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In honor of April being MILITARY CHILD MONTH, we would like to talk about Sesame Street for Military Families initiative.

Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, is so excited to be partnering with OneOp to support the great work practitioners do to support our military families.

Our Sesame Street for Military Families initiative has been a 12-year-long initiative to support our military families with young children through all the milestones of their lives. All our resources are on a free, bilingual (English and Spanish) website, Sesame Street for Military Families, where families can find information and multimedia resources on the topics of military deployments, multiple deployments, homecomings, relocations, (visible and invisible) injuries, and grief.

We are creating new resources based on what parents tell us they need and most recently we launched new topics on self-expression, routines, family health and wellness, and birthdays.  The For Providers section supports practitioners in their work supporting military families.   I am proud to be part of a team of educators, producers, researchers and more who create these valuable resources but the true test is in how the parents use them.

Here is one mom, an Editor of Military Spouse magazine, Janine Boldin, on allowing Sesame Street to join her family on their military adventure:

elmo giving a military child a high five

Sabrina Huda is Senior Project Manager with U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational producer behind Sesame Street.  She manages Sesame Workshop initiatives that reach the most vulnerable and underserved kids and their families through work with key partner organizations who are committed to helping all kids become smarter, stronger, and kinder.

You Talked, We Listened, and My Military Family Felt Connected

Between balancing solo-parenting and many moves, military life can be exhausting for the spouse who is holding down the homefront. Our own Army family has experienced nine moves, four deployments, and many months separated because of field time. In all of the hurry, I sometimes struggled to find the right words to help my kids process the challenges of our military life.

sesame street characters

Enter: a helper.

During my husband’s first deployment, Elmo was one of my helpers. He was a constant during the ups and downs of dad being gone. Elmo was patient and understanding, and seemed to have just the right words (and laughs) when I couldn’t seem to muster them. I even found myself smiling when I heard Elmo’s giggle.

As we headed into deployment number two, I started looking around for more help. I found the Talk, Listen, Connect resources offered by Sesame Street. I had seen them at our Army Community Service building but only picked up a kit at a pre-deployment fair offered by my husband’s Army unit. When we watched the DVD, I remember feeling as if a weight had been lifted. Elmo’s words to my kids about how to face another year apart from dad were the ones we all needed to hear.

Having written about military families for over a decade, I’ve been introduced to all types of resources and experiences aimed at helping our military community. With Sesame Street, I knew what to expect. I placed my trust in the materials Sesame was creating for my family.  Fuzzy, bright monsters, yes, they cheer-up or console our kids, but they also help mom and dad. My family was one of the earlier users of the Talk, Listen, Connect toolkits, but I can still remember looking over my children’s shoulders finding comfort in the words of the monsters and songs that were sung.

Being the mom of military kids is an amazing adventure. I always try to help my kids focus on the goodness in our military life. I feel Sesame is in line with this same thought. Because, while the challenges can be hard, the love our family has for one another helps us get through them. Sometimes we just need a little help with the words, seeing how to make it happen, and a good giggle.

Janine Boldrin is the Managing Editor of Military Spouse magazine. She is an Army spouse and mom to three military kids.