Sesame Street is launching a new initiative geared toward military caregivers that's designed to help children understand, cope with, and ask questions about their parent's military service.
On Monday, the happiest street in the world debuted Sesame Street for Military Families: Caregiving, which is aims at supporting military and veteran families as they care for a wounded, ill, or injured parent or relative.
The program was a joint effort between USAA and Sesame Workshop, which does nonprofit educational outreach for the show, and included support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Roughly 3.4 million people with children provide care for an ill or injured veteran or service member in the United States, and an additional 4.5 million civilians with kids care for disabled, aging or chronically ill relatives, according to a statement provided by Sesame Workshop.
Sesame Street for Military Families: Caregiving includes three new videos starring Rosita, along with her mother, Rosa, and her father, Ricardo, who was introduced in 2008 during a special segment that revealed he was injured while deployed and returned home in a wheel chair. In addition to the videos, the program includes articles for parents about how to answer their children's questions; mobile games; and an activity book called My Sunny and Stormy Days which parents can complete with their kids.
The Caregivers initiative focuses on helping children address and understand "why their parent may look or act differently than 'before'; how to safely express complicated or confusing feelings; how their parent's illness or injury can change over time; and how to describe their family's new situation to themselves and others," according to the statement.
The initiative also offers pointers to parents as they provide care for an injured spouse or loved one, and how to explain that situation to their children.
"Coming home from a deployment with visible or invisible injuries is a huge challenge for any service member or veteran — especially those with young families," Sherrie Westin, the president of social impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop said in a statement provided to Task & Purpose.
"Even beyond the military community, the reality is that most of us will serve as caregivers at some point in our lives," Westin continued. "With this initiative, we want every caregiving parent and child to know that they're not alone, and that asking for help is always a brave thing to do."