The earlier we educate our children about sensitive but incredibly important issues such as homelessness, the better. But sometimes, it’s hard to know how exactly to get the conversation started — or how to provide concrete examples if there are no children experiencing homelessness in their social circles. Shows with characters dealing with housing issues can help, and that’s why it’s so important that Sesame Street is bringing back Lily, a 7-year-old Muppet who is experiencing homelessness.
Lily was initially introduced back in 2011, when she made a guest appearance as a child coping with hunger. Now, showrunners are bringing her back to educate kids on the homelessness crisis in America — and specifically, how it impacts children.
Lily’s new storyline will depict what happens when her family loses their home and are forced to stay with friends.
“Lily is the first Muppet we’ve created whose storyline includes that she is experiencing homelessness,” said Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, as reported by CNN.
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Lily’s story is part of the homelessness initiative launched today as part of Sesame Workshop’s Sesame in Communities program. If you’re eager for your kids to see Lily’s storyline, you’ll have to tune into online videos — most of her story will be depicted there rather than in televised episodes.
“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 others to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue,” Westin said.
Westin added that she hopes Lily’s presence on Sesame Street will allow viewers to look and think about homelessness through a new lens.
“I think we 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,” Westin said.
We love that Sesame Street is using its platform to teach kids about homelessness — and it’s the perfect opportunity for parents to start important conversations with their children about the topic.