Sesame Place Becomes the First Theme Park in the World to be Designated as a Certified Autism Center

Sesame Place®, the nation’s only theme park based entirely on the award-winning show Sesame Street®, in conjunction with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), today announced the completion of a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training at the theme park.  The completiondesignates Sesame Place as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) as distinguished by IBCCES, — the first theme park in the world to receive such a distinction. The certification aligns with National Autism Awareness Month and comes as the park readies for its 38th season, opening on April 28, 2018.

For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options, and in response, created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.

As a Certified Autism Center, Sesame Place is required to provide ongoing training to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum. Training takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam.  The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.

“As the first theme park in the world to complete the training and become a CAC, Sesame Place is better equipped to offer families inclusive activities for children with autism and other special needs,” explained Sesame Place park president Cathy Valeriano.  Robust pre-visit planning resources will be added to the park’s website including a sensory guide, developed by IBCCES.  This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction.  The park will also have two quiet rooms located on Sesame Island.  These rooms will have adjustable lighting, and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break.

Sesame Place’s certification aligns with Sesame Workshop’s commitment to increasing awareness and understanding of autism.  Sesame Workshop launched the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative in 2015 and Julia, a Sesame Street Muppet with autism, came to life on the award-winning broadcast last spring, signaling a strong, continuing commitment to the autism community.  Julia made her debut at Sesame Place in 2017 as a walkaround character and is available for guest meet & greets. The park is developing in-park programs that will be implemented this season giving guests additional opportunities to interact with Julia.

“Since her debut, Sesame Street’s Julia has touched the lives of millions of children and families around the world and we’re proud that partners like Sesame Place are committed to providing autism-friendly experiences,” said Scott Chambers, Senior Vice President and General Manager, North America Media and Licensing, Sesame Workshop.  “We applaud them for earning this distinction.”

“IBCCES works with leading travel destinations to create safe, sensory-compatible travel options for parents and individuals on the spectrum. Our Certified Autism Center designation is awarded to premier organizations around the globe that have completed rigorous training and meet the highest industry standards,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Sesame Place is ideal because of its accessibility to families and convenient location, as well as everything the organization has done to be inclusive for all. The CAC certification helps give parents and other guests on the spectrum peace of mind when visiting a new destination or attraction.”

“Sesame Place is honored to be leading the theme park industry through our commitment to making our facility friendly for families with children on the spectrum,” added Valeriano.  “We’re dedicated to providing all of our guests with an exceptional and memorable experience.  We look forward to applying this training and expanding our commitment to help spread awareness about autism.”



The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) was established in 2001 to meet the training and credentialing needs of professionals who work with individuals with special needs. IBCCES has since expanded into over 40 different countries with training centers in the United States and Singapore and members all across the globe. Our Certified Autism Specialist, Board Certified Cognitive Specialist and Certified Autism Center credentials were established with the highest standards in the industry. As a result, our programs have become the benchmark for those who work with cognitive disorders around the globe. In addition, IBCCES created and hosts the annual International Symposium on Cognitive Research & Disorders.  This global event brings together top neurologists, education leaders and healthcare experts with a focus on research, innovation and collaboration. For information about training and certification, visit


About Sesame Place®

Sesame Place®, the only theme park in the U.S. based entirely on the award-winning show, Sesame Street®, is ideal for families and kids of all ages.   Conveniently located just 30 minutes from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City, the park has over 25 attractions, three live shows, a daily parade and of course, everyone’s favorite furry friends.  NEW IN SPRING 2018: the biggest, most exciting roller coaster ever – Oscar’s Wacky Taxi™! The new wooden-steel hybrid roller coaster will take thrill seekers of all sizes on a crazy, curvy taxi cab ride, with everyone’s favorite grouch at the helm.  Before little kids become big kids, go before they grow® to the nation’s only theme park based entirely on Sesame Street®.  For more information, visit call 1-215-752-ELMO.

The Shops at Montebello To Host Prom Preview Showcasing Outstanding Local Students on April 21 Center-hosted shopping spree helps Montebello Unified School District students get ready for prom

With prom around the corner, The Shops at Montebello took 22 outstanding high school girls from the Montebello Unified School District on a prom shopping spree this month, giving them an opportunity to shop the glitz and glam of the latest prom fashions, which they will show off at a Prom Preview runway show at the center on April 21.


“It’s a way to recognize outstanding students in our community,“ said Marida Petitjean, Director of Marketing and Business Development at The Shops at Montebello. “We’re a part of the Montebello community, and we like to show our support and give back in any way we can. It’s an experience we hope they’re going to tell their own kids about one day.”


With a budget of $150 each, provided by The Shops at Montebello, junior and senior girls from five local high schools were able to shop for their dream dress and matching glitzy accessories and shoes from retailers at the center.


Outstanding, top performing students were selected by their school counselors to participate in the shopping spree, and included Schurr High School, Bell Gardens High School, Montebello High School, Applied Technology Center and Vail High School. In addition to girl time, the outing served to start a conversation about college and future plans.


Following the shopping spree, the students will unveil their final prom looks in a Prom Preview fashion show on Saturday, April 21, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Center Court. The girls, accompanied by two male models, will strut the runway and present the latest in prom trends, including bright colors, sparkles, maxi-length dresses, short frocks and classic formal pieces. The preview serves to showcase style inspiration in advance of prom night, an adolescent major milestone.


For those interested in attending the fashion show, reserved seating will be available with a $10 donation to Simon Youth Foundation. Ticket holders will also receive a swag bag filled with a $10 retailer gift card.  To add to the fun, Alex Gervais, radio personality at KIIS FM 102.7, will act as emcee for the event. 


For ongoing updates and upcoming event information, follow The Shops at Montebello on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.


About The Shops at Montebello

The Shops at Montebello is a modern indoor super regional shopping center featuring four department stores and more than 160 shops, eateries, and restaurants—remaining the leader for shopping in the San Gabriel Valley. The Shops at Montebello is home to Macy’s, Macy’s Home, JCPenney, Forever 21, Coach, G by Guess, H&M, Cotton On, Fashion Nova and more, with dining options such as BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery, Hikari Sushi, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que and Olive Garden. The Shops at Montebello serves communities in San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles including Montebello, Monterey Park, and Rosemead. With its modernized look and feel, The Shops at Montebello strives to provide the best shopping experience with its retailer and dining selections for the entire family.


About Simon

Simon is a global leader in retail real estate ownership, management and development and a S&P100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE:SPG). Our industry-leading retail properties and investments across North America, Europe and Asia provide shopping experiences for millions of consumers every day and generate billions in annual retail sales. For more information, visit

Comcast Cares Day on Saturday, April 21 @8:00 A.M – 11:00 A.M

More than 350 employee NBCUniversal employee volunteers, friends and family as well as a community partner join together to make change happen in honor of Earth Day. The effort is part of the company’s 17th annual Comcast Cares Day, a global initiative designed to make change happen and spotlight the company’s year-round commitment to volunteerism. 


In partnership with Friends of the Los Angeles River, volunteers will roll up their sleeves to help restore the Los Angeles River near the Bette Davis Picnic area to its natural habitat and ecosystem by removing trash and debris.


This effort coincides with other Comcast Cares Day volunteer activities that have taken place within the community throughout the year. From mentoring youth to helping the homeless, employee volunteers have aided the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center, the 32nd Street / USC Arts Magnet School; and Meet Each Need with Dignity transitional living center (M.E.N.D.), to name a few. The global goal targets 100,000 employees to participate in approximately 1,000 volunteer projects. This year, Comcast Cares Day celebrates a significant milestone with 1 million volunteers contributing to 8,800+ community projects worldwide since its inception in 2001.


Comcast Cares Day is a project of the Comcast Foundation, which provides grants to local community partner organizations across the country.  To date, more than $22 million in grants have been awarded to local nonprofit partner organizations.


For more information on Comcast NBCUniversal volunteer and community investment initiatives, visit

Credit: Comcast Foundation.

The 44th Annual Green Scene Garden Expo Returns to the Fullerton Arboretum

Annual Celebration of Gardens and Gardening. Green Scene to Feature Plants, Art and Activities for All Ages.

The 44th Annual Green Scene & Garden Expo, the largest outdoor garden expo in Southern California, will take place April 21 and 22, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fullerton Arboretum.

In addition to providing a wide assortment of plant and gardening accessories for garden lovers to purchase, the Expo will offer fun gardening activities for the entire family.  Plein air painting demonstrations will take place on Sunday throughout the garden, while the Children’s Garden will feature exciting activities for kids of all ages, including a live Reptile Interaction, face painting, scavenger hunts and more. Attendees can enjoy a variety of food and cold drinks while listening to one of the many educational garden talks, or simply stroll around the property and enjoy the beautiful blooming California Native Meadow.

The Fullerton Arboretum is located at 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, Calif., on the campus of California State University Fullerton.  Admission to Green Scene & Garden Expo will be $8 per person, children under 12 receive free admission, but Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum receive free and early entry to Expo. Fullerton Arboretum members, known as Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum, will have access to an exclusive “FRIENDS Deck” overlooking the garden, giving them an oasis in which to relax and indulge in light refreshments during the garden-packed day of activities.

About Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum

Membership with the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum provides members with exclusive benefits, discounts and free admission to over 250 public gardens across the country and offers them various opportunities to stay proactive in the garden. Individual Memberships start at only $49 per year. For only $125 per year, Arboretum partners receive premiere benefits including a North American Reciprocal Museum Membership (NARM) which entitles the member to free admission to over 950 museums across the nation.

New members can use the code: “FRIENDS” at checkout or at the Expo to receive an additional 6-months on their Friends membership. This exclusive offer is valid until April 22, 2018.

For more information about the Fullerton Arboretum or the Green Scene & Garden Expo, please visit

Credit: The Fullerton Arboretum.

Festival of Books Returns with All-Star Lineup for 2018

The Los Angeles Times is proud to present the inaugural Newstory, a celebration of storytelling beyond the book, during the 23rd annual Festival of Books. Festivalgoers will have the opportunity to discover new forms of storytelling, experience creative technologies and join conversations about what inspires the leading creators of our time.


“Los Angeles is the storytelling epicenter of the world –  TV & film, music, and now VR, podcasts and a lot more,” said Clint Schaff, Times vice president of strategy and development and producer of Newstory. “Newstory is a celebration of that, and an opportunity to discover and experience a variety of storytelling forms and emerging storytelling voices.”


Newstory includes conversations and live performances across five stages, immersive experiences with a 360 VR dome, interactive games and over 50 creative storytellers, including Beatie Wolfe, Mayim Bialik, Two Bit Circus, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest), The Second City, Lucinda Williams, March For Our Lives students and Moby.


“We are excited to bring new forms of storytelling to the Festival of Books and we hope to inspire Los Angeles by sharing activation experiences and emerging storytellers that are typically only available to industry insiders or in expensive entertainment arenas,” said Kim Garner, co-producer of Newstory and founder of Garner Talent.


The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is the nation’s largest literary and cultural festival.  This year, the festival will also shine a light on alternative forms of storytelling including podcasts, gaming, virtual reality, music, film, dance and television. For the first time, the festival will unveil unique experiences showcasing the storytelling industries that are right here in Los Angeles.


WHEN: Saturday, April 21st (10AM – 6PM) & Sunday, April 22nd (10AM – 5PM)


EVENTS: Distinctive Newstory experiences will include:

·         Beatie Wolfe’s “The Art of Music”: Interviews, Performances, Screenings and Experiences

·         Vortex Immersion 360 Media Dome

·         Dear World Personal Narrative Portrait Booth

·         Community Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project

·         “The Journey is the Destination”: Dan Eldon Photography Exhibit

·         Two Bit Circus Interactive Carnival Games

·         Immerson’s VR Haptic “Touch Technology”

  For the complete Newstory schedule, see below, or go to
WHERE: University of Southern California (USC)

The USC campus is located approximately 2 miles southwest from Downtown L.A. and 1 mile from the intersection of the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) and the Harbor Freeway (I-110). Numerous paid parking lots ($12-$25) on and around the USC campus will be available for FOB attendees and can be viewed on this map. Limited street parking is also available.

TICKETS: Admission to the festival is free. Pre-sale passes (which provide advanced reservations for up to 20 indoor conversations) and all-access passes (access to all indoor conversations, plus valet parking) are available for purchase now. Individual conversation tickets will be available Sunday, April 15. For more information, visit:



Credit: L.A. Times Book Festival.


The Shops at Montebello today announced its Spring 2018 More Than Pink movement in support of Susan G. Komen and the fight against breast cancer. As part of its pledge to donate at least $1 million each year in 2017 and 2018, more than 170 participating Simon Malls®, The Mills® and Premium Outlets® nationwide will once again be participating in a range of fundraising activities during the months of April and May.


“We are thrilled to launch our Spring 2018 More Than Pink initiatives and have been overwhelmed by the ongoing positive support this movement has garnered with our shoppers, retailers and employees to support Susan G. Komen in its tireless efforts to reduce breast cancer deaths,” said Enna Allen, Simon’s Vice President of Brand Management. 


From April 14 to May 20, visitors to The Shops at Montebello will be able to participate in a variety of programs to help support Susan G. Komen. Additionally, guests to the center will notice The Shops at Montebello’s Guest Services dressed up in pink in support of the worthy cause.


“It has been wonderful to see the positive response that the More Than Pink movement has generated,” said Marida Petitjean, director of marketing and business development at The Shops at Montebello. “Our shoppers, retailers and employees have embraced the opportunities we’ve offered to support Susan G. Komen in its tireless efforts to reduce breast cancer deaths, and we look forward to continuing that momentum this year.”


More Than Pink Hero Wall (located near Guest Services): An opportunity for survivors and their families to visually celebrate and honor the hero who inspires and uplifts them through their fight with breast cancer. For a minimum $1 donation, shoppers will receive a pink sticker on which they can write the name of the ‘More Than Pink’ Hero and place it on the wall. All proceeds go to Susan G. Komen.  


About The Shops at Montebello

The Shops at Montebello is a modern indoor super regional shopping center featuring four department stores and more than 160 shops, eateries, and restaurants—remaining the leader for shopping in the San Gabriel Valley. The Shops at Montebello is home to Macy’s, Macy’s Home, JCPenney, Forever 21, Coach, G by Guess, H&M, Cotton On, Fashion Nova and more, with dining options such as BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery, Hikari Sushi, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que and Olive Garden. The Shops at Montebello serves communities in San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles including Montebello, Monterey Park, and Rosemead. With its modernized look and feel, The Shops at Montebello strives to provide the best shopping experience with its retailer and dining selections for the entire family.


About Simon

Simon is a global leader in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations and an S&P 100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE:SPG). Our properties across North America, Europe and Asia provide community gathering places for millions of people every day and generate billions in annual sales. For more information, visit


About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $956 million in research and provided more than $2.1 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs, serving millions of people in 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. That promise has become Komen’s promise to all people facing breast cancer. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

Yogurtland Grand Opening Celebration in Long Beach April 9-15

You don’t want to miss visiting this week!

Can You Protect Your Child from Pediatric Cancer?

Pediatric cancer has been on the rise for decades and it is only now that the problem is starting to get the attention it deserves. Even then, insufficient funding in the field is curbing the speed of research. All of this leads us to the question; can we protect our children from pediatric cancers? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no.

There are Ways to Decrease the Chances

The causes for pediatric cancer are far from being clear at the moment, but environmental factors such as being exposed to radioactivity can definitely contribute to the development of cancer in infants and children. On that note, here are a few precautions that parents can take to at least reduce the chances of their children developing any form of the disease.

  1. Exposure to chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners, etc. should be limited or stopped totally
  2. Smoking during pregnancy or being in an environment with tobacco smoke is to be avoided
  3. Doctors may suggest preemptive surgery in certain cases to eliminate the chances of the child developing cancers due to genetic inheritance of susceptible genes
  4. Adoption of an organic source of nutrition over processed food by the parents might help to reduce the chances of pediatric cancers in the infant
  5. Radiation inspections before buying or renting a house/apartment is a must, especially if the building is an old one

Prevention May Not Always be an Option

Unfortunately, most of these precautions are not an exact science and there isn’t sufficient data behind them for us to consider them anything more than precautionary measures. In more than 80% of the detections, pediatric cancer is a result of genetic anomalies and abnormalities, so there’s very little that the parents can actually do to prevent cancerous developments in such cases. Nevertheless, timely detection and treatment often saves the lives of thousands of children every year. In other words, although prevention may not always be an option, treatment during the early stages can work.

What Other Option Do We Have?

The situation regarding pediatric cancers is quite murky as of now, since a lack of sufficient research data has made it quite difficult to detect the effects of possible causes and the extent to which they play a role in bringing about the disease. Our best hopes for the future lies in better research today, but that can only be brought on through childhood cancer donations made by individuals and corporate and government agencies. The research personnel involved need the funding to improve the quality of care, treatment and maybe even find a better cure for the disease in the future.

As is evident, preventing childhood cancer through preemptive surgery is possible in a very rare number of cases and the other precautions might reduce the chances somewhat, but if a child has developed symptoms of pediatric cancer, it is important to understand that in most situations, there is probably very little anyone could have done differently to prevent it.