New York, NY — Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is producing, in association with David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants Incorporated and Lookalike Productions, a new PBS primetime special, Coming Home: Military Families Cope With Change, featuring Queen Latifah, John Mayer and Elmo.
This half-hour HD special tells stories of service members who return home with injuries, visible and invisible, and explores the heroic struggles their families face in discovering a new way of finding a “new normal.” It salutes the extraordinary courage and strength of these military families and offers the general public a powerful glimpse into what they often must endure. The special will air on PBS on April 1, 2009 at 8 pm (check local listings) in conjunction with April as the “Month of the Military Child.”
Sesame Workshop has spent the past two years creating outreach materials to help military families with young children cope with deployments, homecomings and changes. In 2007, the Workshop produced a PBS primetime special, When Parents are Deployed, with Cuba Gooding, Jr., which was honored with an Emmy nomination.
The Talk, Listen, Connect Initiative provides support and offers significant resources for military families with young children experiencing the effects of deployments, multiple deployments or when a parent returns home changed due to a combat related injury. The materials consist of a bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia outreach kit with DVDs for children and adults starring the Muppets from Sesame Street, and print materials for children, parents and caregivers and facilitators. Sesame Workshop has produced over 1.3 million kits which are being distributed, at no cost, to individual families, schools, child care programs, family support programs, hospitals and rehabilitation centers and other organizations serving the needs of military families. The Talk, Listen, Connect materials are also available online at www.sesamestreet.org/tlc so that families everywhere can view the videos and download the information. Families can also find information about the program on www.pbsparents.org.
“The range of media tools available through Talk, Listen, Connect truly provides fundamental ways for each family member to support each other through all stages,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “The deep impact of this project continues to inspire us, which is why we are excited to create a new special that will further champion the needs of the military community and will help these families and others find ways to be there for each other.”
“The men and women of our military have made indescribable sacrifices,” said David Letterman. “The very least we can do is tell their stories, and to honor the bravery and strength of both the soldiers and their families.”
“As America’s public broadcaster, PBS is proud to bring resources and tools to families that help them navigate their way through life,” said John F. Wilson, Chief TV Programming Executive, PBS. “These stories of courage and strength from military moms and dads will not only help reach and support families facing similar challenges, but also illustrate to all Americans the extraordinary sacrifices these military families make every day.”