Sesame Street characters visit post
November 1, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families visited Fort Jackson Monday and Tuesday for four shows at the Solomon Center.
The tour is based on Sesame Street's military families initiative to help military children deal with the challenges of deployment and relocation.
"I think this show is important, because the children can use Sesame Street characters as role models that they can believe in, grown up with and they trust," said Tom Zaizar, company manager of the Sesame Street and USO Experience for Military Families.
In April 2011, Sesame Street introduced the character Katie, a military child who experiences the challenges of relocating after her parent's deployment.
"Characters like Katie give military children someone to identify with, who has the exact same issues they are going through," Zaizar said. "When we give the message that it is OK to move, to make new friends and keep friends, this gives children the tools not to feel scared or fearful and help other kids as well."
More than 1,700 family members attended the two shows Monday, said Cindy Andre-Noel, Child and Youth School Services outreach coordinator.
Lt. Col. Dexter Caston and his wife, Demetria, brought their son Dylan, 18 months, who is a fan of Elmo.
"He loves Elmo, and so we just had to come out. The first name he ever said was Elmo," Demetria Caston said.
"We just moved here five months ago, and we have two older children whom this move has affected also, so we enjoyed the show," she said. "We knew this program would be geared towards military families, and so we came out because of that."
Maj. Randy Lefebvre and wife, Leslie, brought their daughter Claire, 2, to see Sesame Street, but also to get a glimpse at how the USO supports Soldiers and families.
"This is an important opportunity to see USO support the troops and ultimately the families which is the most important thing," Randy Lefebvre said. "If we can take care of the families then the Soldiers can concentrate on their mission."