New 'Sesame Street' Muppet can be a lifeline for kids with parents trapped by addiction Children are hidden victims in the opioid epidemic. People with addiction may take drugs or drink alcohol to stop feeling bad for a little while. Sesame Street is taking a new step to help American kids navigate the thornier parts of life in America: the opioids crisis. Then they just don’t act like themselves. “Hi, it’s me, Karli. Skip menus The show is helping children of addicted parents feel supported and loved. “Even a parent at their most vulnerable – at the worst of their struggle – can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose,” Einhorn said. Ten-year-old Salia Woodbury, whose parents are in recovery, with the Sesame Street character Karli. Despite the subject, the mood was light in the room, largely thanks to Jenkins’ calm and empathic manner. A recent episode did just that with the opioid epidemic by introducing a character whose mother struggles with addiction. But now I’ve met so many other kids like us. Sesame Street has historically tackled tough topics in a way kids can understand and feel supported. This summer in Manhattan, puppeteers, producers and show creators crammed into a small studio in the not-for-profit organization’s Manhattan headquarters to tape some of the upcoming segments on addiction. On October 9, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the show, announced new educational resources for parents and providers to support children who are coping with their parents’ problematic drug use. “For them to see Karli and learn that it’s not their fault and this stuff is hard to talk about and it’s OK to have these feelings, that’s important. Sesame Workshop, the group behind Sesame Street, made the announcement Wednesday. The show broached the subject of death in 1982, after one of its stars, Mr Hooper, passed away. “My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness,” said 10-year-old Salia Woodbury. Sesame Workshop is exploring the backstory of Karli, a bright green, yellow-haired friend of Elmo’s whose mother is battling addiction. It’s also a chance to model to adults a way to explain what they’re going through to kids and to offer simple strategies to cope. They will say that addiction is a disease, but it’s not one you can catch and when a parent has an addiction it’s never the child’s fault. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. S esame Street, the long-running children’s television show, has taken on issues ranging from exercise to incarceration. Creators prefer “addiction” to “substance abuse” and “recovery” to “sobriety” because those terms are clearer to children. Like any sickness, people need treatment to get better. The bright green, They offer ways to feel better, including art and breathing exercises. “Yeah, a sickness that makes people feel like they have to take drugs or drink alcohol to feel OK. My mom was having a hard time with addiction and I felt like my family was the only one going through it. Creators introduce bright-green Karli: ‘Nothing else out there addresses substance abuse for young kids from their perspective’, Last modified on Thu 10 Oct 2019 13.30 EDT. HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. The initiative is part of Sesame Street in Communities resources, which offer online child activities and assistance to parents. And that there’s hope.”. America’s opioid crisis has grown steadily worse in recent years. Sesame Street is here for you with activities and tips for the challenges and joys along the way. Sesame Street is tackling addiction with one of its latest segments. The online-only segments with Karli and Salia are augmented with ones that feature Elmo’s dad, Louie, explaining that addiction is a sickness, and Karli telling Elmo and Chris about her mom’s special adult meetings and her own kids’ ones. Then it was revealed her mother is an addict. Karli, voiced and manipulated by the puppeteer Haley Jenkins, was joined by a young girl whose parents are in recovery. Sesame Street's newest Muppet, Karli, is helping kids affected by parental addiction feel less alone. How Sesame Street Characters Will Handle the Subject of Addiction Karli will share the story about her mom with other Muppets, who will explain basic facts about addiction. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. Sesame Workshop is exploring the backstory of Karli, a bright green, yellow-haired friend of Elmo’s whose mother is battling addiction. The Washington Post’s headline for the story about Karli was: “A ‘Sesame Street’ character’s mom has an addiction… The drug problem in the United States has reached such epidemic levels that even the children’s educational program Sesame Street is updating a character to introduce her family’s struggles with addiction. Sesame Workshop announced on Wednesday an effort to support children and families affected by addiction. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. In the segment, Karli and Salia each hold up hand-drawn pictures of flowers, with multiple petals representing “big feelings” – like anger, sadness and happiness. Addiction makes people feel that they need drugs or alcohol to feel okay. “Sesame Street ” is tackling yet another difficult topic: addiction. Sesame Street/Youtube Meet Karli and Salia, a young muppet and 10-year-old girl whose lives have been directly impacted by addiction For any parent who has experience with addiction – whether personally or via a close friend or loved one – broaching the topic with your children can be quite difficult. In new videos, "Sesame Street" favorites like Rosita and Abby Cadabby learn that Karli's mother is struggling with a drug addiction and try to help the young Karli cope. The children’s therapist Jerry Moe, the national director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Children’s Program, helped craft the segments and resources, saying he was grateful to help since there has been a paucity of resources for the preschool age-group. Jerry Moe, the Executive Director of the National Children's Program for Hazelden Betty Ford collaborated with Sesame Street on Karli's storyline and brought in resources to help kids and family heal from the hurt of addiction. Bravo, Sesame Street – your character with autism will erode ignorance | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett. Jaana, standing left, and Sam Woodbury, from Irvine, California, and their daughters Salia, 10, seated right, and Kya, 6, with Karli and the puppeteer Haley Jenkins in New York. “These boys and girls are the first to get hurt and, unfortunately, the last to get help,” he said. Production members clap for Salia Woodbury, left, on the set with Karli and Jenkins. Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop P arents and kids who are fans of “Sesame Street” will now see a new storyline for one the show’s muppets: one of parental addiction. Salia Woodbury, 10, left, from Irvine, Calif., on the set with ‘Sesame Street’ muppet Karli and puppeteer Haley Jenkins during a taping about parental addiction in New York. “And it’s OK to open up to people about our feelings.”. “There’s nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective,” said Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with Sesame Workshop. “This is weird, but trust me, it looks good.”. Substance and prescription abuse has claimed the lives of prominent entertainment figures recently as well, including the rappers Mac Miller and Lil Peep. She will teach you and your children about how to contend with parental addiction. NEW YORK — "Sesame Street" is taking a new step to try to help kids navigate life in America — it's tackling the opioid crisis. "Sesame Street" creators said they turned to the issue of addiction since data shows 5.7 million children under age 11 live in households with a parent with substance use disorder. The show has also touched on racism and adoption and introduced a muppet on the autistic spectrum during its 50-year run. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. Ten-year-old Salia Woodbury, whose parents are in recovery, poses with "Sesame Street" character Karli. NEW YORK — “ Sesame Street ” is taking a new step to try to help kids navigate life in America — it’s tackling the opioid crisis. I’m here with my friend Salia. October 9, 2019 Sesame Street is tackling addiction with one of its latest segments. “Sesame Street” is tackling the opioid crisis with the help of Karli, a muppet who recently revealed her mother is battling an addiction to the deadly drugs. The story of Karli, Sesame Street’s new muppet character, in foster care, because her mother has a prescription opioid addiction, is sadly a familiar one on the real-life streets of Washington state. “I know it feels awkward because people don’t normally have conversations standing shoulder-to-shoulder,” she told Salia between takes. Learning about Addiction the Sesame Street Way . How Sesame Workshop helps kids affected by the opioid crisis The nonprofit behind ‘Sesame Street’ has a team focused on supporting kids in times of trauma—because not every day is sunny. Sesame Street creators said they turned to the issue of addiction since data shows 5.7m children under the age of 11 live in households with a parent with substance use disorder. Sesame Workshop, the production organization behind the beloved “Sesame Street” show, has created a series of videos that includes 6-year-old Karli talking to her friends about her mom’s struggle with drug addiction. The introduction of her backstory follows other attempts by entertainment companies to explore the issues of addiction, including The Connors on ABC and Euphoria on HBO. Sesame Street has a long history of masterfully tackling sensitive issues. The segment leans on carefully considered language. Both of our parents have had the same problem – addiction,” Karli told the camera. Bebeto Matthews/AP Salia Woodbury, 10, left, from Irvine, Calif., on the set with "Sesame Street" muppet Karli and puppeteer Haley Jenkins during a taping about parental addiction in New York. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. Resources and support for families struggling with parental addiction. ‘Sesame Street’ Tackles the Subject of Addiction “Sesame Street” introduces the topic of addiction to young viewers with the bright green muppet character Karli. “The initiative features Karli, a 6½-year-old Sesame Street Muppet whose mom is dealing with … A ‘Sesame Street’ character’s mom has an addiction. Sesame Street has started tackling the issue of drug addiction seen in a recent segment with Elmo and his friend Karli.. Sesame Street is addressing addiction with its newest Muppet, Karli. Experts say that’s a valuable lesson. “Right, we’re not alone,” Salia responded. Karli will melt your heart. The Department of Health and Human Services reported 10.3 million people misused opioid prescriptions last year, and an average of 130 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. 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