Lee Woodruff and her husband Bob, who was injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2006.
Lee Woodruff is the co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the mission of which is to provide resources and support to injured service members, veterans and their families. For years Lee, her husband Bob Woodruff and Sesame Workshop have worked together to help military families stay strong as they experience the many challenging transitions that accompany military service. On Wednesday, April 18, Lee and her husband will be moderating a Sesame Workshop panel on military families which will include such esteemed guests as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Patty Shinseki, board member of the Military Child Education Coalition and advisor for Joining Forces, a White House initiative that brings attention to the needs and sacrifices of veterans, service members, military families and their children, and encourages action to provide broad-based American support to them.
Carmen Osbahr is a performer on Sesame Street. She is best known for her performance of Rosita, a Spanish-speaking monster who has appeared on Sesame Street since 1991. In addition to her work on the show, Carmen plays a major role in Sesame Workshop’s military families initiative. She and Kevin Clash, who performs Elmo, perform for the children of military families at USO shows both in the United States and abroad, making up just one part of the work we do with the USO. We recently sat down with Carmen to learn more about the work she does with the USO and how working with military families became so important to her.
To learn more about the work Sesame Workshop does with military families, click here.
Sesame Workshop: You recently came back from a USO tour. Tell me a bit about the work you’ve done with the USO in the past.
Carmen Osbahr: That was our second tour. The first one was in 2010. At the end of the year we went to Germany, where the USO took us to two military bases. It worked out so well that this time they took us to Guam and Hawaii. It was really cool.
Two weeks ago Sim Sim Hamara, the Pakistani version of Sesame Street, celebrated International Puppet Day in Lahore. Our partners at Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, whom Senior Vice President of Global Education Charlotte Cole recently wrote about, sent us a video of a puppet show from that day. Everyone’s having such a great time that not showing you didn’t feel right. Stick around til the end when they sing the Sim Sim Hamara theme song. It might be the most relaxing of all the international co-production theme songs.
The longest running tour in the history of the USO hit the road again this week when the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families kicked off its latest adventure at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Between now and November the tour will stop at 65 military installations around the country and put on more than 235 shows. The tour features Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Grover, Honker and Katie, a new character created specifically for the tour to help children of military families deal with the challenges of relocation. Get a closer look at the fun everyone had at the tour’s inaugural show by clicking through the photos below. And be sure to stop back by SesameWorkshop.org throughout April, month of the military child, to learn more about the way our organization supports the families of the brave men and women who serve our country.
Ed. Note: Charlotte Cole is the Senior Vice President of Global Education for Sesame Workshop.
The gates of Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in Lahore are a portal into a rich celebration of Pakistan’s culture. The compound, which houses a Museum of Puppetry, a crafts exhibit and a restaurant, is also the location of the home office for Sim Sim Hamara, the Pakistani version of Sesame Street. And it was there that I and two colleagues, Sadaf Sajwani, Assistant Director and Lilith Dollard, Educational Content Specialist, spent the past week. We were in Lahore to forward the work on a coproduction partnership that began two years ago when Rafi Peer received a grant from the United States Agency for International Development to create a multi-platform educational initiative known as Pakistan Children’s Television (PCTV). Sim Sim Hamara is a key component of that effort.
This is not an easy project. The challenges of providing a high quality educational experience to children living in a populous country where one-third of primary school age children are not in school are great. Yet, the creative energy that resides on the Rafi Peer grounds and the drive of the people working there make it apparent that, however difficult, the team will find a way to deliver on its promise.
In order to celebrate Opening Day and the long tradition of featuring baseball on Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop archivist Susan Tofte dug up old photos from some of the times baseball players have hung out with Big Bird, Elmo and the rest of the gang.
According to Autism Speaks, a leading autism awareness organization, autism affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys. In the last 40 years the prevalence of autism has grown ten-fold. It affects more children than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. That’s why, on Monday, Sesame Workshop was proud to take part in World Autism Awareness day. People around the office wore blue to show our support for the children who are living with autism and the dedicated medical professionals who are working to better understand and help treat it.
From left to right: Ernie, Bert, Ienie Menie, Tommie, Elmo, Pino and Purk
On this date in 1853, Vincent Van Gogh was born in Zundert, Netherlands. In October 1888, Van Gogh painted his first version of Bedroom in Arles, an iconic work of post-impressionist art. In December, 2011, Bert, Ernie and Elmo made a couple of… “improvements” to Van Gogh’s masterpiece.
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Sesamstraat, the Dutch version of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop partnered with the Amsterdam-based Vincent van Gogh Museum, where Bedroom in Arles hangs, to recreate a version of the famous painting featuring Elmo, Bert, Ernie and the beloved Sesamstraat MuppetsTM Ienie Mienie, Tommie, Purk and Pino. The special painting, which was unveiled by Sesamstraat actor Frank Groothof, was on display at the museum in December 2011.
The loveable puppets from Sim Sim Hamara, the Pakistani version of Sesame Street, recently took part in Pakistan’s 9th annual Folk Festival of Contemporary and Traditional Puppetry. On Wednesday, March 21, before an audience of 2500 children at the Rafi Peer Cultural Center in Lahore, Rani, a beloved Sim Sim Hamara’s puppet, helped inaugurate the festival by cutting a ribbon and releasing hundreds of colorful balloons into the sky. Then Rani and the rest of the Sim Sim Hamara gang spent the rest of International Puppet Day, which marks the first day of the festival, singing the show’s theme song and playing with all the children in attendance.
To learn more about Sim Sim Hamara, Sesame Workshop’s local partner Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, and the rest of the educational efforts in Pakistan, click here. Funding for Sim Sim Hamara is made possible through the support of USAID from the American people.
Ed. Note: This post was authored by Rosemarie Truglio, Jennifer Schiffman, Jennifer Kotler and Susan Scheiner of Sesame Workshop’s Education and Research Department.
N.B. Above is a playlist of Sesame Street ABC segments from throughout the years. Keep watching to see more examples of our educational alphabet content, or use the playlist icon to scroll through and find your favorite.
The alphabet hasn’t changed since Sesame Street first debuted in 1969. No letters have been removed. No new letters have been discovered. Similarly, the importance of providing a foundation for a lifetime of learning is just as important then as it is now. What has changed over time is the expectation for a child once he or she enters kindergarten. We’ve heard countless stories from parents who are concerned that activities that were appropriate for first and second graders have trickled down into kindergarten. Standards are more stringent and expectations are higher. However the country is still facing a literacy crisis, with newspapers around the country citing statistics indicating that many children are entering kindergarten ill-prepared.