Sesame Street, the long-running children’s television program, has always focused on teaching kids and adults the importance of inclusion and kindness.
Now celebrating its unbelievable 49th season, the show continues to find new ways to expand young minds while keeping things fun and entertaining – something any parent of a toddler would certainly say can be a challenge.
Although fan favorites like Elmo and Big Bird have remained a constant, the show has continued to introduce new characters over the years in order to better represent the different lives we all lead.
The newest addition to the neighborhood is Karli, a young muppet currently in foster care.
An average of 443,000 children are living in foster care on any given day, many often spending nearly two years or more in the system before finding a permanent living situation.
May is National Foster Care Month, and while the show has often shed a light on different family situations, Karli represents Sesame Street’s first character living with a foster family.
The furry, yellow Muppet tells her friend Elmo that she lives with her “for-now” parents.
“My mom can’t be with me right now, even though she loves me very much. But then I came here, to stay with my foster parents, and they gave me a big hug and that made my heart feel a little bigger.”
Even when hearts feel like they’re breaking, they can still grow bigger and bigger with more love and care. Karli, a young Muppet in foster care, and her friend @Elmo look at what fills up their hearts in this new video on @SesameCommunity. #SesameCommunity pic.twitter.com/GS4DFtd6F6
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) May 20, 2019
While issues such as this can often be difficult to discuss with your kids, Sesame Street has had decades of experience teaching inclusivity and understanding to our youngest minds as well as those who help raise them.
Last year, the gang welcomed Lily, a 7-year-old homeless muppet that highlighted an issue impacting nearly 2.5 million children in the United States alone.
Julia, a fun-loving 4-year-old muppet with autism joined the cast back in 2017. Earlier this year, the show introduced her family to viewers in an attempt to further highlight that no matter what makes you different, there are many things that make us all the same.
In a previous statement, Sherrie Westin, president of global impact at Sesame Workshop, said that’s really the key.
“Every family faces challenges of some sort, which is why we are focusing on what all families have in common. In a family, everyone has different roles, challenges, and strengths, and everyone can learn from one another.”