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New Bilingual Sesame Street Videos Reach Out to Military Families

LatinaLista — From March 19, 2003 through April 5, 2008, there were a total of 429 Latino soldiers, across all military branches, killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom — overall, 4,005 soldiers were killed during this time frame.
From March 19, 2003 through April 5, 2008, there were 1,924 Latino soldiers who returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom, across all military branches, wounded in action — overall, 29,676 soldiers returned from war wounded in action during this time frame.
As we know, “wounded in action” doesn’t mean that their injuries can be healed with a band-aid and they are sent on their ways. Too, too often these soldiers have lost a limb or endured some other injury that not only is life-changing for them but impacts their families as well.
The smallest and most vulnerable victims of these situations are always the children. It is estimated that there are as many as 700,000 children under the age of five who has a parent in the military.
The children are the ones who miss their parents, don’t quite know how to deal with a parent who returns not looking the same as he/she left and wrestles with the fear that their parent will have to go away again.
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Rosita and Elmo help children of military parents make sense of what is happening to their families.
(Source: Sesame Workshop)

Trying to reassure these children is a monumental task for anyone. So, to help military families make the family transitions easier on the children, Sesame Street has released the second installment of a bilingual outreach project especially for military families called Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes.
The main focus of the outreach project is a series of videos showing the lovable and familiar Sesame Street character Elmo and his friend Rosita, among others, dealing with the changes in their families due to a parent being in the military.

One of six videos created to help children in military families cope with family transitions.
(Source: Sesame Workshop)

Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes seeks to:
Reduce the level of anxiety children may experience during homecomings after multiple deployments.
Help parents with ways to cope with multiple deployments.
Help young children gain an age-appropriate understanding of a parent.s injury by including them and the entire family in the rehabilitation process.
Reassure children that they are loved and secure and that together with their families, they can learn new ways of being there for one another and having hope for the future.

The Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes program is available in a kit with DVDs, print materials and special American Greetings postcards featuring Sesame Street characters for children and parents to stay connected while separated.
In fact, “Sesame Workshop will produce and distribute 500,000 kits at no cost to individual families, schools, child care programs, family support programs, hospitals and rehabilitation centers and other organizations serving the needs of military families. Special emphasis will be made to reach families of the Reserves and National Guard.”
However, the whole program is available online in both English and Spanish — even the streaming videos of Elmo and his family and friends and downloadable songs.
It is a great way to get started on trying to make sense of a traumatic situation for children who may feel a little better in knowing that if Elmo and his friends can be OK then they will be too.

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