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Sesame Street and Blue Star Families Partner With Google to Help Military Families Stay Connected


Washington, D.C. – Sesame Street and its free social network website for military families, Sesame Street Family Connections, along with Blue Star Families, a nonprofit network of military families, are partnering with Google to make it easy and free for military families to stay in touch with loved ones who won’t be home for the holidays.

Google will provide complimentary $10 call credits to families of U.S. service members registered with Blue Star Families or Sesame Street Family Connections who sign up at between now and December 22nd, 2010. The call credit can be used to make international calls with Google Voice, Google’s communications management service, or from right inside Gmail, Google’s web-based email service, where phone calls to U.S. numbers are free.

The $10 credit will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world. Registration with both Sesame Street Family Connections and Blue Star Families is free.

“We’re pleased to be teaming up with Sesame Street and Blue Star Families to make it easier for military families to stay in touch during the holidays,” said Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager at Google. “We recognize the sacrifices military families make while their loved ones are far away, and we can’t think of a better way to use Google’s communication tools–Google Voice and Gmail calling–to help them stay connected.”

“Hearing the voice of a loved one who has been deployed is one of the most reassuring things to a military family and during the holidays it’s even more crucial that our service members feel connected,” said Gary E. Knell, Sesame Workshop CEO and President. “Sesame Street has a longstanding commitment to our troops and their children and we are proud to have Sesame Street Family Connections partner with Google and Blue Star Families to bring the spirit of the season to military families at home and abroad.”

“The holidays can be difficult for military families and service members, with loved ones deployed or stationed far from home,” said Mark D. Smith, Blue Star Families Executive Director. “Blue Star Families’ mission is to support, connect and empower military families. That’s why we’re excited to team with Google and Sesame Street to ensure that our military families are able to share the holiday season with their loved ones around the world.”

At this time, Google Voice and calling in Gmail are available in the U.S. only.

About Sesame Workshop:
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 140 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more at

Sesame Street Family Connections serves as a private online place where, with the help of Sesame Street friends, children from military families can upload photos, send messages, share artwork, express themselves and stay closely connected with their deployed parent from across the globe.

About Blue Star Families:
Blue Star Families is a national nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services including National Guard and reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life with civilian community and leaders. Members include military spouses and children, parents, service members, veterans and civilians. For more information, please visit

About Google Inc.:
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit


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