Nationwide Roll-Out of Talk, Listen, Connect Begins August 1
Video of Announcement Available for Download: Click Here
The Sesame Talk, Listen, Connect Video Overview: Click Here
HOUSTON, TEXAS, July 14, 2006 – Today, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofiteducational organization behind Sesame Street, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announcedplans to distribute bilingual, multi-media outreach kits entitled Talk, Listen,Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment, this August. The announcementwas made by Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, and Ray Bracy,Wal-Mart Vice President of Corporate Affairs, at the annual Military Child EducationCoalition (MCEC) national conference.
Distribution of the Talk, Listen, Connect kits will begin on August 1, 2006. Based on feedback from the program’s advisory board, as well as the priorities establishedfrom focus groups, the kits will be distributed at no cost to military familiesthrough the following outlets and provided by The Department of Defense throughMilitary OneSource: Child Development Centers at each military installation, distributioncenters for Active Duty personnel with children 3-5 years-old, National Associationof Childcare Resource and Referral Agencies, the National Guard, Coast Guard, FamilyReadiness Groups, the Reserves, NYSOMH and MCEC.
Due to an overwhelming response to the announcement of the project and feedbackfrom Talk, Listen, Connect’s advisory board, Wal-Mart has donated an additional$575,000, for a total of nearly $1.5 million in funding. This additional fundingwill increase the number of kits produced by Sesame Workshop and their partnersto nearly 400,000 kits. The resources will consist of a bilingual (English/Spanish)kit with a DVD for children and adults, starring the Muppets from Sesame Street,and a magazine and poster for children, parents and caregivers.
The Talk, Listen, Connect kits will also be available online at
, where streaming video is being provided by TheDepartment of Defense Quality of Life Information Technology Center, so familieseverywhere can view the video and download the information.
Research shows that 483,514 children of active duty military members and 177,888 children of Reserve and Guard members are less than five years of age. To meet theunique needs of these children, Sesame Workshop developed Talk, Listen, Connect,with an initial donation of nearly $1 million from Wal-Mart and additional supportfrom The New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) and the Military ChildEducation Coalition (MCEC). The project will help children between the ages of threeand five, whose parents are members of the United States Armed Services, NationalGuard and Reserves, cope with the feelings, challenges, and concerns experiencedduring various phases of deployment: pre-deployment, deployment and homecoming.
“Wal-Mart has a long history of supporting our troops and their families. We areproud to be part of a program that will provide important resources to the childrenof our servicemen and servicewomen, who bravely serve our country and defend ourfreedom,” said Ray Bracy, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. “At Wal-Mart, we are committed to honoring and supporting these individualseach and every day and we
are proud to be part of a project that takes a holistic approach to helping theentire family.”
“Sesame Workshop is grateful to Wal-Mart and our partners and proud that Talk, Listen,Connect kits will be distributed nationwide, as well as, be available online forall military families to access these groundbreaking materials,” said Gary E. Knell,President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “It is our privilege to provide Active Duty,National Guard and Reserve families with unique tools to help their young childrenfind emotional strength and resilience.”
“Whether children are worried about moving to a new home or school or a parent’sdeployment, being a child in a military family represents a unique emotional challengefor today’s youth,” said Commissioner Sharon E. Carpinello, R.N., Ph.D. “OMH isproud to have been invited to play a role in this important initiative with SesameWorkshop and Wal-Mart.”
“The Military Child Education Coalition’s sole purpose is to provide a comprehensivesupport network to all military families and Talk, Listen, Connect is a much neededtool; we are honored to have such dedicated partners in this effort,” said RetiredGeneral Tom Schwartz, Chairman of the Board for the Military Child Education Coalition.“The commitment of the brave men and women serving our country must be matched witha commitment to their families and the unique and significant challenges they face.”
Talk, Listen, Connect’s advisory board, consisting of leading experts in child development,mental health and programs supporting military families, continues to inform andguide Sesame Workshop on all aspects of the project. They helped to determine theneeds and challenges of children in military families and guided the developmentof age-appropriate and effective content for the program.
Participants on the advisory board include:
* Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., USMC (Ret), Retired MajorGeneral, U.S. Marine Corp., former NASA astronaut, CEO, JACK and PANTHER LLC
* Colonel Stephen J. Cozza, M.D., USA (Ret), Chief, Departmentof Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Associate Director, Center for theStudy of Traumatic Stress, Child and Family Programs, Uniformed Services Universityof the Health Sciences
* Amy Goyer, Manager, Grandparent Information Center, AARP Foundation
* Mary Keller, Ed.D., Executive Director, Military Child EducationCoalition
* Sylvia E.J. Kidd, Director, Family Programs, Association of theUnited States Army (AUSA)
* Michael L. López, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Centerfor Latino Child & Family Research
* Patty Shinseki, Advisory board member, Military Child EducationCoalition, Amputee Patient Care Program at Walter Reed Medical Center, Citizen-SoldierSupport Program
* Jean Silvernail, Ed.D., Chief, Military Child in Transition &Deployment, Department of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy
* Janice R. Witte, Director, Office of Children and Youth, Departmentof Defense, Military Community and Family Policy
Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningfuldifference in children’s lives around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshopchanged television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. Today, the Workshopcontinues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietaryresearch methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales and Sagwa, TheChinese Siamese Cat, Pinky Dinky Doo and ground breaking multimedia productionsin South Africa, Egypt and Russia. As a nonprofit, Sesame Workshop puts the proceedsit receives from sales of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales, Sagwa and Pinky productsright back into its educational projects for children around the world. Findthe Workshop online at
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, NeighborhoodMarkets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. The company also operatesin Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala,Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchangesunder the symbol WMT.
New York State Office of Mental Health
As New York State’s mental health authority, the Office of Mental Health promotesthe mental health of all New Yorkers with a particular focus on providing hope andrecovery for adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotionaldisturbances. The Office of Mental Health works closely with local governments,community providers, and recipients of mental health services and numerous otherstakeholder groups to plan and deliver effective services to approximately 630,000New Yorkers annually. Services provide hope for the future and promote recovery,and are designed to be consumer and family focused, responsive to individual needs,and respectful of culture and language. OMH also promotes overall public mentalhealth through education and advocacy for all New Yorkers. For more informationplease visit
The Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
MCEC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes partnerships and providesfor networking of military installations and their supporting school districts.Their focus is to address transition and other educational issues related to themilitary-connected child, including active duty, National Guard, and Reserves. MCECseeks to include all military installations, their supporting schools, concernedorganizations, and caring individuals.