A SAFE SPACE

July 20, 2018 at 4:30 am

From natural disasters to school shootings, nearly half of all kids in America are affected by some form of trauma. Now, Elmo and his Sesame Street pals are being deployed in an effort to help kids cope.

Aired on July 19, 2018.

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>>> SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, CHILDREN
FLEEING WAR ZONES, CHILDREN
TRAPPED IN CAVES.
TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES COME FROM
EXTERNAL INFLUENCES AND, OF
COURSE, DURING EVERYDAY LIFE,
ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE CHILDREN
WHO'VE EXPERIENCED THEM
FIRSTHAND.
WITH THAT IN MIND THE SESAME
WORKSHOP IS HERE TO HELP.
THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
BEHIND THE ICONIC SHOW "SESAME
STREET" HAS CREATED NEW CONTENT
FEATURING YOUR CHILD'S FAVORITE
CHARACTERS TO HELP THEM COPE
WITH COMPLEX EMOTIONS AND
TRAUMATIC EVENTS.
THE HOPE, TO HELP COMMUNITY
SERVICE PROVIDERS, PARENTS AND
CAREGIVERS SUPPORT DURING THOSE
TROUBLING TIMES.
HE'S ONE OF THE VIDEOS.
>> YOU CAN COME IN IF YOU WANT
TO.
COME ON.
LET'S SIT DOWN.
SEE, ISN'T IT NICE AND COZY?
BOY, ELMO'S FEELING A LITTLE
SCARED AND WORRIED BEFORE.
SO ELMO MADE THIS FORT WITH SOME
BLANKETS AND SOFT PILLOWS.
AND IT MADE ELMO FEEL SAFE.
>> JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT
ALL IS OUR FRIEND DR.
JEANNETTE BETTENCOURT.
IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH
US.
>> IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE BACK.
>> LET ME START OFF WITH
SOMETHING YOU AND I WERE JUST
TALKING ABOUT A MOMENT AGO.
AS SOMEBODY WHOSE CHILDREN
ENJOYED "SESAME STREET," LEARNED
FROM "SESAME STREET," AND NOW MY
GRANDCHILDREN ARE DOING THAT.
YOU HAVE A CERTAIN IMAGE OF THE
CHARACTERS AND THEM PROVIDING
YOU WITH JOY AND CONSOLATION,
AND A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF
ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT.
YOU WOULDN'T INITIALLY, I THINK,
ASSOCIATE "SESAME STREET" WITH
THE TYPES OF POST-TRAUMATIC
STRESS DISORDERS WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT HERE.
IS IT THEN THAT "SESAME
STREET" HAS SAID WE HAVE A ROLE
TO PLAY HERE?
>> WHAT'S HAPPENED IS WE DO HAVE
A HISTORY OF ADDRESSING SOME
DIFFICULT TOPICS, EVEN IN OUR
PROGRAMMING, STARTING, IF YOU'LL
RECALL, WITH MR. HOOPER'S DEATH.
AND HOW TO COPE.
WE DECIDED AT THAT TIME TO
TACKLE THAT.
>> THAT GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION
AT THAT TIME.
>> IT DID.
IT WAS SO UNIQUE BECAUSE VERY
FEW SOURCES OR WAYS TO TALK
ABOUT GRIEF WERE OUT THERE,
ESPECIALLY FOR YOUNG CHILDREN,
AND FROM A CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE,
PARTICULARLY IN THAT CASE FROM
BIG BIRD.
WE'VE ALREADY ADDRESSED
THROUGHOUT OUR PROGRAMMING A
RESPONSE TO HURRICANES WHEN
HURRICANE KATRINA HAPPENED.
THERE WAS A WHOLE SERIES OF
EPISODES ADDRESSING THE LOSS OF
BIG BIRD'S NEST.
BUT THEN AS YOU SAID, JACK, WHAT
WE FOUND OUT IS THAT THERE'S
SUCH POWER IN USING OUR MUPPETS
TO TACKLE THESE DIFFICULT
TOPICS.
ALL THROUGHOUT HAS BEEN OUR
HISTORY OF FAMILY ENGAGEMENT.
THIS MODEL OF "SESAME STREET" IN
COMMUNITIES IS THAT, BRINGING
RESOURCES DIRECTLY INTO
COMMUNITIES WITH PROVIDERS,
THOSE THAT ARE SERVICING YOUNG
CHILDREN, AND GIVING THEM
RESOURCES TO TACKLE DIFFICULT
TOPICS.
>> WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN HEARING
FROM THOSE GROUPS?
>> WHAT IS AN INCREDIBLE
RESPONSE IS, I THINK THE WAY WE
STARTED IN OUR DISCUSSION.
THE FACT THAT SESAME IS DOING
THIS, AND IT'S SO USEFUL, BOTH
FROM THE CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE,
BUT USING THE COMFORT AND THE
POWER AND THE CONNECTION OF
THESE WONDERFUL CHARACTERS.
IT OPENS THE DIFFICULTY IN
DISCUSSIONS AROUND THESE TOPICS.
IT MODELS STRATEGIES THAT ARE
EASY TO USE IN EVERYDAY MOMENTS.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, FOR MANY
OF THE PROVIDERS OR AN
ORGANIZATION USING THESE
RESOURCES, IT'S A WAY TO CONNECT
SO EASILY WITH FAMILIES THAT ARE
EXPERIENCING QUITE A BIT OF
HARDSHIP.
>> HAVE YOU FOUND YOU'RE STILL
ABLE TO KEEP THE COMFORT LEVEL
THAT WE HAVE, WE ALL HAVE, WITH
THESE CHARACTERS AND FIGURES AND
YET STILL LET THEM ENGAGE, AND
INVEST THEMSELVES, REALLY, THE
CHARACTERS?
INVEST THEMSELVES IN THESE VERY
DIFFICULT SITUATIONS.
>> I THINK THE WONDERFUL
ADVANTAGE THAT WE HAVE IS THAT
WE'RE ABLE TO CONNECT WITH
GROWNUPS AND CHILDREN ALIKE AT
THE SAME TIME.
AND THAT'S BECAUSE OF THE
HISTORY OF "SESAME STREET,"
WE'LL BE CELEBRATING OUR 50th
ANNIVERSARY NEXT YEAR.
AND SO NOW WE'RE REACHING
GRANDPARENTS, PARENTS WHO HAVE
CHILDREN WHO GREW UP ON "SESAME
STREET," AND CHILDREN
THEMSELVES.
SO THAT ABILITY OF BEING ABLE TO
CONNECT AND HAVE THAT TRUST
INSTANTLY ALLOWS YOU TO TALK
ABOUT THESE VERY HARD TOPICS.
BUT ALSO FROM A POSITIVE
PERSPECTIVE.
>> LET ME ASK YOU ONE QUESTION
ABOUT AN AREA THAT WE SEE IN OUR
HEADLINES NOW, TALKING ABOUT THE
BORDER CROSSINGS AND THE
DIFFICULTIES WITH PARENTS AND
BEING SEPARATED FROM THEIR
CHILDREN.
AND I ASK THIS NOT IN A
POLITICAL SENSE.
I'M TALKING IN TERMS OF A
SOCIETAL, CULTURAL, EMOTIONAL
ISSUE.
NOW, CLEARLY "SESAME STREET" IS
NOT THERE.
BUT ARE THERE LESSONS, DO YOU
THINK, COMING FROM THIS CONTENT,
THIS PROGRAMMING THAT YOU'RE
PUTTING TOGETHER THAT COULD BE
HELPFUL IN THOSE SITUATIONS TOO?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
AND, IN FACT, WE ARE WORKING
WITH CERTAIN ORGANIZATIONS TO
USE THESE RESOURCES THAT WE'RE
SPEAKING ABOUT TO BE ABLE TO
INTEGRATE, AGAIN FOR THESE
SITUATIONS, AS WELL AS ANY TIME
THAT CHILDREN ARE SEPARATED FROM
THEIR PARENTS OR CAREGIVERS IN
CRISIS, AND WE KNOW THAT THE
KIND OF SEPARATION REALLY CAUSES
A VERY SIGNIFICANT, TRAUMATIC
EFFECT, ESPECIALLY ON YOUNGER
CHILDREN.
BECAUSE WHO'S YOUR ROCK AND
WHO'S YOUR STABLE POINT?
IT'S THE PARENT AND CAREGIVER.
THAT'S WHO PROVIDES SAFETY, WHO
PROVIDES A SENSE OF COMFORT.
AND SO THROUGH THESE RESOURCES,
WHAT HAPPENS IS WE PROVIDE
STRATEGIES, WHETHER IT IS
THROUGH PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS
DIRECTLY, OR THE PROVIDERS,
PROVIDING SOME LEVEL OF SERVICE
TO YOUNG CHILDREN WHO ARE
SEPARATED, ON WAYS TO COPE WITH
THAT ANXIETY, THAT FEAR.
WE HEARD ELMO EXPRESS HIS FEAR
AND WHAT HE WAS LOOKING FOR WAS
FOR A COMFORTABLE AND SAFE
SPACE.
SO THESE RESOURCES ARE MODELING
THAT AS WELL.
>> WELL, AS YOU SAID, THOSE OF
US WHO HAD OUR CHILDREN GROW UP
ON SESAME, NOW OUR GRANDCHILDREN
GROWING UP ON SESAME, AND ONE OF
THE THINGS WE'VE LEARNED IS THAT
WE, THE ADULTS, CAN SO VERY
OFTEN LEARN THE LESSONS THAT ARE
CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN ARE
LEARNING AT THE SAME TIME.
AND I THINK THIS IS A MARVELOUS
ILLUSTRATION OF THIS.
JEANNETTE, GREAT PROGRAM, NOT
SURPRISING AT ALL COMING FROM
"SESAME STREET."
THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME WITH
US.
>> IT'S A PLEASURE, THANK YOU.
>> A REMINDER FOR YOU, FOR MORE
INFORMATION, VISIT OUR WEBSITE

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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