Lending a Hand
The newest character on Sesame Street, Karli, a green-haired muppet voiced by Haley Jenkins, is helping the show tackle a topic that it hasn't quite touched on before: the opioid crisis. Karli was added to the host of characters earlier this year after moving in with a foster family, and now her storyline is about to take an even more serious turn. In a video clip shared to the Sesame Street in Communities YouTube channel on Oct. 9, Karli and Chris (Chris Knowings) take turns explaining to Elmo why Karli's mom is in a meeting to talk about "grown-up problems."
"Karli's mom has been having a hard time," Chris says. "So in order to help her get better, she goes to a meeting with her group. They all sit in a circle." When Elmo misinterprets what kind of circle Chris is referring to, Karli interjects. "She goes every day so that she stays healthy," she says. "My mom needs help learning to take better care of herself, so she talks to people with the same problem."
Karli reveals later on in the video that she's also in a support group that's just for kids whose parents are struggling with addiction, which might be how she's introduced to Salia, another new character whose parents are currently in recovery. Salia introduces herself in a second clip, where the 10-year-old reveals that she was sent to live with her grandparents as a toddler while both of her parents sought help. "They were gone for 60 days, but it felt like 60 years," she says.
Later on, we're introduced to Salia's mom and dad, when her mom further explains: "We had to leave for 60 days to go get help because we wanted you to have a good life. But first we had to take care of ourselves so that we could do that." See more clips of Karli and Salia ahead.