Today in Surprisingly Feelgood News, did you know that Sesame Street is going to bring early education to displaced Syrian refugee children? Because they are, and they’re committed to it no matter how much money they get (or don’t get) from the government to make it happen.
In a recent Medium post, Sherrie Westin, the Executive Vice President Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, outlined how the nonprofit organization is planning to join forces with the International Rescue Committee and why early education is so dang important in the first place.
While Syrian refugees are definitely the biggest hot button international issue today, this kind of initiative is not new for Sesame Street — they also do work that provides resources to military families, promotes autism acceptance, champions girls education, helps children navigate the grieving process, and de-stigmatizes HIV through awareness.
The kicker? While the project is currently in the running for a MacArthur grant totaling $100 million (alongside a bevy of other meaningful and important projects, it should go without saying), Sesame Workshop says they don’t need no stinkin’ grants to get the job done:
We’re excited that the MacArthur Foundation found our combined work so compelling as to name us a semifinalist for their 100&Change grant, but we’re going to let you in on a little secret: even if MacArthur doesn’t end up funding this work, Sesame and the IRC are going to find a way to help these children.
Which segues into a thing I never thought I would think in my life: Boy, it sure is a good thing Sesame Street got all that money from HBO and doesn’t rely entirely on public broadcasting money, huh? Don’t get me wrong, government arts funding is extremely important no matter what Trump’s administration thinks, and it’s still a little disheartening that a private service like HBO is getting exclusive first access to episodes over PBS. Still, it’s nice that Elmo isn’t going to get in too much trouble with the government for daring to be nice to tiny Muslim children overseas — and for being so bold and public about it on top of everything else.
Speaking of which! If you want to support Sesame Workshop’s work yourself with your own hard-earned money, you can do so here. Don’t let HBO pick up all the slack! Especially if you’re like me and you don’t, uh, actually pay for your own HBO Go connection in the first place. *tugs collar sheepishly*