One of the most beloved television shows from my childhood turned 40 today: Sesame Street.
But my post is not to celebrate the joy they brought to my childhood, but the work done through the show’s success in support of military families.
Sesame Street Family Connections is a networking website for families to talk, and connect with each other through communication. The children can post artwork they’ve created, and the parents can share stories of their families’ experiences.
One important feature of the website is the Talk Listen Connect section where videos featuring Sesame Street characters talk to children about how to handle when a parent is away on a deployment, how to handle family reunions post-deployment, and how to return to normal family life when a family member returns with an injury. There is a section for adults on how to talk to their children about issues in military families, and the website provides additional resources for the parents.
In September 2009, the Sesame Street Family Connections joined the USO on a tour to the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Alaska, and Hawaii giving a free show to military children and families as part of their Talk Listen Connect program. The tour schedule is available on the USO’s website.
On the show itself, Sesame Street has featured two specials, “When Parents Are Deployed,” which aired in 2006, and “Coming Home: Military Families Cope With Change,” which aired in April 2009.
Over their 40 years Sesame Street has helped children with potty training, learning to read and count, and I think it’s fantastic they are using their popularity among children to help them through times they might not fully understand when a family member goes away on deployment.
Has anyone seen one of the Sesame Street Family Connections/USO shows?