'Sesame Street' is introducing its first homeless muppet
A 7-year-old bright pink Muppet named Lily is 'Sesame Street's' first homeless Muppet
Since 2011, Sesame Street fans have known Lily experienced hunger due to her family's lack of consistent access to food. Now Sesame Street has developed her story to include that she's also experiencing homelessness. The homelessness initiative launched today, Wednesday, as part of Sesame Workshop's (Sesame Street's parent company) ‘Sesame Street in Communities’ program.
According to Sherrie Westin, the president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, Lily has always been a part of the food insecurity initiative, so "she's not brand new, but this seemed like a really perfect extension of her story so that we could use her to help children identify with...With any of our initiatives, our hope is that we're not only reaching the children who can identify with that Muppet but that we're also helping other to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue."
The overall goal of including a homeless Muppet in the show will be to open up opportunities for parents, teachers, and other service providers to discuss homelessness with their children. Westin says that she thinks people "tend to think of homelessness as an adult issue and don't always look at it through the lens of a child, and we realize that Sesame has a unique ability to do that, to look at tough issues with the lens of a child."
According to a study in 2017, homelessness increased by 0.7% from 2016 with an average of 553,742 people homeless nationwide on any given night and approximately 1 in 20 children younger than 6 have experienced homelessness. Homelessness is a growing problem nationwide and hopefully Lily the Muppet will open up the pathways for being able to have conversations about this issue.
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