How Sesame Street Is Raising Social Awareness in Kids One Character at a Time

No wonder studies say young kids reap rewards from watching the show.
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ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
May 2019
sesame street characters hugging, sesame street launches initiatives to support foster children
Photo: Sesame Street

Sesame Street isn’t your average preschool program. It’s constantly pushing the boundaries to create diverse storylines and messages. Karli the Muppet is part of its latest initiative to help support and teach kids about kids in foster care.

The series recently introduced Karli, a young Muppet who’s in foster care with her “for now” parents, Dalia and Clem. Karli is part of the larger Sesame Street in Communities program, which provides free resources for community providers and caregivers on a range of topics, including tough issues like family homelessness and trauma. The resources also offers support for kids as they navigate foster care, and supplies simple, approachable tools to help kids cope and feel safe in their new environment.

Kids can learn more about Karli in new videos such as “You Belong,” where the Muppet worries she won’t have a place at the table at the pizza party in her new foster home. Another clip, “A Heart Can Grow,” allows viewers to watch Karli grapple with a broken heart, while also healing by feeling the love of those around her.

Karli is one of many empowering characters to join the Muppets. In 2015, Sesame Street introduced the show’s first character with Autism and has continued to build on that storyline. And just this year, viewers saw one of the show’s familiar faces, Lily, grapple with her family’s homelsslness. In addition to covering topics typically tough for young kids to grasp, studies have also shown the series helps improve performance for kids in school and later in life. With 50 years of programming under its belt, the preschool series is in a league of its own.

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