With counties investing more than $58 billion each year in human services, Betancourt discussed the importance of supporting children and their families.
Sesame Workshop is a global educational organization that helps children grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Betancourt’s main message focused on prioritizing early childhood in counties.
“Sesame Street shares the same mission that all of you have— to make a significant difference in the lives of children and families and particularly those most vulnerable,” she said.
Nearly half of the children in the country are living at or near the poverty line, Betancourt said, and Sesame Street works to address these issues as well as shared commonalities by covering topics such as children with autism and children in military families.
“Keep in mind as counties, as leaders in what you do, what you’re doing is setting the stage for the circle of care,” she said. “That circle of care is basically how we mitigate the effects of trauma.”
Sesame Street in Communities provides hope and resiliency through partnerships and innovative content, she said.
“Our goal is to help you use our brand for highlighting the most significant issues happening in children’s lives,” she said.
Counties and Sesame Street working together can bring more public awareness to the empowerment of circles of care within communities, Betancourt said.
“Our approach is: How do we use our iconic relationship of 50 years to form comforting connections?” she said.
Betancourt said Sesame Street in Communities highlights the most important issues where a child’s voice is often silent, such as the topic of family homelessness, which 2.7 million children in the country experience.
“What we’ve done is used our wonderful characters and Muppets to help all of you represent the child’s perspective and provide you tools that allow you to break these issues… to use this as a way to visibly identify this issue in your community,” she told attendees.
Sesame Street in Communities has worked in Guilford and Transylvania counties in North Carolina to create initiatives to help connect the youth with services.
“Use Sesame Street as a tool to highlight the well-being, provide a force for a sense of hope and resiliency, but most importantly, partner together to improve the well-being of children,” she said.
By working together, Betancourt said counties and communities will be able to “sesametize” the country.