Skip to comments.America Supports You: Elmo Visits Military Kids to Help With Deployment Stress
Posted on 06/26/2008 4:47:23 PM PDT by SandRat
| WASHINGTON, June 26, 2008 Sunny days will be just around the corner when Elmo and his friends bring The Sesame Street Experience to 43 military installations to help children trying to cope with parents deployments.
The new live program adds a new dimension to Sesame Workshops Talk, Listen, Connect, DVDs for military children facing deployments, said Gary Knell, the Sesame Workshops president and chief executive officer. He compared the 60-minute program to an adult concert featuring The King.
Its sort of like an Elvis concert for 2-year-olds, Knell said. Well have Elmo and Rosita and Grover and Cookie Monster [and Zoe].
While the show promises to be fun for all, it also has a serious purpose: to help young military children learn how to better handle a parents deployment. Few are better qualified to put that message into terms kids can understand than Sesame Street characters, said Leslye Arsht, deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy.
The muppets have a way of talking to 3- to 5-year olds and their parents that talks right to the heart, she said. Nobody could do it like they can do it.
When parents and children attend The Sesame Street Experience, the children learn and be entertained, and the parents will walk away with new tools to help their children.
The packages that are going to come with the [performance] include both [Talk, Listen, Connect] DVDs, and some additional materials that can guide the conversation that they need to have with their children, Arsht said. The real opportunity here is for military families to see that Sesame Workshop, like America, really cares about them and knows that being separated is really hard.
And it is no matter how old you are, and we all need to learn strategies for coping and being strong and having courage around those difficulties, she added.
While the Defense Department and corporations have lent support so that the Sesame Workshop could provide the content, its the partnership with United Service Organizations that will help get the muppets in front of their adoring fans.
The way that we help is with our relationship with the military and our access to the bases, said Ned Powell, USO president and chief executive officer.
The Sesame Street Experience is the second time USO has partnered with Sesame Workshop. We did do the Talk, Listen, Connect, program with Sesame Street earlier this year, and now were rolling out the tour, he said.
Its an exciting partnership, Powell added, explaining that working with Sesame Street has expanded its breadth of volunteers. We go from [comedian] Robin Williams and [country singer] Toby Keith all the way to Elmo and Rosita, he said.
But its all in a days work for both Sesame Street, which has educated children for 40 years, and USO, which supports troops.
Thats our job, to help foster that peace of mind, as well as say thank you, Powell said. Why not say thank you to the littlest members of the armed forces.
The USO is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
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