The country below Canada is militarized, there’s no doubt about it. In being a superpower, it’s set up bases around the world, plunking American families down, around the globe. It can be a stressful and isolating experience. Sesame Street Live continues to tour military bases, entertaining families.
But what if a parent dies, when serving in the military? Sesame Workshop’s got that all too frequently relevant topic covered, too. Katie Couric hosts When Families Grieve, which will be shown at 8 pm ET/PT on April 14, 2010 on PBS.
Special focused on death, this April
One in twenty children will experience a parent’s death before they reach age 15, due to illness, suicide, accidental, or war. In the span of 12 months between 2006 and 2007, an estimated 1,345 children from military families experienced a death of a parent serving in the military.
“Death and loss are a part of life, but they are very difficult for adults to discuss, much less children,” said Katie Couric. “I’m honored that Sesame Street, with its long history of tackling difficult issues with sensitivity, caring and warmth asked me to be a part of this important project. I hope that it will provide families with the tools to help them cope, begin the healing process and ultimately adjust to their ‘new normal’ in the healthiest way possible.”
When Families Grieve acknowledges grieving is a family experience, and thus the entire unit needs support during the time. Sesame Street Muppets aids communication between adult and children, introducing them with understandable language and strategies.
Previous specials have focused on deployments in general, and parents being injured in combat. All the materials will be available online in English and Spanish, as of April 15.
The special is produced by David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants Incorporated, whose productions include Everyone Loves Raymond and Ed, and who has racked up 130 Emmy nods, with 24 wins. It began producing feature documentaries in 2006. Filmmakers Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern have won 16 Emmys between them,
Now for the pleasant part, the tour
Now, Sesame Street Live is heading off to some of those places, touring 13 US bases in Guam, Japan, and South Korea. A specially created show, The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families has already done 154 performances at 64 installations in the US and Europe, reaching 105,600 service members and their family since fall 2008.
The performance was specifically created to help families cope with deployment’s challenges. It’s part of Talk, Listen, Connect, Sesame Workshop’s resource initiative that includes television specials.
This leg of the tour started January 14, and will wrap up February 18 at Anderson AFB in Guam.
I’m not sure I knew this before—the USO isn’t actually run by the American government, it’s a separate non-profit org.
Stars and Stripes has the reactions of families at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan.