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New ‘Sesame Street’ initiative aims to help kids with incarcerated parents

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With so many children in the United States living with a parent who is incarcerated, the beloved children’s show “Sesame Street” took it upon themselves to help make their lives just a bit easier.

The show’s “Sesame Workshop,” which has created videos to help children deal with divorce and parents who are deployed in the military, recently developed the “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” initiative to help kids who have parents in prison as well as give these families with tips on how to talk to their children about this issue. The online tool kit is aimed toward families with children aged three to eight.

“Sesame Street” even created a new character for the “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” tool kit – Alex, a muppet that has a father in jail. Alex will not become a part of the regular show cast, however.

“I just miss him so much,” Alex, who has blue hair, a green nose and wears a hoodie, tells a friend in the video. “I usually don’t want people to know about my Dad.”

The video also attempts to combat feelings of shame and sadness that children with incarcerated parents tend to have.

“Coming from a Muppet, it’s almost another child telling their story to the children,” Jeanette Betancourt, vice president of outreach and educational practices at the Sesame Workshop, told USA Today.

The Incarceration initiative videos are available in English and Spanish on the new ‘Sesame Street in Communities’ YouTube channel.

According to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one in twenty-eight children in the U.S. have a parent in jail – giving the U.S. the highest incarceration rate in the world.


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