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Sesame Street in Communities

Iowa Town Hall with Sesame Workshop

March 22, 2021

March 18, 2021

Engaging community leaders in conversations about children’s healthy development lays the groundwork for policies and system changes needed to create better outcomes for our kids.

In January, the Iowa Alliance for Healthy Kids and Sesame Workshop teamed up to host a virtual town hall to educate state and local leaders on the importance of young children’s social-emotional well-being. The event highlighted the importance of social-emotional development to Iowans’ mental health, education, and future prosperity; the impact the pandemic has had on families; and Sesame Street in Communities’ partnership with providers across Iowa to support children’s healthy development.

Nearly 500 people, including a few elected officials, registered to attend and more than 300 people attended the event live on Zoom. The highlight of the event, an interview with Grover, has had nearly 400 views on YouTube.

The following leaders presented, representing cross-sector engagement and local, state, and national leadership on this issue:

  • Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop
  • Teree Caldwell-Johnson, President and CEO of Oakridge Neighborhood and Des Moines Public Schools board member
  • Kelly Garcia, Director for the Iowa Dept. of Human Services and interim Director for the Iowa Dept. of Public Health
  • Suzanne Mineck, President, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
  • Chris Conetzkey, Publisher for the Des Moines Business Record
  • Rob X. Barron, Special Assistant to Grand View University President for Government and Community Relations, Vice Chair of Des Moines Public Schools board, and co-founder of the Latino Political Network
  • Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership
  • Dr. Angela Franklin, President of Des Moines University
  • Rochelle Haynes, Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop
  • Dr. Nalo Johnson, Director of the Division of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention at the Iowa Dept. of Public Health

The event also launched the Sesame Street in Communities initiative in Iowa, focused on providing training, messages, and resources for providers and caregivers to support young children’s healthy social-emotional development.

For more information about the Town Hall and to view a recording of the event, visit: