Talk, Listen, Connect III: When Families Grieve

From Sesame Workshop: “The death of a parent is one of the most challenging things a child can face, and shockingly an estimated 2.5% of children under age 18 have experienced the death of a parent (approximately 2.5 million children)* and on March 10, 2010 TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) estimated that the 5,398 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan had left 3,779 children without a parent, while 2,669 spouses had been widowed. In response, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, is launching When Families Grieve, an outreach initiative that provides free resources in support of families with young children, in the military and the general public, coping with the death of a parent.

When Families Grieve will launch with the premiere of a one hour primetime television special on PBS featuring Katie Couric and the Sesame Street Muppets airing nationwide on April 14th at 8:00 PM ET/ PT (check local listings). The special, produced by Sesame Workshop, in association with Worldwide Pants Incorporated and Lookalike Productions, will present families’ personal stories about coping with the death of a parent, as well as strategies that have helped these families move forward.

Katie Couric joins Sesame Street Muppets Elmo, Rosita and Jesse, and children who have lost a parent, in planting a tree at Madison Square Park in NYC, to honor those who have passed away as part of a Sesame Workshop outreach initiative, When Families Grieve. PBS will premiere an original special, “When Families Grieve,” on April 14 at 8pm and the free outreach kit, which will also be available online at http://www.sesamestreet.org, will roll-out on April 15. (Photo credit: Sesame Workshop/Gil Vaknin)

Immediately following the special, Sesame Workshop will begin the roll out of close to one million free multimedia kits to families and grief service providers nationwide. Through partnerships with organizations within the military (including The USO) and the general public that already provide services and resources to grieving families, Sesame Workshop will ensure that kits reach those who need them most. Organizational partnerships include Military Services casualty offices, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), childhood grief centers, national nonprofit aid organizations, professional associations, religious communities, foster parents, and others. All materials will also be available online at sesamestreet.org/grief beginning April 15.

We are proud to support the Talk, Listen, Connect series and hope you’ll watch the PBS special tonight.  And take a moment to learn more about the resources from Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes and The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, which returns stateside in 2010.