New “Sesame Street” Character Has a Mom Battling Addiction


NEW YORK (AP) — “Sesame Street” is taking a new step to attempt to assist little ones navigate life in America — it is tackling the opioid crisis.

Sesame Workshop is exploring the backstory of Karli, a vibrant green, yellow-haired buddy of Elmo’s whose mother is battling addiction. The initiative is element of the Sesame Street in Communities sources obtainable on the internet.

“Sesame Street” creators stated they turned to the problem of addiction given that information shows five.7 million kids beneath age 11 reside in households with a parent with substance use disorder.

practically nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young
little ones from their point of view,” stated Kama Einhorn, a senior content material
manager with Sesame Workshop. It is also a likelihood to model to adults a
way to clarify what they’re going via to little ones and to present uncomplicated
tactics to cope.

“Even a parent at their most vulnerable — at
the worst of their struggle — can take 1 issue away when they watch it
with their little ones, then that serves the objective,” Einhorn stated.

This summer season in Manhattan, The Related Press looked on as puppeteers, producers and show creators crammed into a smaller studio in the nonprofit’s Manhattan headquarters to tape some of the upcoming segments.

Karli, voiced and manipulated by puppeteer Haley Jenkins, was joined
by a young girl — 10-year-old Salia Woodbury, whose parents are in

“Hi, it is me, Karli. I’m right here with my buddy Salia. Each
of our parents have had the similar difficulty — addiction,” Karli told the

“My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness,” Salia stated.

“Yeah, a sickness that tends to make people today really feel like they have to take drugs or drink alcohol to really feel OK. My mom was getting a difficult time with addiction and I felt like my household was the only 1 going via it. But now I’ve met so numerous other little ones like us. It tends to make me really feel like we’re not alone,” the puppet continued.

“Right, we’re not alone,” Salia responded. “And it is OK to open up to people today about our feelings.”

In the segment, Karli and Salia each and every hold up hand-drawn images of flowers, with a number of petals representing “big feelings” — like anger, sadness and happiness. They present strategies to really feel far better, which includes art and breathing workouts.

The segment leans on cautiously viewed as language. Creators choose “addiction” to “substance abuse” and “recovery” to “sobriety” since these terms are clearer to kids. Regardless of the topic, the mood was light in the space, largely thanks to Jenkins’ calm and empathic manner.

“I know it feels awkward since people today do not usually have conversations standing shoulder-to-shoulder,” she told Salia amongst requires. “This is weird, but trust me, it appears great.”

Sesame Street Tackles Hard Scenarios

Karli had currently been introduced as a puppet in foster care earlier this year but viewers now will comprehend why her mother had to go away for a although. The introduction of her backstory follows other attempts by entertainment firms to discover the problems of addiction, which includes “The Connors” on ABC and “Euphoria” on HBO.

The on the internet-only segments with Karli and Salia are augmented with ones that function Elmo’s dad, Louie, explaining that addiction is a sickness , and Karli telling Elmo and Chris about her mom’s particular adult meetings and her personal kids’ ones.

Karli also opens up
about her household to Abby Cadabby in yet another segment, and Karli tells
Elmo about how she mistakenly employed to really feel like her mom’s addiction was
her fault. Karli, Elmo, Rosita and Abby Cadabby also sing “We’re Unique and So Are You.” Viewers are referred to no cost on the internet sources in each English and Spanish that involve videos, storybooks, digital interactives and games.

therapist Jerry Moe, the national director of the Hazelden Betty Ford
Children’s Plan, helped craft the segments and sources, saying he
was grateful to assist given that there’s been a paucity of sources for the
preschool age-group.

“These boys and girls are the 1st to get
hurt and, regrettably, the final to get assist,” he stated. “For them to
see Karli and study that it is not their fault and this stuff is difficult to
speak about and it is OK to have these feelings, that is significant. And
that there’s hope.”

“Sesame Street,” which started airing in 1969, has a extended history of tackling topical problems in a way approachable to kids. It is had puppets with HIV, jailed parents and autism, explored homelessness, women’s rights and even girls singing about loving their hair.

“For every thing we’ve carried out — from military households to homelessness —
it is all about how to make kids no cost to speak and to give parents
the tools to do just that. They have a tendency to steer clear of it and it is what they need to have
additional than something,” stated Sherrie Westin, president of worldwide effect
and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop.

Salia’s parents — Sam and
Jaana Woodbury, who are raising 4 girls in Orange County, California —
stated they welcomed the show’s interest on opioid and alcohol
addiction. They’ve been in recovery for about eight years.

“When I
was going via addiction, I felt incredibly alone and isolated. I
didn’t have any connection to the outdoors globe,” stated Jaana Woodbury.
“I feel it is remarkable that ‘Sesame Street’ is utilizing their platform to
share sources to assist other females and fathers.”

At the finish of
the taped segment with Karli and Salia, the puppet turns to the girl.
“I’m so glad we’re pals, Salia,” Karli stated.

“Me, also, Karli,” Salia responds.

“Can I have a hug?” Karli asks.

“OK,” says her buddy.

And they do.


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