The Delta Health Alliance

Delta Health Alliance and Sesame Workshop partner on Early Childhood Initiative for Delta families

Posted on: November 27, 2018

Mississippi Delta is selected as next community for ‘Sesame Street in Communities’ program to support families and young children 

Delta Health Alliance is partnering with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, to bring the Sesame Street in Communities(SSIC) initiative to young children and families in the Mississippi Delta with a focus on Leland and Indianola, MS. Sesame Street in Communities is 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 selected the Delta because of the community’s existing collaborative efforts to improve children’s health and wellbeing, spearheaded by Delta Health Alliance and its approach to improving health outcomes through education, health and home visiting programs for children starting at birth.

Sesame Street in Communitieswill launch their partnership with Delta Health Alliance with three days of activities, which include training for health and education providers on topics like school readiness, traumatic experiences and resilience, as well as an announcement celebration. Sesame Street’s Elmo character will celebrate the announcement on December 1 from Noon – 5:00PM in downtown Leland at the annual Christmas on Deer Creek, sponsored by the Leland Chamber of Commerce. Elmo will be available throughout the day, providing hugs and pictures for all families. Teams from Sesame Workshop and the Delta Health Alliance will be on hand to share the Sesame Street in Communitiesfree tools and resources along with games and activities that focus on literacy, healthy habits and being resilient during challenging times.

“We are delighted to partner with Sesame Workshop to bring more early childhood resources to Delta children through Sesame Street in Communities,” said Karen Matthews, Delta Health Alliance CEO. “Sesame Street in Communitieswill help parents and providers in our community tackle everyday issues like building reading skills, developing healthy habits, and overcoming more challenging life experiences such as trauma, divorce and grief. We look forward to working together to build a circle of care for children in the Delta.”

Through the new partnership, Sesame Street in Communities and Delta Health Alliance are working together to reach parents and caregivers through Delta Health Alliance’s network to strengthen children’s school readiness, help children cope with traumatic experiences, and increase understanding of autism.Sesame Street in Communities will supplement programming at the Leland Medical Clinical and Universal Parenting Place as well as DHA’s community and home-based programs that seek to reach underserved children and families. Delta Health Alliance and Sesame Street in Communitieswill also provide resources that health and education providers can use to address difficult conversations with the families they serve.

“We are thrilled to bring Sesame Street in Communitiesto the Mississippi Delta, partnering with Delta Health Alliance – an organization that shares our mission of improving the health and wellbeing of the youngest children and their families,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Street in Communitiesis built on the idea that we all have a role to play in helping every child grow up healthy, and we’re proud to support providers like Delta Health Alliance in their tremendous efforts to help every child thrive.”

Program participants will be able to use the Sesame Street in Communities resources through in-person events and training, virtual courses, and videos to help children and families navigate challenges big and small. Using the power of the beloved Muppets of Sesame Street, the resources are designed to build coping skills and foster nurturing connections between children and the caring adults in their lives. These resources are available for free in English and Spanish at Sesame Street in Communities is made possible by generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children.

Sesame Street in Communities services and resources will be available through Delta Health Alliance’s Leland Medical Clinic and their Early Head Start Childcare Partnership office located at 114 2ndStreet in Indianola.  For more information, contact DHA’s office at 662.686.7004.

In addition to the Mississippi Delta, Sesame Street in Communities has partnered with Los Angeles, CA; Guilford and Transylvania Counties, NC; Kansas City, MO; as well as new partnerships in Memphis, TN, Kansas City, Kansas and Camden, NJ. Sesame Street in Communities aims to reach 4.5 million children under age 6 and their families, connect with more than 11,000 direct service providers, develop 200 national and local partnerships, and expand to more than 35 local communities across the country.


Delta Health Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Stoneville, MS, is changing health care and education in the Mississippi Delta by improving access to health services, promoting healthier lifestyles, and expanding educational opportunities for the men, women, and children who make the Delta their home.  For more information about Delta Health Alliance and its projects, go to www.deltahealthalliance.orgor follow us on Facebook.


Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re active in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


The Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children was established in 2018 to support content development, training for service providers, research, and implementation for Sesame Street in Communities. Made possible by a generous gift from Joan Ganz Cooney’s late husband Peter G. Peterson, the fund honors Ms. Cooney’s pioneering work as Sesame Street’s co-founder by furthering Sesame Workshop’s commitment to helping children overcome challenges big and small.