resilience skills that help them each day. Current research shows that resilience is not only innate but that children can successfully develop resilience skills that can impact their well-being and future success.2 One of the most important factors in building these skills is the presence of a caring, supportive adult who can help a young child cope with challenges, both big and small.3

The Initiative

Little Children, Big Challenges is designed to

  • introduce the skills and strategies young children (ages 2-5) need to build resilience and persevere through
    • day-to-day challenges, such as: beating the bedtime blues, trying new things, learning from mistakes, making new friends, not being able to do something yet, and resolving problems between friends; and
    • significant transitions and situations, such as: mean or aggressive behavior, sibling rivalry, and relocation.
  • provide parents, caregivers, and educators with activities and positive routines to help foster young children’s resilience on a daily basis.

Initiative Components

  • Bilingual, multimedia resource kits, including a:
    • Sesame Street DVD featuring a Muppet story and music videos with real children and families.
    • Family Guide with tips and strategies.
  • Educator Activity Guide to be used in classrooms with children.
  • Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Mobile App to help children learn problem-solving strategies and provide parents with tips and activities they can use to help children navigate challenges. The app is available for tablet and smartphone on Google PlayTM, the App StoreSM, and Amazon for Kindle Fire.
    • Online toolkit with streaming video, downloadable Family Guide, printable activity sheets, and tips for parents and caregivers.
  • featuring playlists of videos.
  • for sharing free educational resources with adults.
  • Full-length video podcasts available for download at
  • with project language and downloadable assets that partners can use to promote these resources.

Formative and Impact Evaluation

Resources are based on formative evaluation conducted with children, parents and caregivers, service providers, and educators. An assessment of the initiative will be conducted with these groups to evaluate changes in young children’s abilities to build resilience skills.

Distribution and Integration

Multimedia resource kits will be distributed to military and veteran families through partnerships with Military OneSource, Department of Veterans Affairs, the USO, and the Military Child Education Coalition. Additionally, advisors and project partners will help us identify other distribution networks including parenting groups, child-care professionals, educators, health-care providers, social workers, and mental-health professionals. We intend to guide partners and their networks through online training webinars as they integrate multimedia materials into their existing programs in order to have a deep impact within local communities.

Funding Partners

Major support for Little Children, Big Challenges is provided by BAE Systems. Generous support is provided by The Prudential Foundation, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the USO, and the Military Child Education Coalition.

Little Children, Big Challenges Initiatives

Little Children, Big Challenges is a multiyear, bilingual (English/Spanish) community engagement initiative for military, veteran, and general-public families with children ages 2–8. It aims to provide the skills and strategies they need to build resilience and persevere through day-to-day as well as through more significant changes and transitions. Previous phases of Little Children, Big Challenges have provided resources to help families coping with divorce and incarceration.

Contact Us

To learn more about these resources, e-mail us at For press inquiries, contact Pam Hacker at

1. Grotberg, E. (1995). A guide to promoting resilience in children: Strengthening the spirit. Early Childhood Development: Practice and Reflection series (Bernard Van Leer Foundation). Retrieved June 28, 2011 from: grotb95b.html.
2 Blum, L.M. Resilience building through the early childhood years. (White paper) p. 5.
3 Pizzolongo, P.J. & Hunter, A. (March 2011). I am safe and secure: Promoting resilience in young children. Young Children, 67–69.
tip sheet
  • What We Are Anthem

    New anthem, What We Are, as part of Sesame Street’s newest resiliency initiative Little Children, Big Challenges. This bilingual, multimedia outreach initiative is for military, veteran, and general public families with young children, to help increase self-awareness, boost self-esteem, and help children persevere through changes.

    Watch on YouTube
  • I Can Be Patient Song

    Cookie Monster sings about being patient. For more information check out:

    Watch on YouTube
  • Bye Bye for Now Song

    In this song, real kids sing about saying good-bye to their parents -- but just for now! For more information check out:

    Watch on YouTube
  • Elmo Doesn't Give Up Song (Yet Song)

    Elmo and Louie sing a song about how even though Elmo might not be able to do certain things right now, he should keep trying and think "I just can't do it, yet!" For more information check out:

    Watch on YouTube
  • Little Children, Big Challenges

    Sesame Street recently kicked off its newest outreach initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges, for military, veteran, and general public families with young children. The initiative aims to provide the skills and strategies young children need to build resilience and persevere through day-to-day as well as more serious changes and transitions. Little Children, Big Challenges kicked off with a new anthem, What We Are, which was performed live on the Intrepid by the Quantico Marine Corps Band with Sesame Street’s Gordon, Elmo and Rosita, and the host of Lifetime’s Coming Home, Matt Rogers. Enjoy this highlight reel from the performance!

    Watch on YouTube
  • Chris Colfer & Elmo Talk About Bullying

    Chris Colfer helps Elmo and his friend chicken cope with bullying, as part of Sesame Street’s initiative for helping build resilience among all children: Little Children, Big Challenges.

    Watch on YouTube

CATHERINE BRADSHAW, Ph.D., M.Ed., is a developmental psychologist and child mental health services and prevention researcher. She holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell University and a master’s in counseling and guidance from the University of Georgia. She is a Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. She also serves as the Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and has a joint appointment in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. She is the Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence and is the Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention and Early Intervention at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on topics related to the development of aggressive and problem behavior and school-based prevention. She collaborates on research projects examining bullying and school climate; the development of aggressive and problem behaviors; effects of family and environmental stress on children; and the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based prevention programs in schools. Catherine was a co-investigator on the Johns Hopkins Military Child Initiative, which examined issues related to mobile military youth. She is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and Editor elect of Prevention Science. She has written several papers and chapters on topics related to school climate, bullying, youth violence prevention, resiliency, and adjustment. 

BARBARA COLOROSO is a consultant on parenting, teaching, school discipline, positive school climate, bullying, grieving, nonviolent conflict resolution, and restorative justice. Her parenting and teaching strategies were developed through her years of training in sociology, special education, and philosophy, as well as field-tested through her experiences as a classroom teacher, laboratory school instructor, university instructor, seminar leader, volunteer in Rwanda, and mother of three grown children and three grandchildren. Barbara is the author of five international bestsellers, including Parenting Through Crisis—Helping Kids in Times of Loss, Grief and Change and The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School—How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence, and two video programs for parents and teachers.

ROBIN D’ANTONA, Ed.D. is an author, educational consultant and adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University. A certified national Olweus bullying prevention trainer, Robin is the author of 101 Facts about Bullying: What Everyone Should Know.  Her book, Tackling Bullying in Athletics, examines the negative effects of bullying and the importance of school safety, offering practical solutions for both coaches and parents.  A founding board member of the International Bullying Prevention Association, Robin has conducted and published research on the effects of cyber bullying and bullying in athletics. After her own personal tragedy in 1993, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness and furthering the information base on these issues. She is recognized nationally as a charismatic lecturer and keynote speaker on bullying prevention in schools and athletics as well as on the internet.

STAN DAVIS has worked for human rights in many different ways. In the 1960s he worked in the Civil Rights movement. As a social worker and child and family therapist in the 1970s and 1980s, he worked with abused, traumatized, and grieving children and trained Child Protective Workers. He designed and implemented training for a network of rape crisis centers and collaborated with police to develop effective interventions for domestic abuse. After retiring from being a school counselor, he began putting his energies toward helping schools prevent bullying. He is the author of Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies to Reduce Bullying and Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention. With Dr. Charisse Nixon, Stan is co- leading the Youth Voice Research Project, which has collected information from more than 13,000 young people in the United States about what works and what doesn’t work in bullying prevention. 

CHARISSE NIXON, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. from West Virginia University and is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Penn State Erie. Her primary research interest focuses on all forms of peer mistreatment, including both relational and physical mistreatment. Charisse is currently studying effective prevention and intervention efforts to reduce peer mistreatment and its associated harm. Building students’ resiliency is a core tenet of her work. She is the coauthor of Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying (Fireside, 2003) and Youth Voice Project: Student Insights into Bullying and Peer Mistreatment (Research Press, 2014), as well as several scholarly articles on peer victimization. She is currently co-leading the Youth Voice Project with Stan Davis to examine the effectiveness of bullying strategies from the students’ perspectives across the country. Charisse trains educators throughout the United States providing a unique integration of empirical research and practical strategies to help educators create learning environments that optimize student development. 

KEN SEELEY, Ed.D., founded The Partnership for Families & Children (formerly Colorado Foundation for Families & Children) in 1993 . He has served as its President and CEO since 1993. Ken developed the National Center for School Engagement in 2003 to serve as a national resource for engaging high risk students and their families and to improve school climate. He is an experienced educator and cross-system leader, having extensive background with at-risk youth in schools, juvenile justice, mental health, and substance abuse settings. He has served as principal of the Laboratory School at the University of Northern Colorado and was a tenured faculty member at the University of Denver, College of Education. He has served as a policy analyst and consultant for the Center for Study of Social Policy and many foundations including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Colorado Trust, and the Piton Foundation. He currently serves as a senior consultant to The Center for Child and Youth Justice, the Denver Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, and One Community Collaborative in Pueblo, CO.  Ken currently serves On the Boards of Qualistar Early Learning, Project Voyce, Colorado Association of School Based Health Centers, and Coalition of Community Schools. He is a research consultant in bullying, victimization and delinquency prevention for the United States Department of Justice.

JOSEPH L. WRIGHT, is Senior Vice President for Community Affairs at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, the nation’s third-oldest children’s hospital. In that capacity, Dr. Wright provides strategic leadership for the organization’s advocacy mission, public policy positions and community partnership initiatives. Academically, Dr. Wright is Professor and Vice Chairman in the Department of Pediatrics, as well as Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy at the George Washington University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Among the original cohort of board-certified pediatric emergency physicians in the United States, Dr. Wright’s major scholarly interests include emergency medical services for children, youth violence prevention, and the needs of underserved communities, areas in which he has contributed to over 70 peer-reviewed articles, reviews and book chapters in the scientific literature. Dr. Wright has been recognized for his advocacy work throughout his career including the Shining Star award from the Los Angeles-based Starlight Foundation, the Fellow Achievement Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for exceptional contributions in injury prevention, especially his work around bullying, the Distinguished Service Award from the AAP Section on Emergency Medicine, and induction into Delta Omega, the nation’s public health honor society. Dr. Wright serves on several national advisory bodies including as an inaugural appointee to the Department of Transportation’s National EMS Advisory Council, the Board of Trustees of the National Children’s Museum, the March of Dimes Public Policy Advisory Council, and recently as an Obama administration appointee to the Pediatric Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration. He regularly delivers invited expert testimony before Congress and state and municipal legislative bodies, has made numerous media appearances and lectures widely to both professional and lay audiences. Dr. Wright earned a BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, his MD from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences/New Jersey Medical School, and a Masters of Public Health in Administrative Medicine and Management from George Washington University.

ROSE SEGRETI has over 23 years of experience in the field of child care. Currently she leads the Special Initiatives Division at Child Care Aware® of America which includes Exceptional Family Member Respite Care programs for the Air Force and Navy,  Army Child Care in Your Neighborhood and the Refugee Child Care Microenterprise Development Project funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of Defense funded Military Child Care Liaison Initiative. Rose worked at an educational publishing company, Teaching Strategies, Inc, where she was responsible for designing and providing training and technical assistance for child care programs serving large customers which included the Army and Navy. She also worked in a variety of child care settings including Head Start, University of Maryland Lab School and large multi-site child care centers. She has facilitated quality improvements such as NAEYC accreditation of infant through 5 year old child care programs. She holds Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Wheelock College.

STEPHEN J. COZZA, M.D., COL, USA (Ret), is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.  He received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  He completed his residency in General Psychiatry and fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Cozza is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the specialties of General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  He has served in a variety of positions of responsibility in the Department of Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center including Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service; Program Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program; and Chief, Department of Psychiatry.  He retired from the U.S. Army in 2006 after 25 years of military service. He currently serves as the Associate Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University.  He was instrumental in organizing and executing the initial mental-health response to the September 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon.  Under his leadership, the Walter Reed Department of Psychiatry spearheaded the initiative to provide mental-health services, support, and follow-up to the many injured service members, their families, and their children who receive medical treatment.  As the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Child and Family Programs, Dr. Cozza has highlighted the impact of deployment, injury, illness, and death on the children and families of military service members.  He is published in scientific literature and has presented on these topics at multiple national and international scientific meetings. 

Jerlean Daniel, Ph.D., is the former Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s largest organization of early–childhood education professionals working with and on behalf of children from birth through age eight.  Jerlean previously served as Chair of Psychology in Education, and Associate Professor in the Applied Developmental Psychology Program, in the School of Education, after serving as Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh.  She was On-Air Faculty for “Heads Up! Reading,” an early literacy project sponsored by the National Head Start Association and the Council for Professional Recognition.  Jerlean currently serves on the board of Family Communications and the Advisory Council for PNC bank’s initiative Grow Up Great.  Jerlean has written a series of articles on transitions for infants, toddlers, and children with difficulties in child care, along with articles on African American child-rearing practices and children’s names.  Jerlean was a child-care center director for 18 years and holds a B.S. in Political Science, an M.S. in Child Development, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. 

SUNIYA S. LUTHAR, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College and Professor Adjunct at Yale University’s Child Study Center; As of Jan 2014, she will be at Arizona State University.  She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1990.  Suniya’s research involves vulnerability and resilience.  Suniya’s research involves vulnerability and resilience among various populations including youth in poverty and children in families affected by mental illness.  Her recent work has focused on children in affluent communities, and her findings on problems among these youth, particularly pertaining to substance use and anxiety, have received much attention in the scientific community, among parents and school administrators, and in the national media.  Suniya’s books include Children in poverty: Risk and protective forces in adjustment; Developmental psychopathology: Perspectives on adjustment, risk, and disorder; and Resilience and vulnerability in childhood: Adaptation in the context of adversities.  Suniya has been Associate Editor of Developmental Psychologyand Development and Psychopathology and has served as Chair of a grant-review committee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD), and of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Committee on Socioeconomic Status.

GERALDINE V. OADES-SESE, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and the Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of Child Development of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers, The State University.  She is the founder and Director of the Research Lab for Resilience and Early Childhood Development and the CREATE (Childhood Resilience & Early Achievement Toward Excellence) Clinic.  Her current research focuses on the social-emotional and academic resilience of at-risk preschool children.  She has authored a number of publications on resilience of young children, early childhood development, and assessment; and coauthored a book titled, Culturally Sensitive Narrative Interventions for Children and Adolescents.  She served as a guest editor for a peer-reviewed journal, Psychology in the Schools: Special Issue on Resilience in the Schools.  She is a 2011 Society for the Study of School Psychology Early Career Scholar and the recipient of the 2010 NJDEC Lucille Weistuch Early Childhood Special Education Leadership Award.  Her professional experiences include providing assessment and intervention services for young children, at-risk adolescents, and young adults..

WILLIAM (BILL) PFOHL, Psy.D., is a Professor of Psychology at Western Kentucky University, where he has trained school and clinical psychologists for 32 years. His specialty areas are school and clinical child psychology.  He has served as a school and/or clinical psychologist in New York, New Jersey, and Kentucky.  Bill has been heavily involved in leadership positions in state, national, and international school-psychology organizations.  For the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), he has served as Kentucky Delegate, Secretary, Web Master, and two-time President (1996–97, 2005–06).  Bill was awarded the NASP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.  Bill was an original member of NASP’s National Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT) which has responded to many acts of school violence and disasters.  He was awarded the NASP Crisis Interest Group Service Award in 2012. He was the President of the International School Psychology Association (ISPA) – 2009-2011.  He currently trains school psychologists in Europe in school safety and crisis response.  This effort is a part of ISPA and the European Union.  Bill is regularly interviewed on local TV and radio about mental health and child/family related matters. Recently, he was nominated for Western Kentucky University’s Public Service Award, after winning the College of Education and Behavioral Science Public Service Award.. He was awa4rded the Peterson Prize by Rutgers University in 2000 for outstanding  professional service as an alumni. Bill received his Doctor of Psychology degree from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University (1979).  He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Bonaventure University.  Bill was born in Syracuse, NY.  He is married with three children.  Bill enjoys photography, music, travel, and being with friends.

PATTY SHINSEKI, a native of Kauai, HI, earned undergraduate degrees in Biology and Sociology at Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR, and a Master’s Degree in Biological Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City.  She taught Biology and Physical Science at the high-school level in Hawaii.  An Army spouse for 38 years, Mrs. Shinseki devoted herself to volunteer efforts in the schools and community on behalf of military families and children.  She has served on the Boards of the Armed Services YMCA, The Army Distaff Foundation, and, most recently, was a member of The Panel for the Care of Individuals with Amputations and Functional Limb Loss, a subcommittee of the Defense Health Board.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Military Child Education Coalition, as the chair of its Living in the New Normal: Supporting Children Through Trauma and Loss initiative, and is a member of the Board of Managers of The Army Emergency Relief.  She is pleased to participate on the Advisory Boards for Sesame Workshop’s Talk, Listen, Connect program, the White House Joining Forces initiative, and a member of the Leadership Council of the Franklin Project, a Policy Program of the Aspen Institute that promotes national service.  The Shinsekis have two children and seven grandchildren.

SANDRA SPENCER is Executive Director of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, which is dedicated exclusively to helping children in the United States with mental-health needs and their families achieve a better quality of life.  Sandra has served in numerous advocacy roles including leading the first grassroots, family-run organization in Eastern North Carolina that advocates for families and children with mental-health challenges.  Other advocacy work includes being a peer mentor for Systems of Care communities across the United States; developing a parent-involvement curriculum at East Carolina University; and helping to establish a System of Care for children with serious emotional disturbances in Greenville, NC.  Sandra is also the overseer of the Parent Support Provider Certification, an innovative workforce development initiative that uses the lived experience and specialized training of parents to assist and empower families raising children and youth with emotional, developmental, behavioral, substance use or mental health concerns to partner with child and family serving agencies to improve outcomes and eliminate stigma and discrimination for these vulnerable youth and their families. 

BARBARA THOMPSON, Director, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy), is responsible for core programs and policies that impact military families’ well-being, such as family centers, financial-readiness programs, joint-support programs to serve geographically dispersed military members and their families, volunteers, deployment readiness, life-skill development, and the Department of Defense’s children and youth programs operating at over 300 locations serving 700,000 children ages birth through 18 years.  Prior to assuming her current position, Barbara had a special assignment coordinating support programs for severely injured Service members and their families.  Before joining the Office of Secretary of Defense staff, Barbara worked for the Air Force’s family member programs as a child-development specialist in charge of training and curriculum development for the Family Member Programs Branch, Headquarters Services Agency.  Barbara was chosen as one of only 11 Harris mid-career fellows (experienced professionals with an established record of leadership and achievement) for ZERO TO THREE’s prestigious Leaders for the 21st Century program.  This leadership development initiative provides each of the participants with an opportunity to collaborate with top leaders from many disciplines.  Barbara lived in Madrid, Spain, for 20 years and became fluent in Spanish, and moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 2000.  Barbara completed post-graduate course work in early childhood education, and received a Master’s of Science in Management from Troy State University.

partner resources

Newsletter & E-blast Language

Young children face big challenges every day. Getting dressed, saying goodbye, waiting in line, and going to bed can all feel like big hurdles to a young child.  Sesame Street has created new resources that provide parents, caregivers and educators with activities and positive routines to help children (ages 2-5) build resilience skills on a daily basis.

These FREE materials include:

For more information, e-mail

Project Summary

Sesame Workshop’s Little Children, Big Challenges is part of a multi-year initiative to provide much-needed bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia tools for families with young children (ages 2-5) to build resilience skills to cope with and overcome everyday challenges.   These FREE resources include a Family Guide, a new Sesame Street video; an Educator Activity Guide; and the Breathe, Think, Do App for children to use with their caregivers on smart phones and tablets, all of which can be accessed at; and featuring a playlist of videos.  Other Little Children, Big Challenges resources tackle the tough transitions associated with divorce and incarceration.

For more information, e-mail

Project & Social Media Links


BAE Systems

BAE Systems is a global defense, aerospace and security company with approximately 93,500 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support and services. In 2011, BAE Systems reported sales of £19.2B (US $30.7B).

More About BAE Systems


Each year, The Prudential Foundation invests approximately $25 million in grants in efforts that support the revitalization of communities and support Prudential employees' community engagement efforts.

More About Prudential

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation's largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit

More About the Robert R. McCormick Foundation


The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded, ill and injured warriors, their families and caregivers, and the families of the fallen. The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors.

More About the USO

Military Child Education Coalition

When the Military Child Education Coalition was first established in 1998, the founding members set out to help military-connected children meet the challenges that frequent transitions pose during their educational years. As the years have passed, the Military Child Education Coalition has grown in its mission to ensure quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition,

More About the Military Child Education Coalition
about sesame workshop

Who we are

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and so much more.

Our Mission

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential.

How we do it

Our recipe for success is combining a curriculum that addresses children’s critical developmental needs with the sophisticated use of media and a large dose of fun.

A proven impact

Our work promotes learning with real, measurable results, a fact borne out by numerous studies and sustained through our research-intensive process.

Teaching the whole child

Beyond ABCs and 123s, our programs deliver crucial lessons about health, emotional well-being, and respect and understanding to help kids grow up healthy, happy, and at home in their world.

On a global scale

It began as a simple yet revolutionary idea in the United States: to teach kids through television. 40 years later, it’s grown into a worldwide educational phenomenon, reaching millions of children in more than 150 countries.

A local approach

Our international programs are tailored to the unique needs of children, their country, and culture, created with local educators, advisors, and puppeteers. This often results in a fully local Sesame Street with its own name, language, curriculum, and Muppets.

Beyond television

Since our start on TV, we’ve become a multimedia pioneer, using everything from radio, books, and videos to the latest in interactive media and technology, efforts that are enhanced through collaborations with our colleagues at the ground-breaking research and innovation lab, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Targeted outreach

Through on-the-ground outreach efforts, we bring our lessons directly into the homes and classrooms of particularly vulnerable communities, where they have a dramatic impact in kids’ lives.

Collaborative successes

Generous support from like-minded partners — foundations, corporations, individuals, governments, and others — has been critical to our mission for more than four decades and continues to make new projects possible.

Download Sesame Workshop Overview

contact and connect