ASHEBORO — PBS North Carolina, an educational media network, has appointed Randolph Partnership for Children (RPC) Executive Director Lisa Hayworth to serve as Randolph County’s first PBS Rootle Ambassador.
The PBS Rootle Ambassador program takes locally based community members who are strong supporters of families with young children and trains them to use and share the suite of PBS early education resources with families in their communities.
“Our state is diverse, and each community is unique,” Dr. Melissa Rihm Thibault, PBS NC Chief Education and Innovation Officer, said at the time of the program’s launch. “The Rootle Ambassador is, in each of these communities, bringing their knowledge, connections and deeply held understanding to the role, ensuring that each child is made aware of the assets and opportunities inherent in their home community.”
Rootle is PBS NC’s locally branded 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel aimed at children ages 2-8 years old. The programming takes a “whole child” curricular approach proven to strengthen learning outcomes.
The PBS Rootle Ambassador program was announced in 2021. It was developed from the knowledge that local family members, educators and community leaders have a tremendous impact within the early childhood education space, as well as the need to equitably reach children across the state. Primary funding is provided by the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust grant.
Hayworth is a member of the second cohort for ambassadors. The program’s goal is to have an ambassador in every NC county within five years.
Hayworth has served as executive director for RPC for seven years. RPC is part of the Smart Start network and is the community’s lead organization for young children and their families.
“I am thrilled to represent the Randolph Partnership and our county as a Rootle Ambassador and to help connect local children and families with PBS’ high quality early education resources,” Hayworth said.
“Especially for young children who are not enrolled in licensed childcare—more than two-thirds of our local children—these free, award-winning early education programs and online resources are important tools in helping prepare children for entering school.
“For me personally, I grew up learning with many of the early PBS characters, like Cookie Monster, the Count, Daniel Tiger and X the Owl, and I am loving connecting in this new way with all the great PBS KIDS’ characters and content.”
Hayworth will be highlighting the many ways to engage with the programming over the coming months, including the pbskids.org website and its engaging online activities designed to get young minds thinking.