Extension News

Listen to Elmo: PBS Special Helps Military Kids Cope When Deployed Parents Come Home with Injuries


AMES, Iowa -- Sometimes it takes a red, furry puppet with big eyes and a squeaky voice to comfort a child whose military parent comes home with visible or invisible injuries. In a new Sesame Workshop and PBS special, the Muppet Elmo provides that voice of reason to let Military Kids know that everything will be OK.

“Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change” will air Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. on Iowa Public Television. It will be rebroadcast Sunday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. According to Chris Gleason, Iowa State University Extension state 4-H military liaison, Elmo, along with actor/singer Queen Latifah and singer John Mayer, helps the Muppet Rosita talk about her feelings with her military dad, who now is in a wheelchair.

“This program is a tool that parents, teachers, child care providers and other adults can use to get kids talking about their feelings. The familiar Sesame Street characters help kids put their feelings into words,” Gleason said.

“Kids are very resilient. If you continue to talk with them and work with them, they will develop amazing coping skills,” she said.

The PBS special has benefits for other families besides those in the military, Gleason added, “because we all face changes in our lives.”

“Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change” is part of Sesame Workshop’s Talk, Listen, Connect bilingual educational outreach initiative designed for military families and their young children. Additional materials are available for free download from Sesame Workshop, www.sesameworkshop.org/tlc.

Operation: Military Kids is a national effort to support children of deployed soldiers from all branches of the military including Guard and Reserve. Partners in this collaboration include Army Child, Youth and School Services; National 4-H Headquarters; Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development; Iowa National Guard; Iowa School Counselors Association; American Legion; Military Child Education Coalition; National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies; Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other state and local organizations. 

Operation: Military Kids Iowa is funded by the 4-H/Army Youth Development Project Award #2007-48661-03868, a partnership of Army Child, Youth and School Services and National 4-H Headquarters/USDA.

For more information about Operation: Military Kids in Iowa see www.operationmilitarykids.org.


Contacts :

Chris Gleason, Operation: Military Kids, (515) 294-1557, cgleason@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu