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Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change
Join John Mayer, Queen Latifah and your Sesame Street friends for "Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change." This primetime family television special tells the stories of military families coping with the challenges of combat-related injuries—both visible and invisible. "Coming Home," aired on April 1st on PBS, exploring the different ways these heroic families who are coming together to find a "new normal."
With help from Elmo and Rosita, "Coming Home" gives a voice to young children as they play a central role in their families' adjustment process. The special encourages them to ask questions, talk about how they feel, and be what they are — kids. Queen Latifah hosts, meeting real families dealing with combat-related injuries including the loss of a leg, traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"Coming Home" is part of Sesame Workshop's Talk, Listen, Connect initiative for military families. Join us as we salute the extraordinary courage of children, offer the general public ways to support service members in their communities and provide a powerful glimpse into the lives of these amazing families. We encourage children to watch "Coming Home" with a parent or caregiver, so they can ask an adult any questions they might have.
Smith College researchers anticipate that a recent primetime special of Sesame Street may yield valuable information about how children respond to issues around their enlisted parents returning home after combat.
Featuring celebrities John Mayer and Queen Latifah, the half-hour special, “Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change,” told the stories of service members who return home with injuries—visible and invisible—and explored the struggles their families face as a result.
The Smith College School for Social Work, which was founded in 1918 to address the needs of American veterans (for more information, go to http://www.smith.edu/ssw/admin/about_history.php), partnered with Sesame Street Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization, to assess the responses of children and parents to the program, which aired on PBS on the first day of April, the “Month of the Military Child.”
“The goal of the research is to reach out to families and help families think about how they pull together and cope with visible and non-visible war wounds,” said Marsha Kline Pruett, Maconda Brown O'Connor Chaired Professor, who is directing the project. "The School for Social Work, with its commitment to the treatment of veterans, seemed the perfect institution to do this research."
As part of the collaboration, Sesame Street Workshop’s Vice President of Outreach and Education Jeanette Betancourt, will visit Smith July 27 to discuss the development of the program, "Coming Home," as well as Sesame Workshop’s military families initiative, "Talk, Listen, Connect."
An estimated 350 participants within military and civilian families, with children between the ages of 2 and 8, were included in the research. Following the show, they were asked to respond to written surveys and join focus group sessions facilitated by Smith faculty members. The military families included at least one parent who served on a tour of duty in either Afghanistan or Iraq.
The research was conducted in conjunction with community-based screenings of "Coming Home" which occurred across the country.
“Sesame Workshop is ensuring that a variety of resources are available to help military families with young children cope with the effects of deployment, multiple deployments or when a parent returns home changed due to a combat related injury,” said Betancourt.