Sesame Workshop Founder Joan Ganz Cooney and her husband Peter Peterson
On Tuesday night the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) hosted their sixth annual Heroes Gala, and Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney and her husband, Chairman Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Peter G. Peterson, were honored at the event. Mrs. Ganz Cooney received the IAVA’s 2012 Civilian Service Award in recognition of all the work Sesame Workshop does to help military families, but in particular Sesame’s Talk, Listen, Connect outreach initiative, which focuses on providing military parents with the tools they need to discuss complex issues like deployment, relocation, injury and the loss of a parent with their children.
“Many parents don’t have the right words to help explain to their child what happens when they must go away, how to reassure their children when they return from service injured, or worst of all, when a parent dies,” Mrs. Ganz Cooney said while accepting the award. “But with the right language, support, and the help of the Muppets, we are able to help. Since its launch, our Talk, Listen, Connect initiative has grown to reach virtually every U.S. military family with young children.”
Mrs. Ganz Cooney went on to thank the IAVA, saying, “It makes it all the more meaningful to receive this honor from an organization that is working every day to advocate for and support our veterans and their families.”
To learn more about the Talk, Listen, Connect initiative, click here. To get a firsthand look at the resources and tools we provide for military families, visit Military Families Near and Far.
On Sunday over 20,000 people will march down New York City’s 5th Avenue in celebration of and appreciation for our nation’s veterans, and Sesame Workshop is proud to stand alongside them. The annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, the largest in the country, has been just one part of the many ways Americans show our thanks to our veterans and their families for 93 years.
This year, Sesame Workshop did a little something extra to say thank you: Associate Design Director of Special Projects Louis Henry Mitchell created the above painting as a special way of saying thank you to all the men and women who either currently or once served in our nation’s military and their families. On Thursday Mitchell and other members of the Sesame Workshop team presented it to the United War Veterans Council, which puts on the Veterans Day Parade. Read More
After Hurricane Sandy struck, Sesame Workshop sprang into action. Elmo took to the airwaves to calm children and help them understand the disorder surrounding them. We used our social media outlets to make sure as many affected families as possible were aware of the resources and tools offered by our hurricane outreach kit. And this Friday we’re airing a very special episode of Sesame Street. Read More
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, and yet it is one of the most common environmental health problems for American children under the age of six. That’s why UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop partnered to provide parents with helpful prevention information, encourage lead testing and share tips to help families stay healthy. Read More
Photo Credit: Rachel Garber
Ed. Note: Rachel Garber is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sesame Street was in San Francisco last week to catch some of the annual October sunshine that gets San Franciscans through its famously cold summers. On Oct. 16, students at ER Taylor Elementary chattered excitedly to each other on the blacktop, but not about the weather: They were talking about their teeth.
“I brush for three minutes—not two, just to be safe,” one 5th grader bragged to his friends as his class waited to have their teeth examined by volunteer dentists. Their school participated in a three-day dental screening program Oct. 15-17 in San Francisco, as part of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Give Kids a Smile initiative. Read More
Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to San Francisco to be a part of the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile oral health screening program, which took place at two elementary schools and a hospital over the course of three days. In collaboration with the San Francisco Dental Society, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Colgate’s Bright Future, Bright Smiles program, and the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, over 2,000 San Francisco children received free oral health screenings and education on those three days. We were a part of these events for our work on our Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me outreach initiative, with the ADA distributing over 2,000 of the Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me kits to all of the participating children, along with free toothbrushes and toothpaste. Read More
Lynn Chwatsky is Sesame Workshop’s Vice President of Outreach Initiatives and Partners. She has been overseeing the work the Workshop does with military families since 2006.
When we think about the challenges of military life, we sometimes forget the transitions the youngest members of our military families go through. Our service members’ young children are faced with a number of uniquely difficult circumstances: repeated relocation, the deployment of a parent, homecomings, injuries, even the death of a parent – to name a few. For years, Sesame Workshop has been providing resources that help both military parents and their children stay resilient during those trying transitions, and now those bilingual (English and Spanish) resources are available on our new, free Military Families mobile application.
The Sesame Street for Military Families app includes videos, articles, storybooks and caregiver guides on how parents and children can communicate and express their emotions about challenging transitions.
Sesame Workshop has long been dedicated to the well-being of military families and their children. We reach out to families wherever they are: online, on mobile devices, even on the road. Our partnership with the USO, which brings The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families to thousands of families around the world, has provided infinite smiles and messages of love and support.
As technology evolves, new ways to help children through challenging transitions have emerged. That’s why Sesame Workshop uses online resources like our FamiliesNearAndFar.org website, which provides digital tools for military children, and social media like our Sesame Street for Military Families Facebook page to create an online community for sharing these resources. Our Feel Electric! app for military kids proved that mobile apps could deliver much needed content to help children express themselves during tough transitions. From those successes we knew we needed to provide the grown-ups in these same military families with resources on the device they rely on more and more – that is why we launched the Sesame Street for Military Families mobile app.
Learn more about the app and download it for FREE from the App Store(SM) or Google Play.
Congratulations to the Sesame Workshop team for receiving an Emmy for Growing Hope Against Hunger, a special focusing on the invisible crisis of food insecurity in the United States. Food insecurity is a difficult issue for parents and children to discuss, and Growing Hope Against Hunger sought to present personal stories about food insecure families that would help raise awareness about hunger as well strategies that have helped these families grow stronger and more secure. Congratulations to Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente, Supervising Producer Melissa Dino, Senior Producer Mason Rather and Producer Kevin Clash.
Since its founding, Sesame Workshop has been dedicated to making sure kids grow up healthy and strong. In recent years, our partner Sam’s Club has helped us further that goal by in part funding the creation of Sesame Street’s “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” outreach kits. The bilingual (English/Spanish) outreach kits include an original Sesame Street DVD and a family booklet. There’s also additional activities and information at SesameStreet.org/Teeth.
As part of its commitment to the health and wellbeing of children across the country, Sam’s Club is offering free health screenings for children at all locations with a pharmacy. In addition to the screenings, a limited supply of “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” outreach kits will be distributed as well, in the hopes of providing children and parents with the information they need to make choices that will have a positive impact on their oral health.
Bill Ayres is the executive director of WhyHunger, an anti-hunger organization he co-founded in 1975. Summer is an important time of year to focus on child hunger, which Sesame Workshop’s Food For Thought outreach initiative is committed to battling. Ayres sat down with the Workshop to explain how his organization fights child hunger, why it is such an important issue during the summer months and why his organization utilizes the anti-hunger materials Sesame Workshop makes available.
To put it simply, Why hunger? Why, as Americans, is hunger an issue that we should be concerned about?
Well, that is our name: WhyHunger. We have that name because we are asking the question, why is there hunger in the richest country in the world? Why is there hunger in a world that can feed itself? Hunger is an obscenity. Hunger in America is the ultimate obscenity. There are about 17 million children and 49 million people all together that are food insecure. That means they aren’t starving but they miss meals and they eat less. They don’t get the right kinds of food. That is devastating for kids especially.