Sesame Street and the Community Team Up to Host Virtual Summit

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


On Saturday, Mar. 27, the Public Broadcasting Service of Arizona aired the Sesame Street in Communities Virtual Summit, highlighting the Community.  The theme for the summit was “Building Resilient Kids,” featuring programming that addressed this and critical insights for teachers, parents, and caregivers for children.


Addressing the theme, Governor Stephen Roe Lewis said, “Resiliency is one of the characteristics hallmarking the experience and survival of our people, the Akimel O’otham and Pee-Posh.” Gov. Lewis further stated, “During challenging times in our history, we have adjusted, adapted, and maintained our Community values and come up with solutions that carried us forward while we remained anchored to our past.”


Miss Gila River Alyse Marrietta hosted the summit along with numerous on-air cameos from Jr. Miss Gila River Sineca Jackson, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, in addition to everyone’s favorite Sesame Street characters. 


Isaac Salcido, Director of Tribal Education Department, worked with GRIC Executive Office, CPAO, Arizona PBS, and Arizona State University to plan the summit. In January, Mr. Salcido learned that GRIC was one of twenty sites chosen for the Sesame Street in Communities project this year.


Salcido said, “We are proud of the departments that came together and represented the Community to put everything together.” Salcido also mentioned that he found the “Bounce Back” song performance the most entertaining. Gov. Lewis, Miss Gila River Alyse Marrietta, Jr. Miss Gila River Sineca Jackson, and Sesame Street characters Rosita, Karli, Elmo, and Alan all performed the song together.


Kimberly Flack, Director, Education & Community Impact at Arizona PBS, helped designate GRIC as a site. She said, “Gila River has such a rich Community, culture, and unique broadcast opportunity. So, we wanted to highlight the Community, its resources, and share Sesame Street resources with the Community too.”


As part of this effort, Arizona PBS and Sesame Street will be providing professional development resources to teachers working in Early Head Start, Head Start, Child Care, and Preschools throughout the Community. These resources are also available for parents/ guardians. Additionally, they will also provide 1,000 books to local schools, preschools through Kindergarten, including backpacks and other materials.


The Sesame Street in Communities was made possible by The GRIC Executive Office, Communications and Public Affairs Office, GRIC Tribal Education Department, Gila River Broadcasting Corporation, Arizona State University, and Arizona PBS.  Readers who would like to watch the summit can do so through Facebook on the Gila River Broadcasting Corporation page.