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More than 700,000 children of military families under the age of five are separated from their mother or father. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has responded with a program geared to address the challenges military families face with deployment.
The half-hour television special, When Parents are Deployed, is hosted by Academy Award ® winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
Sesame Workshop recently launched a partnership with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, with additional support from The New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) and Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), to create an educational outreach program titled, Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment. The program was created to assist the children of the military cope with the enormous separation anxiety they face when a parent is called to duty.
While interviewing the military families who were included in Talk, Listen, Connect, Sesame Workshop producers were continually impressed by the families' selflessness and sense of duty. Out of this admiration and respect came the idea to make their stories available for all Americans to see. With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Sesame Workshop created When Parents Are Deployed, geared to military parents and caregivers.
When Parents Are Deployed reveals candid and intimate moments with the parents, caregivers and children impacted by deployment. They express how they are coping with the daily stress and fears associated with having a parent depart for military duty, and how families deal with that member when they return home after serving their country.
"The overwhelming response that we received to the Talk, Listen, Connect outreach program confirmed to us that we were indeed fulfilling an unmet need for the youngest members of our military families," said Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary E. Knell. "We also felt that it was important to reach as many adult caregivers as possible with this valuable information."
When Parents Are Deployed was made possible by CPB and portions of the special were contributed by Wal-Mart as part of their support of Talk, Listen, Connect.
For more information please visit www.sesameworkshop.org/tlc