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PHOTO CAPTION:  Children pose in front of a Sesame Street poster before the first show begins. . The live Sesame Street show was sponsored by USO and FMWR, and held at the Collier Community Fitness Center, Oct. 24. Approximately 800 Area II family members attended the two performances. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jung Jihoon).

October 29, 2013
By Cpl. Jung Jihoon (IMCOM)

YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- The Sesame Street-USO Experience for Military Families visited U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan at the Collier Community Fitness Center, Oct. 24.
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," said Nicole McClendon, the USO tour manager for the Sesame Street-USO experience for military families. "Since the beginning of the tour, we have been focusing on how to show the appreciation that military families deserve. Our way to do so was to help military children understand and cope with matters such as deployment."
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," McClendon 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."
Emphasizing the importance of adjusting to change and the power of friendship, this 30-minute character performance lets military children know they are not alone and provides special giveaways and outreach materials to military families who attend.
"The episode of Katie was great," said Sgt. Aaron Brown, who brought his daughter to the show. "All service members who are deployed abroad know how much their children have trouble with constant moving. This show lets the military children think about how they can deal with problems they are going through."
The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families made its debut in July 2008 to help families deal with the challenges of deployment and homecomings. The tour has taken its message to more than 368,000 troops and military families and performed more than 600 shows on military installations. Additionally, the tour has logged more than 122,000 miles and distributed more than 2 million giveaways to audience members.