When a parent is deployed, the entire family is deployed. And, when a parent comes home and must adjust to change, the entire family is adjusting, too. The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, the USO partnership with the Trevor Romain Company and the With You All the Way program specifically address challenges that children experience. United Through Reading’s military program hosted at USO Centers keeps the parent connected with their children back home.
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Sesame Street/USO Experience
Helping children between the ages of 2 to 6 cope with deployed family members
The Muppets bring their message of joy, love and support to families on bases in the U.S. and overseas. The show recognized the sad times, but doesn’t stop there. From the first minutes, kids are up on their feet, singing and dancing. For a while, they can forget the everyday struggles of going to birthday parties, school concerts or soccer games without mommy or daddy cheering from the sidelines.
The USO and Sesame Street have also partnered on a resource kit for military kids and parents called “Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes.” With simple DVDs for preschool kids and resources for parents, the kits are handed out at the show, extending support from Elmo and company well beyond show time.
This year’s tour features a new character named Katie, a military child dealing with the uncertainty of making friends after a family move. Launched in April, this tour will deliver 147 shows on 59 bases in the Pacific and Europe before it ends in November.
With You All the Way – Trevor Romain
Aimed at children ages six to 18 dealing with challenges of military life
Trevor Romain uses humor to connect with kids and draws on his own experiences in the award-winning DVD series that deals with tough topics – bullies, cliques, fear, grief and divorce. Trevor has spoken with tens of thousands of military kids about deployments and the return home, the good times and the sad. Over 30,000 military families have received the With You All the Way Empowerment Pack that includes the DVD series, tools for social and emotional fitness.
Just recently in Los Angeles, their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known to many as Prince William and Kate, helped assemble 1,000 “With You All the Way” deployment kits. Created by the Trevor Romain Foundation, the “With You All the Way” deployment kit helps children and their families prepare for deployment, stay connected during the separation, plan for reintegration and cope with the loss of a military parent.
United Through Reading’s military program hosted at USO Centers
Keeps deployed parents connected with their children back home by allowing them to be video recorded reading a children’s book
The bond between parent and child grows strong over a story that the child wants to hear over and over again. When a parent is on duty away from home, the USO and United Through Reading® make that bond possible.
Here’s how it works: USO centers have a supply of books that kids love. Many deal with issues that they are facing – missing a parent, starting a new school, being afraid – while others are just fun. The parent selects and reads the book aloud while being recorded on a DVD. The DVD, the book and simple instructions are sent back home, at no cost to the troops or their families.
Children can watch and listen to their parent at bedtime, naptime or anytime. Families complete the circle by sending back a touch of home – a photo of the child watching their deployed Mom or Dad reading the book.
In 2010, the USO shipped more than 70,000 books and DVDs to military families, bringing the total recordings for the past three years to more than 191,000.