UnitedHealthcare teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County to create a new Sesame Workshop Comfy-Cozy Space at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club in Seattle.
According to the Boys & Girls Clubs, one out of four kids don’t have anywhere to go after school and 43 million kids lack access to summer learning programs.1 Boys & Girls Clubs provide youth with a safe, constructive, supportive environment outside of home and school where they can have fun with peers and be guided by trained youth development professionals.
A Place to Feel Safe, Seen, and Hopeful
Comfy-Cozy Spaces are Sesame Street-decorated, child-friendly spaces designed to encourage connections and foster conversations between children, parents, caregivers, and providers. These spaces include resources created by Sesame Workshop, such as books and activities about building confidence and resilience. The spaces have colorful Sesame Street Muppet murals on the walls to create a fun and playful environment.
Comfy-Cozy Spaces offer tools and resources for caregivers and families to understand how they can help children feel safe, seen, and hopeful. The materials were developed based on child-center formative research, which gathers insight into children’s thinking to create engaging, entertaining, and educational media and materials.
The Comfy-Cozy Spaces also build upon an existing library of resources designed to improve the well-being of young children and families by helping them develop a solid foundation for lifelong healthy habits.
Resources to Process Big Feelings and Build Resilience
UnitedHealthcare is also working with Sesame Street in Communities to provide storybooks for parents and caregivers that help build resilience as well as process big feelings together. The three new storybooks feature Sesame Street Muppets and tell stories about the key ingredients to build resilience:
- Monster Dash featuring Karli shows how to build flexibility
- Looking for Special including Lily teaches confidence
- Bounce Back with Alex offers ways to practicing persistence
Copies of these books and printed versions of the Monster Moments storybooks are available in the Comfy-Cozy Spaces. These books talk about milestones — such as baby’s first year — and offer encouragement for parents and caregivers.
Expanding Opportunities to Support Children’s Mental Health
Sesame Street in Communities builds on an almost 50-year commitment to addressing kids’ developmental, physical, and emotional needs. UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop have worked together for more than 10 years on initiatives that improve the well-being of young children and families.
Building upon the existing collaboration and integrating a Comfy-Cozy Space into the Ballard Boys & Girls Club in Seattle expands the opportunity to support children, their families, and their caregivers. Boys and Girls Clubs equip young people with the skills they need to manage their emotions and build resiliency so they can engage in every opportunity that comes their way.
A 2021 Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics study found that one in five youths have increased signs of anxiety and one in four youth have clinically elevated symptoms of depression.2 Offering Comfy-Cozy Spaces inside the Boys & Girls Club facility gives children a place to continue to build lifelong healthy habits and supports their mental health. Trained, caring staff know that the key is to establish a trusting relationship and open dialogue that helps staff and youth recognize changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as know when to ask for help.