Get Set Transylvania is excited to announce a workshop featuring Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Director, alongside Dr. Jeanette Betancourt Senior Vice President of United States Social Impact for Sesame Workshop at Brevard College on March 21 from 8:30-2.

Dr. Cohen will be presenting the newly released statewide Early Childhood Action Plan to Western North Carolina counties for the first time and talk about how she plans to lead NC DHHS forward to improve the lives of children and families in our state.

“This plan was created through the input of nearly 1,500 stakeholders from across the state, and is informed by careful data analysis to prioritize the needs of North Carolina’s young children. We have a rich history in our state of leading the country in early childhood innovation—the Early Childhood Action Plan helps us continue to lead with a collective focus on achieving measurable goals for children and families,” Dr. Cohen said.

“North Carolina has long been recognized as a national leader in early childhood education efforts specifically with its NC Pre-K program and its support of SmartStart community partnerships. Under Dr. Cohen's leadership, NCDHHS has prepared the NC Early Childhood Action Plan allowing our communities across our great state to share identified goals in improving the early childhood experience for our youngest citizens. It is exciting to be a part of this great work for children which in turn will contribute to the economic success of our state as these children grow into capable, secure adults,” Transylvania County Commissioner Page Lemel said.

Transylvania County was the fourth national community to be named a Sesame Street in Communities partner at Halloweenfest in 2018. This workshop will be an opportunity for Western North Carolina community leaders to hear about how Get Set Transylvania is working with Sesame Street to improve the lives of young children in Transylvania County and give some actionable ideas about how Western North Carolina Communities can formulate similar efforts.

“Sesame Street is thrilled to continue our partnership with Transylvania County as we celebrate 50 years of educating children and providing research-based resources to help children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re excited that Sesame Street in Communities is part of this tremendous effort to give children across North Carolina the tools they need to thrive,”Dr. Jeanette Betancourt said.

Workshop organizers are hoping that representatives from across Western North Carolina will come to learn about ongoing efforts and how they can shape homegrown approaches that will help address the needs of young children. Brevard College is hosting the event and is also announcing a new educational program for birth to kindergarten with a focus on outdoor education experiences in response to the growing need for early childhood educators.

“With new and growing evidence that the experience in the first 5 years of life has direct bearing on the health, well-being and economic success in adulthood, Transylvania County has come together under a community collaborative to improve the lives of children and our community. We are thrilled to see our local work in clear and defined alignment with the state and that our national partner, Sesame Street, is also at the table to look for ways we can make a difference together,” Commissioner Lemel said.

The organizers also want to share the message that communities working locally build momentum that can have a statewide and national impact. ““We know that the first eight years of a child’s life are a foundational period for brain growth and healthy development with lifelong implications. The future health of our state depends on the wellbeing of our children today,” Dr. Cohen said.

Those interested in registering to for the workshop can do so by following this link or the hyperlink in the attached agenda:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brevard-college-nc-early-childhood-action-plan-presentation-and-workshop-tickets-57014213046

Press is invited to a press event on March 21 immediately following the workshop to hear directly from NCDHHS and Sesame Street at 2:15 at Brevard College Porter Center. If you plan to attend as a press member, please email Jaime.laughter@transylvaniacounty.org.