‘Sesame Street’ actress is the featured speaker at One Childhood One Chance luncheon

A limited number of tickets remain available for Educational First Steps’ fifth annual One Childhood One Chance luncheon, featuring actress Sonia Manzano, “Maria,” from the popular children’s show “Sesame Street.” The luncheon is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17,  at Omni Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar St., Dallas.

Van Sheets, EFS’ new executive director, also will attend the luncheon. He begins work Nov. 27.

Dallas-based EFS’ mission is to improve the availability of quality early childhood education for economically disadvantaged children,

Luncheon co-chairs are sisters Merry Munson Wyatt, Kathryn Munson Beach and Meg Munson McGonigle. Honorary co-chairs are David Jr., Charles and John Munson, cousins of the co-chairs. The sisters made these announcements at the newly opened Veronica Beard boutique at Highland Park Village on Sept. 13, and supporters and board members attended.

“We invite you to support this luncheon that helps raise critical funds to help bring quality early education to 6,000 at-risk children,” Beach said. “It’s definitely a family affair for us as it was founded by our great uncle, David Munson Sr., on his belief that every child, regardless of their economic circumstances or their zip code, deserves and needs a quality education.”

Manzano, inspired, educated and delighted children and families on “Sesame Street” for more than 30 years. Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, she broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television.

Her latest book, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” is Manzano’s tale of perseverance and courage in overcoming countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television.

“Sonia will inspire us as a community committed to supporting common sense, real-life solutions for narrowing the disparities among us in early childhood chances,” Beach said.

Thanks to the funds raised in part from the luncheon, EFS partners with 93 day care centers in at-risk neighborhoods, carrying out a results-driven program for becoming nationally accredited preschools, at no cost to the centers, teachers or parents. These centers progress to become nationally accredited early education centers and anchors in their neighborhoods, while also preparing more children for school and life success.

EFS, which started in South Dallas, has grown to serve Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Collin and Grayson counties, collaborating across 22 school districts.

For tickets, contact Judy Schecter at or 214-824-7940. A table for ten starts at $2,000, and a ticket is $175. More information can be found at publishes every week.
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