By David Bois | Thursday, June 3, 2010 3:11 PM ET
It's not easy for the poor lumbering dude to find a tux that fits, so when Snuffy shows up, you just know that it's a big deal.
Oh, sure, they may look like they're fashioned from craft fur and felt and googly eyes. But they're real. They're alive, and they're funny, compassionate and ever friends-in-need. It's hard to believe that Jim Henson has been gone for 20 years, but his beloved Muppets will continue to endure as friendly guides and companions to generations of youngsters, always ready to celebrate the good times, but just as importantly, equally available to help children understand and navigate their early lives when times of difficulty and sadness creep in.
Several themed initiatives have been designed by Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street and allied content), each geared to development of understanding and skills around such topics as healthy eating, nurturing curiosity and creativity and emotional well-being. One of the more recent and truly beneficial of these initiatives has been the Talk, Listen, and Connect outreach program that aims to help children of members of the military adjust to life and the challenges that arise during and even after their parent's deployment.
At their eighth annual benefit dinner, Sesame Workshop paid special tribute to members of the military and their families for their service, courage and sacrifice with a gala event co-hosted by ABC News' Robin Roberts and the irrepressible Elmo, featuring a musical performance by John Legend and, also according to reports, a very rare public appearance by none other than Snuffleupagus.
Special honorees of the evening's events were Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden. America's second couple was recognized for years of compassion, outreach and efforts on behalf of military families, a dedication to support of our service members that nicely parallels the purpose of Sesame Workshop's Talk, Listen, and Connect initiative.
In a press release reviewing the June 2 event, Gary E. Knell, Sesame Workshop's president and CEO, reflects on his organization's focus on the well-being of the children of our troops, as well as on the Biden family's dedication to their needs:
"Sesame Workshop has always been at the forefront of creating resources for families with young children to help address some of life’s most difficult issues. This year's benefit is a celebration of these efforts for military families around the world," said Knell, who added "Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden are role models for military families, true global leaders, and friends of Sesame Workshop in support of its mission to help children reach their highest potential."
Puppeteer Kevin Clash poses with Elmo at Sesame Workshop's 8th Annual Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 2, 2010 in New York City.
LEFT: Musician John Legend and model Christine Teigen attend Sesame Workshop's 8th Annual Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 2, 2010 in New York City.
RIGHT: Journalist Robin Roberts attends Sesame Workshop's 8th Annual Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 2, 2010 in New York City.
Vice President Joe Biden (Center) and Dr. Jill Biden attend Sesame Workshop's 8th Annual Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 2, 2010 in New York City.