Sesame Street’s New Initiative Reaches out to Kids in Foster Care

Fostering a sense of belonging

May 30, 2019

(Courtesy of Sesame Workshop / Zach Hyman)

One of the most iconic children’s programs in history has been educating and celebrating cultural diversity for 50 years, helping to raise children’s self-esteem, prepare low-income youngsters for school, and develop a thirst for learning.

Now, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is focusing on another way bridge the gap for disadvantaged kids.

Their new project will offer support to children, foster parents, and those who serve foster families as they navigate embracing new family members. In true Sesame Street spirit, their initiative begins with the lovable Karli, a young muppet in foster care and her foster parents, Dalia and Clem.

Included in the project, foster parents can access various videos showing Karli’s transition into her new home as she worries she won’t fit in, a storybook helping children learn how to label emotions and address them in a healthy way, digital interactives that allow children to express themselves through art, and more.

The project shines a light on the experiences and challenges foster children face--including moving from home to home, getting separated from their birth parents, attending new schools, etc.--while also helping them cope with an often difficult situation.

This project is part of Sesame Street in Communities, which provides caregivers and community members with various resources to support and address trauma like homelessness and other issues. They aim to ease the transition into foster care and create a supportive and nurturing channel, where children feel safe.

With the growing need for foster parents, Sesame Workshop left nothing to chance and partnered with foster care experts and caretakers on how to create materials that would best benefit foster parents and help them tenderly care for those suffering from the lasting effects of trauma.

“Fostering a child takes patience, resilience, and sacrifice, and we know that caring adults hold the power to buffer the effects of traumatic experiences on young children,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of US Social Impact at Sesame Workshop.

“We want foster parents and providers to hear that what they do matters—they have the enormous job of building and rebuilding family structures and children’s sense of safety. By giving the adults in children’s lives the tools they need—with help from the Sesame Street Muppets—we can help both grownups and children feel seen and heard and give them a sense of hope for the future.”

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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