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Sesame Street program aids military families in transition

By Drew Brooks | The Fayetteville Observer (Tribune News Service) | Published: February 7, 2016

Fort Bragg doesn't have a Sesame Street.

But the stars of the children's show aren't far away if local families need help with uniquely military issues.

The latest initiative from the Sesame Workshop aimed at supporting military families tackles the issue of transitions.

Elmo and Rosita, two of the bigger stars of the long-running educational program, provide lessons for children and adults when it comes to lessening the stress of leaving the military, according to officials.

Parents can receive tips on maintaining everyday routines, keeping lines of communication open and reaching out for help if needed; children receive fun activities, comfort and coping tactics from familiar characters.

"Sesame Street for Military Families: Transitions was designed to help alleviate anxiety and stress that our service members and their families may experience as they begin reintegration into civilian life," said Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop's executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy. "We are honored to continue supporting our nation's military families and hope that these resources will help fill a gap by addressing the needs of the whole family at a time of transition."

Officials behind the resources said it can be stressful for a family to leave the military, especially when young children are involved.
The search for new jobs, employment, a new home and new routines can be difficult, they said.

Sesame Street for Military Families: Transitions is the latest effort in the Sesame Workshop's 11-year commitment to military families, officials said.

It's based on "extensive research and recommendations from parents and caregivers plus child development and military advisors," according to a release.

The special resources include a printed keepsake book with activity ideas, 10 new videos, including a musical anthem and animated segments, a new website and a series of e-newsletters with helpful tips.

Additional printable pages for the book are available online.

The special resources, offered for free to military families, are made possible with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and Prudential.

Sesame Workshop has partnered with the military, veterans and employment organizations and others to distribute the resources.
Previous Sesame Workshop resources have helped military families with deployments, homecomings, injuries and grief.

Department of Defense leaders have applauded the work.

"We have appreciated the long-standing working relationship with Sesame Workshop," said Rosemary Williams, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy.

"Their unique ability to translate difficult topics into language easily understood by children and trusted by their parents is most unique. These fun and engaging products will only help military families as they adjust to new changes with the same resilience that marked their service to our nation."

brooksd@fayobserver.com

(c) 2016 The Fayetteville Observer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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