Sesame Street has been known to add in characters that can relate to families day to day. A few months back they celebrated Autism Awareness month by bringing Julia, their muppet with Autism, front and center. Now, Sesame Street Just Introduced A New Character Whose Mom Has An Opioid Addiction and more kids can relate than you’d think.
The new muppet character is named Karli and she is a yellow-haired, green bodied muppet with a mom that has an opioid addiction.
According to a press release:
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is announcing an initiative to support children and families affected by parental addiction. The initiative features Karli, a 6 ½-year-old Sesame Street Muppet whose mom is dealing with addiction. In new videos and other content, favorite Sesame Street characters like Elmo and Abby Cadabby learn what Karli is going through and help their friend to cope.
Creators say they introduced the character after learning that in the United States alone, there are 5.7 million children under age 11, (1 out of every 8 children) living in households with a parent who has a substance abuse disorder. In addition, an average of 130 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses.
Sesame Street created Karli’s character as a way to connect with kids to ensure they know, they are not alone.
“Addiction is often seen as a ‘grown-up’ issue, but it impacts children in ways that aren’t always visible. Having a parent battling addiction can be one of the most isolating and stressful situations young children and their families face,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Street has always been a source of comfort to children during the toughest of times, and our new resources are designed to break down the stigma of parental addiction and help families build hope for the future.” (Source)
When a child has a parent struggling with addiction, it is important for them to know that they are not alone & that adults can help them talk through their feelings. Learn more: https://t.co/q0Dfjd3fpa #SunnyDaysAhead pic.twitter.com/qW1j0ES8wF
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) October 16, 2019
The press release went onto to say:
Karli was first introduced in May 2019 as the face of the Sesame Street in Communities foster care initiative. With today’s announcement, Karli’s storyline expands to include the reason she was placed in foster care: her mother had to go away for treatment, but now she’s in recovery. The new resources, which help children like Karli understand the situation and cope with big feelings, include:
- What is Addiction?: Elmo’s dad, Louie, explains that addiction is a sickness—but not the kind you catch like a cold.
- Lending a Hand: Karli tells Elmo and Chris about her mom’s meetings and the special kids-only meetings where she gets to spend time with other children going through the same thing.
- Monster Music: After her mom returns home from treatment, Karli shares a special moment with Abby Cadabby.
- It’s Not Your Fault: Karli tells Elmo that she used to feel like her mom’s addiction was her fault, but has learned that it was a grown-up problem and that her mom loves her no matter what.
- We’re Special and So Are You: Karli, Elmo, Rosita, and Abby Cadabby share the qualities that make them resilient.
- Live Action Films, including a film about Salia, a thriving 10-year-old who’s “been there” and accompanying tips from Karli and Salia like sharing your feelings with a good friend, breathing deep, and drawing feeling flowers. And, as part of our professional development offerings, a portrait of a provider in the field.
- Activities and articles for parents and providers, including a digital coloring quilt interactive, a new Play, Talk, Imagine! storybook, and helpful answers to children’s difficult questions. The new resources are designed to promote engagement between children and the caring adults in their lives.
I personally think this is great. I’ve always loved that Sesame Street introduces characters with real life issues, that kids can relate to. It makes kids truly feel like these characters are there for them and that they are not alone in the world. You can learn more about Karli on Sesame Street Here.