Sesame Street took center stage at the CBC/WRAL-TV Night at UNC-TV’s Neighbor By Neighbor Campaign on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Eleven staffers spent the evening volunteering on the phone bank and making on-air pitches for the annual fundraiser, as has become a CBC tradition.
An Evening Celebrating Sesame Street
“It was a great night to be on the phones in the newly remodeled UNC-TV/Public Media Studios in support of the 2020 Neighbor by Neighbor campaign,” said ATC PR/Events Manager Valerie Ward, who has participated for over a decade. “In addition to answering the phones, CBC employees and talent spent the evening reminiscing about their favorite Sesame Street character and childhood memories as the 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street aired.”
WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Ken Smith, also a regular UNC-TV Night volunteer for CBC, helped with the on-air pitches throughout the evening. He has fond memories of the role public television played in his early life.
“My First TV experience was on our public TV station in St. Thomas when I was in elementary school,” said Smith. “I recited a Christmas poem. I consider UNC TV, a member of our extended Broadcasting family. The programs and the services Public Television provides mean so much to me and others in our community. I look forward to this event every year.”
Connecting with Co-Workers, Supporting Public Television
DBBC Group Sales Coordinator Fulton Beasley is new to CBC/WRAL Night at UNC-TV.
“This was my first time attending, but I will do this every time they offer!” he said. “The staff at UNC-TV were hospitable and attentive to the Volunteers. The talent sent from WRAL were just as welcoming and warm. We had the opportunity to chat with them, joke and a socialize with them all, building a sense of ownership for being part of the process. The others that volunteered were also a highlight.”
NMG Account Manager Emily Cooper agreed.
“This night is so much fun,” she said. “We have the chance to chat with UNCTV supporters and also with CBC’ers we would not ordinarily get to spend time with every day. There is plenty of time for bonding with your coworkers as well as the UNC-TV staff.”
A second time participant, Cooper said, “I volunteered last year and had such a great time I wanted to come back for round 2.”
During the evening CBC’ers worked on the phone bank during the programming breaks. In between shifts UNC-TV treated the CBC staffers to a catered meal, cake, snacks and time for fellowship.
“My favorite part of the evening was bonding with my fellow CBC’ers all while doing something great for the community,” said Cooper. “It is always such a fun time bonding with people you do not always interact with on a daily basis.”
Giving Back, Celebrating Connections
Beasley enjoyed interacting with the viewers who called in to donate as well.
He shared on such interaction:
My favorite part of the evening was a story shared with me by a donor. She is a Foster parent to a special needs child who is beginning pre-K this fall. She remembered a child was on Sesame Street, who we learned in the show, was the Producer’s child and they went unscripted. Cookie Monster was his favorite and taught the child to read. This was a big deal to the producer as Down Syndrome was viewed as incapable of learning, reading etc. The donor wanted to make sure they had the child prepared by connecting him/her with Sesame Street’s culture of growth through understanding and learning. Both stories touched my heart as my brother has Cerebral Palsy. This made me proud to be there in support of Neighbor by Neighbor.
Both Beasley and Cooper were thankful for a volunteer opportunity that combined a desire to help in the community and give back to an organization they personally appreciate.
“I have always really loved finding new and different volunteer opportunities, and I think this for sure this qualifies,” said Cooper. “It is so special to me that CBC participates in these community partnerships. I grew up with UNC-TV and public television. This year public television is even more important to me now that I am expecting my first little one and I cannot wait to experience the shows and characters that I loved with her in a whole new way.”
They both connected to the experience because of special connections they have to public television.
“I decided to participate because, in the past, I have been active in the community due to both desire and professional responsibility,” said Beasley. “This was an opportunity to continue giving back to the community in a new and exciting way. UNC-TV in particular has a home in my heart. I am a lover of New Bern North Carolina and history in general. A close friend Nelson McDaniel has been part of the UNC-TV cycle for years. He is a mentor and gentleman who is well versed in history specific to NC. Watching him on UNC-TV on several historical programs taught me so much and instilled in me a responsibility to our state’s history and wellbeing.”