Sesame Street brings sunny days to JBM-HH

By Denise CaskeyMay 30, 2024

Sesame Street brings sunny days to JBM-HH
Big Bird and the Williams family, Navy Lt. Commander Anthony Williams, his wife, Ellen, and their three children, Maxwell (7), Maya (5) and Margot (13 months), take a walk down Arlington Ave. on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall on May 15. Big Bird, along with Elmo, Rosita and The Count, visited JBM-HH on May 13 and 15 through a partnership between the Department of Defense and Sesame Workshop to capture images and video to raise awareness about the Sesame Street for Military Families program. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, VA – Sunny Day/Sweepin' the clouds away/On my way to where the air is sweet/Can you tell me how to get/How to get to Sesame Street?

The days were indeed sunny, and the way to get to Sesame Street on May 13 and 15 was through Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall where members of the cast stopped by for a visit.

The Department of Defense partnered with Sesame Workshop, the global impact nonprofit behind Sesame Street and so much more, to bring beloved Sesame Street characters to the joint base to capture special moments between them and military families.

Images and video from the visit will be used to raise awareness about Sesame Street for Military Families across a variety of platforms, said Janay Powell, Military Community Outreach, DOD, Military Community and Family Policy.

The SS4MF website offers a wide variety of resources on every topic from birthdays to relocation as well as links to apps and games for kids.

“We are proud to partner with Sesame Workshop to provide military families with information and resources that can help them navigate everyday challenges that can be complicated due to military life,” said Patricia Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy. “We want military families to know we understand their unique needs and that they have access to a large community of support.”

During their visit on May 13, Elmo and Rosita spoke with the children of service members from around the National Capital Region who represented all branches of the United States military and were chosen through a casting call put out in preparation for the visit.

Rosita greeted children entering the CDC before going inside to meet Luke, son of Lt. Col. David Ford and Sarah Ford. Luke, 5, was timid at first, hiding behind his mother’s skirt, but when he and Rosita began playing with dinosaurs, he seemed to relax and open up a little more and talked with Rosita about his pets and his family.

While Rosita left to rest for a bit, Elmo visited with Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cody Brewster, Joy Brewster and their children, James, 10, Jacen, 7, Bryen, 3, and 8-month-old Diana.

Jacen Brewster was excited to meet Elmo and talk to him about school, his family and pets.

“My favorite part was building the dinosaur hotel with Elmo,” Jacen said. “We built it a few times.”

On May 15, Elmo and Rosita returned and brought along Big Bird and The Count.

Sesame Street brings sunny days to JBM-HH
Maxwell (7) and Maya (5) Williams, the two oldest children of Navy Lt. Commander Anthony Williams, share a special moment with Big Bird May 15 on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The visit was arranged through a partnership between the Department of Defense and Sesame Workshop to capture images and video of special moments with beloved Sesame Street characters to raise awareness about the Sesame Street for Military Families program. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
“I think having the opportunity for some of the Sesame Street characters to come and support our military families is amazing, especially when you have Elmo whose father was a National Guardsman, and Rosita whose father also served,” said JBM-HH Commander Col. Tasha Lowery, who is a fan of Big Bird.

“And then, you top it off with Big Bird. I just literally played out my childhood memories having Big Bird here,” she said.

Sesame Street for Military Families

For more than 50 years, Sesame Workshop has worked at the intersection of education, media, and research, creating joyful experiences that enrich minds and expand hearts, all in service of empowering each generation to build a better world.

There are more than 3.1 million military family members — 1.6 million military children — who encounter unique and sometime challenging experiences. Recognizing that military children faced unique challenges, in 2006, Sesame Workshop launched Sesame Street for Military Families.

“We recognized the need to focus on the specific needs of young children ages two through eight and their families through all the major milestones of military life, while celebrating their service,” said Powell.

SS4MF is a digital hub for free, research-based bilingual resources that cover topics ranging from deployments, homecoming, relocations, health and wellness, transitions, celebrations and much more.

It partners with the DoD and other national partners, such as Military OneSource, to find innovative ways — toolkits, apps, events, seminars, etc. — to reach military and veteran families and services that support them.

While Sesame Street overall is constantly evolving to meet the changing society, its characters have remained relatively unchanged. The consistency of the characters can be a comfort for military children whose lives include regular moves and uncertainty. Not to mention the fact that Elmo is also a military child — his dad, Louie, is in the National Guard — and can relate to the stress of constant change.

“Military life can present unique challenges for families, from deployment to frequent relocations, along with joyful experiences like celebrating homecomings or family bonding.” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “At Sesame Workshop, we are continuing our decades-long support for military families, with resources aimed to give encouragement and a sense of stability and belonging to military families whose routines and lives are everchanging.”

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