By Samantha L. Quigley,
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. ó When Rosita, a Sesame
Street Muppet, showed up at John Tyler Elementary School here, she had
a flashlight, batteries, a shiny new radio and a message for about two
dozen of the schoolís pre-kindergarteners: "Be prepared."
Sesame Street Muppets Rosita
and Grover listen to school children in a Washington D.C. area
(Photo by Samantha L.
"Do you know what an emergency is?,"
asked Rosita as the children nodded their heads. "Then you know
that an emergency is when something happens that you didnít
Rosita and another Sesame Street favorite, Grover,
were on hand to help the Sesame Workshop and the Homeland Security
Department launch a new joint program called "Letís Get Ready!
Planning Together for Emergencies."
The kit was created in collaboration with the
departmentís Ready Kidsí campaign.
"This new initiative between Ready Kids and
Sesame Workshop not only empowers parents to prepare for an emergency,
but also helps children to feel stronger, more capable and more ready
to deal with whatever life may bring their way," said Meryl
Chertoff, wife of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
"Itís important that we, as parents and caregivers in the
community, equip our next generation with the tools they need to be
prepared for the unexpected."
And there arenít many better to help children
between the ages of 2 and 5 understand the importance of preparing for
an emergency than Rosita and Grover.
"These are friends they know and trust,"
Chertoff said. "Weíve all seen how important preparedness is in
light of recent natural disasters around the country. Therefore, I
hope you will share with your children and with children in your
community the important information that this kit provides."
Chertoff was appearing on behalf of her husband,
who was in Texas overseeing response to the aftermath of Hurricane
Disasters like Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina made
clear the need to protect the nationís children in these types of
situations, said Gary E. Knell, president and chief executive officer
of Sesame Workshop.
"These are friends they know and trust. We've all seen how
important preparedness is in light of recent natural disasters
around the country."
Wife of Homeland Security Secretary
"We know today that two-thirds of American
families have no emergency plan at all," he said. "We also
know that by remembering a very few important things, we can
substantially improve the chances of protecting our nationís
children from physical or psychological damage emanating from one of
"The Letís Get Ready! Planning Together for
Emergencies" kit builds on an episode of Sesame Street that dealt
with Big Birdís nest being blown away in a hurricane and another
that told kids it was OK to ask about Sept. 11.
"Through Grover and Rosita, our famous
Muppets, weíll teach the basics for kids: memorizing your name,
phone number and address in case you get lost, (and seeking) out a
police officer or trusted adult in an emergency," Knell said.
The bilingual kit includes a DVD featuring songs by
Rosita and Grover as well as activities to help children learn about
getting ready for emergencies with their families. It also includes a
childrenís activity book that has Grover and Sesame Streetís Elmo
teaching kids about important information they need to remember in an
While the kit is for kids, parents arenít left
out. The kit provides them with a magazine that offers easy steps and
resources the whole family can use to create an emergency plan.
About 150,000 of the kits will be distributed by
Sesame Work-shopís partners in the project, some of which include
American Greetings, "Ready Kidsí and the Ad Council.
The materials also are available free on Sesame
Workshopís Web site at http://www.sesameworkshop.org.
The Sesame Workshop kit was launched in September
to coincide with the Homeland Security Departmentís "National
Preparedness Month," which helps to raise awareness and promote
action on emergency preparedness by Americans, businesses, and