Sesame Street addresses addiction. Image: SESAME WORKSHOP By Siobhan Neela-Stock2019-10-10 16:04:30 UTC Children's shows tend to shy away from adult t
Education students training
Sesame Street addresses addiction.
Image: SESAME WORKSHOP
By Siobhan Neela-Stock2019-10-10 16:04:30 UTC
Children’s shows tend to shy away from adult topics. But Sesame Street has a long history of rebelling against that norm. This time, they’re introducing the subject of parental addiction through a Muppet named Karli.
In May 2019, Sesame Street presented Karli, the green Muppet with yellow hair, to viewers through the Sesame Street in Communities website. Digital viewers already know Karli is in foster care. But now Karli reveals why — her mother is seeking help for her opioid addiction. Anyone can watch Karli grapple with her mother’s addiction, and see her Muppet friends support her.
The Sesame Street in Communities website, which launched in 2015, has free resources in English and Spanish, including videos and downloadable coloring pages, for families and providers to teach children about difficult topics in a sensitive way.
“Through Sesame Street in Communities, we work with a wide range of partners serving vulnerable families, and we had heard from our partners that there were few resources for young children affected by parental addiction,” a spokesperson for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit education organization behind Sesame Street, wrote in an email.
The opioid crisis is hitting both urban and rural communities in the U.S. hard — with 130 Americans dying every day from an opioid overdose, according to the CDC.
“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 for Sesame Workshop, in a press release.
Unfortunately, America’s opioid crisis isn’t going away anytime soon. But Sesame Street is providing kids with the tools to understand and talk about this epidemic.