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Published:December 19th, 2006 06:29 EST
Sesame Workshop Expands Military Families Initiative With Primetime Special, When Parents are Deployed

Sesame Workshop Expands Military Families Initiative With Primetime Special, When Parents are Deployed

By SOP newswire

PREMIERING DECEMBER 27 AT 9PM ET/PT ON PBS

Academy Award ®Winning Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. To Host Informative Half-Hour Program Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

With more than 700,000 children of military families under the age of five separated from their mother or father this holiday season Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has responded with a program geared to address the challenges military families face with deployment.  The half-hour television special, entitled When Parents are Deployed, will be hosted by Academy Award ® winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., premiering Wednesday, December 27 at 9pm ET/PT on PBS (check local listings).

Sesame Workshop recently launched a partnership with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, with additional support from The New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) and Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), to create an educational outreach program titled, Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment. The program was created to assist the children of the military cope with the enormous separation anxiety they face when a parent is called to duty. A total of 385,000 Talk, Listen, Connect kits will be distributed. The entire kit is also available on-line at www.sesameworkshop.org/tlc.  The website also provides a music clip of the song “Proud” sung by Elmo and his dad.  This clip can be sent electronically to a loved one accompanied by a special text message.

While interviewing the military families who were included in Talk, Listen, Connect, Sesame Workshop producers were continually impressed by the families’ selflessness and sense of duty.  Out of this admiration and respect came the idea to make their stories available for all Americans to see.   With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Sesame Workshop created  When Parents Are Deployed, geared to military parents and caregivers.

When Parents Are Deployed reveals candid and intimate moments with the parents, caregivers and children impacted by deployment. They express how they are coping with the daily stress and fears associated with having a parent depart for military duty, and how families deal with that member when they return home after serving their country. As the holidays can be a very difficult time for military families, Sesame Workshop saw this special as way to illustrate how this group of Americans is managing during times of extended separation.

“The overwhelming response that we received to the Talk, Listen Connect outreach program confirmed to us that we were indeed fulfilling an unmet need for the youngest members of our military families,” said Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary E. Knell. “We also felt that it was important to reach as many adult caregivers as possible with this valuable

information.  We are grateful to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for acknowledging our goals with their generous funding of the television special When Parents Are Deployed.

"Military families give so much to community and country," said Patricia Harrison, CPB President and CEO.  "The demands of military life can be especially hard on children who are separated from their Mom and Dad during the holiday season.  CPB is proud to help our troops and their families through our support of When Parents Are Deployed.”

When Parents Are Deployed was made possible by CPB and portions of the special were contributed by Wal-Mart as part of their support of Talk, Listen, Connect. Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in children's lives around the world.  Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street.  Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching.  Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, Pinky Dinky Doo and ground breaking multimedia productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia. As a nonprofit, Sesame Workshop puts the proceeds it receives from sales of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales, Sagwa and Pinky Dinky Doo products right back into its educational projects for children around the world.  Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUB locations in the United States.  The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.  The company's securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.  More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com.  More information about the Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB Foundation or other military projects can be found at www.walmartfacts.com  or www.walmartfoundation.org.

PBS, is a non–profit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 348 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 90 million people each week.  More information can be found at www.pbs.org