Katie Couric and Sesame Street Help Children Deal With the Loss of a Parent


katie-couric-sesame-streetCelebrities have been stopping by Sesame Street ever since someone told them how to get there. The days are sunny, the air is sweet — who wouldn’t want to be on Sesame Street?

Sesame Street and the popular characters that reside there are a part of Americana and they are champions of education.  Bottom line, parents grew up with Sesame Street and parents trust Sesame Street.  It’s the only television program that many of us actively encourage our children to watch.

It’s not all cookies and numbers.  Sesame Street may be cleaner and safer and more idealistic than anything we’ll ever know in reality, but that doesn’t mean that it is oblivious to the real world. The show has dealt with its share of heavy issues and the upcoming primetime special with Katie Couric is no exception.

On April 14th at 8pm PBS will air When Families Grieve, part of an ongoing initiative by Sesame Street called “Talk, Listen, Connect” that provides support to children during tough times.

A press release issued about Sesame Workshop and the program quotes research stating “that one in 20 American children under the age of 15 experiences the death of a parent whether it be from illness, suicide, accident or war-related.” It continues:

The death of a parent is one of the most difficult things a child can face; but children are not the only ones that feel overwhelmed and experience change in their behavior. Grieving is a family experience and, thus, the entire family needs support during this most difficult time. This is why When Families Grieve will harness the unique approach that Sesame takes in addressing children’s needs: using the Sesame Street Muppets to aid the communication between adults and children with language and strategies that are child appropriate and useful for the whole family.

“Death and loss are a part of life, but they are very difficult for adults to discuss, much less children,” said Katie Couric. “I’m honored that Sesame Street, with its long history of tackling difficult issues with sensitivity, caring and warmth asked me to be a part of this important project. I hope that it will provide families with the tools to help them cope, begin the healing process and ultimately adjust to their ‘new normal’ in the healthiest way possible.”

It’s heavy stuff, but these are heavy times and even Sesame Street knows that you can’t sweep away all the clouds.

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