It all started with a small group of lovable Muppets like Big Bird and Grover and Cookie Monster, and a simple ABCs and 123s mission: to help all children grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Fifty years later, “Sesame Street” is perhaps the best-known children’s program in the world, an entertainment empire with universal name recognition and powerful merchandising clout that airs in 150 countries. And now, it’s coming to Seattle. As the Sesame Street Road Trip pulls into town July 26-27, the show’s producers will be gathering film for a special to air on HBO in November. That’s just part of planned activities for this stop on the show’s summer tour of major U.S. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that makes “Sesame Street,” also will be highlighting its Sesame Street in Communities program. Muppet Abby Cadabby and her human friend Nina from the show will stop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Friday, July 26, as part of Sesame Workshop’s work with military families, for instance.

The Sesame Street in Communities campaign — which is separate from the PBS show — tackles issues such as foster care, family homelessness, parental incarceration and others that are challenging to families. It offers educators, social workers and parents bilingual multimedia tools with resources that teach early math and literacy skills, encourage healthy habits and deal with challenging issues. “It’s for grownups and children together, and understanding that hard topic from the child’s perspective,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. The visit to Lewis-McChord and Madigan Army Medical Center is part of the Workshop’s Sesame Street for Military Families effort. The program is in its 13th year and focuses on the special challenges that armed forces families face. Abby and Nina will share stories with kids and families at the base during their visit. “We’ve done everything from deployment to homecoming to the difficult topics such as visible and invisible injuries, grief when a parent doesn’t come home, but also other things like relocation, adapting to that, maintaining healthy habits,” Betancourt said. Sesame Street in Communities developed a second team of Muppets for these programs. They’re different than the characters most of us grew up with. Unlike Bert and Ernie or Oscar the Grouch, these Muppets are meant to represent children who are going through difficulties. “We teach a lot about empathy and understanding differences,” Betancourt said. Lily is experiencing family homelessness. Alex’s dad went to prison. Karli is in foster care. Julia, a character who has crossed over into the television show, is autistic. “We also start to look at how do we frame a wonderful new character delivering the child’s perspective,” Betancourt said. Abby, the 4-year-old Muppet fairy introduced to “Sesame Street” in 2006, is also hosting a family festival and stage show at Lincoln Park on Saturday that includes a giant maze, treasure dig, photo opportunities and a cookies-and-milk snack station. That event appears to be sold out.

  • Destigmatize Poverty
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Either way it’s a great way to kick start your morning or end an afternoon craving. As long as you behave with the butter, popcorn is a very healthy snack. Most brands offer 100 calorie packs and it only takes 90 seconds to prepare in the microwave. For low calorie flavor boost, spray popcorn with Pam cooking spray or sprinkle some Molly McButter and, or salt and pepper. Control your calories not just with your food intake, but drinks too. Avoid sugary sodas, Snapple and other high calorie juices and ice teas. Is Smart Water really that smart? Consider alternatives that save you money. Be careful with flavored waters too; they are all very different in term of calories and sugars. They can be expensive and, or unhealthy. With any product, read the label to know what you are drinking before you buy. In 2012 resolve to get in the habit of hydrating with the following low calorie options.

No calories, cleanses your body, satisfies hunger cravings. Tap water is perfectly fine to drink unless your local authorities have advised against it. If you buy bottled water, buy in bulk to get the most savings. Energy drinks are all over the board as far as nutritional content. Read the labels before you buy. With as 0 calories and great flavors, the high potassium level helps keep muscles from cramping during and after exercise. 1 and last 2 days or more. Drink mixes like some flavors from Crystal Light only have 7 calories per serving. You can buy the single packets designed for a bottle of water or buy the larger size and make up a larger batch. The more you buy in bulk the more money you can save. Eating small amounts of snacks throughout the day (as opposed to one or two big meals) helps you in several ways including better weight control, more energy, more stable mood and behavior. A healthy body means fewer trips to the doctor, fewer medications and lower long term risk of health issues; all of which saves you money. Nathan Randall, editor, DailyDollar Newsletter provides free daily advice on money matters plus coupons and discount codes. FYI…you can now access the DailyDollar Newsletter via iTunes podcast, YouTube video, and on Facebook and Twitter too.

led him to attend Cornell University to study agriculture. The active lifestyle of Arthur’s youth has not diminished, however. He continues to live a

It is a tradition in my family that when we get old, we keep driving long past the time when we shouldn’t. This triggers anxious conversations among our progeny about what to do. Who is the right person to have “the talk” with Grandma, or even take her keys away? Aging and the indignities that accompany it will come along for all of us if we are so lucky as to live a long life. Why is it difficult to discuss it candidly and make realistic plans for the phase of life when frailty or illness makes it impossible for us to live independently, safely? In the libraries of both offices of the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, there is one book on the shelf that I wish every adult in Mendocino County would read. It is “Being Mortal,” by Atul Gawande. This book is a loving, realistic and personal reflection on end-of-life issues from the perspective of a physician, son, father and husband. It is not morose or depressing. Gawande is a gifted writer as well as a surgeon.

He draws on personal experiences from his profession, his culture, and his own family to give engaging examples of how people cope with age and illness in both elegant and disastrous ways. I have given this book as a gift to puzzled family members for Christmas, who look at me strangely and ask, “Are you trying to tell me something? At the Cancer Resource Centers, we work with many clients who are dealing with these issues, some of them sooner than they ever thought they would. Gawande discusses the financial burden of healthcare in the last months and years of life, but also its emotional burden. What do we want for those we love? It is a difficult conversation to have because it forces us to confront that we, and our loved ones, will not always be together on the planet. In my mid-fifties, I am fortunate to have both my parents alive and well.

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