Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has announced that Kansas City, KS has been selected for Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC), a nationwide initiative to support parents, caregivers, and community providers in their efforts to give all children, especially the most vulnerable, a strong and healthy start. Sesame Street in Communities is partnering with the KVC Health Systems, Family Conservancy, and Project Eagle to support local families with young children under age 6, with a specific focus on resilience, health and wellness, traumatic experiences, and foster care.
Sesame Street’s Super Grover walkaround character joined representatives from Sesame Workshop and each partner organization for the kick-off event on February 19 at Frank Rushton Elementary School in Kansas City, KS. Sesame Workshop also held training classes at the Family Conservancy and KVC Health Systems on February 20 to integrate Sesame Street in Communities resources into their early childhood, child welfare, and mental health programs.
The expansion to Kansas City, Kansas builds on Sesame Street in Communities’ partnership with Kansas City, Missouri, which was selected as a pilot city in 2017 for the program. Over one-third (36.7%) of children in Wyandotte County live in poverty and nearly half experience one or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Sesame Street in Communities, in close partnership with local providers, aims to give parents, caregivers, and community providers the tools they need to support young children.
“We are thrilled to bring Sesame Street in Communities to Kansas City, Kansas, a city dedicated to fostering the healthy development of its youngest residents,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “By working hand-in-hand with local providers, together we can build a circle of care around all children across Kansas City—particularly the most vulnerable.”
The Family Conservancy, KVC Health Systems, and Project Eagle will integrate Sesame Street in Communities into their programming, in-person events, and training. KVC Kansas, which is the lead agency for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, provides prevention, family reunification, foster care, and adoption services to children and families involved in the child welfare system. KVC Health Systems will embed Sesame Street in Communities resources into its programming around foster care, resilience, as well as the training that KVC provides to educators and administrators of the Kansas City, Kansas Public School system on trauma sensitivity.
The Family Conservancy, which is focused on supporting families, teachers, and child care providers, will integrate Sesame Street in Communities content on resilience, health, and overall wellness into their efforts to improve early learning environments. In 2018, this work reached nearly 30,000 teachers and parents in the Kansas City community. The Family Conservancy will work closely with Project Eagle to further the reach of Sesame Street in Communities content into their strengthening families model.
Sesame Street in Communities will also provide virtual courses, webinars, and videos that can be embedded in programming to help children and families navigate challenges large and small. Using the power of the beloved Muppets of Sesame Street, the resources are designed to build coping skills and develop nurturing connections between children and the caring adults in their lives. All resources are available for free in English and Spanish at sesamestreetincommunities.org.