The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has approved more funding for crisis counseling programs aimed at children still suffering from fears and other problems stemming from the September 11 terrorist attacks last year. James Donahower reports from New York.
The $500,000 grant will go to educational materials developed by Sesame Workshop, a non-profit organization that developed the educational television program, Sesame Street.
Brad Gair of FEMA said that the involvement of Sesame Workshop will make the grant go a long way. "We've never had anything of this magnitude. We've never had to try to reach out to kids on this scale before. So, we wanted to take some time. We did some fairly traditional things, and now that we've a little time to step back and look at what needs to be done, we realized that you could not find a better organization than Sesame Workshop, who's in the business of helping kids, to get the message out," he said.
For many years, Sesame Workshop has assisted children in communities struck by all kinds of disasters, and not just in the United States. Workshop President Gary Knell says that his organization is active in South America, the Middle East, Russia and China.
He said children wrestling with the trauma of the terrorist attacks in the United States have difficulty expressing their feelings. "It's tough for parents to talk to their kids about, and kids don't find it easy to talk about these issues, either. We hope that in the creation of these materials, both in print and online, accessible through the Internet in three languages - English, Spanish, and Chinese - we'll be able to create some tools for parents, and speak to kids about expressing their feelings about this tough-to-teach topic," he said.
The project came about after Sesame Workshop paired with a medical school, and decided there was a need to counsel children together. The organizations then petitioned FEMA for the grant.