Yesterday, Vedder and I had an amazing opportunity because of my job as a blogger. We were invited to an HBO event to promote their partnership with Sesame Street. When we walked into the event room of the NYPL at 42nd Street, we were greeted by Grover and Cookie Monster! Vedder’s eyes lit up! He smiled, speechless, and waited his turn for a big hug. It’s those types of moments when you can actually see the magic of childhood on their faces. We made our way over to the “red carpet” area for pictures. After some quick camera clicks, we joined families in the middle of the room in front of a large black stage.
The program began with a story read by one of the librarians of NYPL. They informed the public of all the great interactive story times that take place throughout the week at all of the 92 NYPL locations across the city. Then came the part we were all waiting for! On stage danced Alan, the proprietor of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street. With cheers and excitement he also invited to the stage Elmo and two of his friends. Vedder jumped with again that childhood magic in his eyes, waving his hand and yelling “Hi, Elmo! Elmo! It’s me!” For the next twenty minutes the parents and children sang songs, learned about the new things coming to Sesame Street, along with a very special new club called “Everyday Heroes Club.” This program promotes everyday kindness and helpfulness which makes you a hero. It is definitely a beautiful lesson and concept that I think children should fully embrace. Having a four year old boy, everything is superheroes. However, the way most superheroes help is by fighting crime. Keyword fighting. Sesame Street’s new program highlights the acts of helping and being kid as being the real super powers.
After the presentation, we were treated to fun themed snacks, photo ops with characters, and face painting. Upon leaving the event, each child was given a gift bag with two books and a small figurine of a character. It was a beautifully run event; attendees were given full access to all areas, which ran smoothly, and if there were any hiccups, it was not evident at all to me.
Since my child and I were given this amazing opportunity at the HBO/Sesame Street sneak peek yesterday, I can’t help but think of how this partnership may affect other families. Mine is fortunate enough to be able to attend events like this, afford Sesame Street Live performances and even have HBO at home. Many homes do not have these luxuries. Sesame Street was founded as an educational daytime program to expose children to a curriculum focusing on cognitive and emotional goals. One of the primary goals in making this type of programing was regular accessibility for low-income households. Over the past 46 years of production, Sesame Street has covered diversity and acceptance is an everyday life experiences, while involving education and current cultural values. These among so much more is what makes it such a household favorite in America, and all over the world.
My worry is that a program like this partnering with a private network like HBO will make it unattainable to much of the population it was created for. I do not know the specifics of what this partnership will include. I do hope that it will continue to reflect the original mission and “Everyday Heroes” does not become a privilege. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity Vedder and I had yesterday and eager to see the premiere on January 16th, along with what this partnership will have in store for the general public.