'Sesame Street for Military Families: Transitions' helps kids with the transition from active duty to civilian life

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Adjusting to life after the military isn't just challenging for the veteran, but also for the veteran's entire family. Sesame Street is introducing a new initiative about that transition. "Sesame Street for Military Families: Transitions" is the newest resource available to military families in this 11-year program.

Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, the Senior Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, along with popular Sesame Street residents Elmo and Rosita shared some information about the program.

Dr. Betancourt says that the program is for active duty military and also for veterans who have already made the transition to civilian life. For children, this can mean a change in their home, school, friends, and even some family members and their roles in their life.

"And it's a fun way to look at things, with a new adventure! It's a way to prepare for those changes," Dr. Betancourt said.

The initiative has a number of new resources available including "My Story, My Big Adventure" activity book, 10 new videos, a series of newsletters for parents called "The Adventure Campaign", and a special section on the website located at http://www.sesamestreet.org/veterans.

The materials were created by an advisory board and focus groups that helped to determine the key needs and messages to engage families. Experts in the military community were also heavily involved.

Previous initiatives have addressed milestones and life changes such as deployments, homecomings, injuries, and even grief. Now the focus is on this milestone of transitioning.

"Well you know, Elmo really likes listening to kids, he loves to listen to their feelings. But you know, it's very important because lots of times when kids move with their families they have lots of big feelings about it, so Elmo likes to listen to them and help them feel better," Elmo said.

"Elmo helped me one time, and he reminded me that when I have those big feelings I'm able to talk to my mom, and my dad, and my grandparents," Rosita said.

One thing is for certain, "We love our military families!" Elmo and Rosita said.

The initiative is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and Prudential.
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