Testimonials

Schools we have Presented to (click here)

Response to Puppets in Education Programs:

“You may be aware that our town was in the national spotlight last summer when one of residents kidnapped and murdered his niece. The perpetrator’s daughter is our student and we have become extremely conscious of how we present any information regarding child safety… Your staff was responsive to our particular situation and needs and we are very appreciative of your efforts. The troupe did an excellent job working with our staff to prepare for the event, meeting with our school nurse, school counselor and me. Your materials were organized and easy to use. The presentations were age appropriate and engaging for all of our students.” – Principal

“Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for putting on such a powerful puppet presentation that all ages really got a lot out of.  It has begun some dialogue in places that hadn’t happened yet.  You provided a vehicle and the space to occur and the opportunity, which you witnessed many children grabbing a hold of.”  – Teacher

“After your program we worked on encouraging vs. discouraging words and tone of voice. The students kept referring back to the Seven Friendship Tips. Instead of going quickly through something, students began to get the attention of the peer who is on the autism spectrum, and the use short sentences that our student could understand. As we worked on giving people choices, this student shared that this was very difficult for him. Peers accepted him and helped him with challenging tasks.” – Teacher

“Your show was great!  It was engaging , educational and relevant.  I was laughing so much and the message was important.  It is such a wonderful way to teach children these important lessons.”  – Teacher

“Your presentations are so important – they empower children by teaching them valuable skills to reach out for help. The abuse prevention skits also teach compassion and understanding for children who may have a friend who has experienced abuse. Following the skits, I was transporting a student to a therapy appointment and he began singing lyrics he learned, ‘My body is my body…..’ then states that the skills he learned from the puppets were going to ‘help me talk to my counselor today’ about an experience he had witnessing inappropriate touching between peers.” – Teacher

“Instead of looking at the ‘deficits’ children with autism have, my 4th grade students began to focus on their ‘gifts.’ One student on the autism spectrum was able to tell stories to the class and everyone appreciated his natural talent. During oral reading time, this student was chosen often because he had such a great voice when he was reading. This was a child who was hardly ever chosen before.” – Teacher

“The (F2F Simulation) game was very helpful in helping you actually feel like some kids (on the autism spectrum) might feel. Really great idea! Love the friendship tips and movie. I really like how it is all presented through Iain’s story (and not focusing on any one student in the classroom). So glad you are bringing this program to our school. I think it is going to be really helpful in teaching all kids about making friendships.” – Parent

“Individual interaction with the puppets was an exceptional idea. I noticed some students who normally don’t converse, interacting.” – Teacher

“Since this presentation, I have had two disclosures of sexual abuse by female students that were both investigated and substantiated by the authorities. Because of this, these two students are now safe and secure. In addition, this program has opened up a lot of discussion from many students in regard to domestic violence that they are viewing between others in their homes. It has given them permission to verbalize the fear that they experience during these times of crises and to ask for help if they need it.” – Teacher

“I had a call from a Mom who’s 7 year old son has a type of MD. The wheelchair for school just came. The child is in tears and the school is asking the Mom and child to explain to the class about his degenerative disability. Mom feels that she and her son cannot do this. I suggested that maybe your puppets could come to the school and explain it to the class with one of your programs. – Teacher

“Dear Sarah and Karen, Thank you for taking your time out and talking to us about sex abuse.  The puppets helped me because if you didn’t have the puppets and you were talking face to face it would be hard for me.  Things happened to me when I was little that I can’t explain.  But it was taken care of.  The things that happened to me still effect my life.  I remember everything that happened to me.  It was hard going through that because I was adopted when I was little and my mother couldn’t take care of me.  She was only 17 and she was still in school.  She couldn’t feed me so I would go steal food from stores and I would run away and the next day I would come back.” – Student

“The presentation you so willingly modified to fit our school circumstances (Bullies and School Safety) was a great success for our 7th and 8th grade students. It gave them a wealth of information as well as allowed for a gentle confrontation on behaviors they themselves do that are actually bullying behavior. Coming to that realization is a difficult thing for students of this age group. We were delighted with the presentation and the outcomes following the presentation. The aspects that were particularly relevant were the stand-up-and-participate activities that followed the puppet demonstration. The students had strong reactions to ‘walking across the line’ when they could answer the question at hand in the affirmative. Students that may have been more on the target side of bullying found out that they are not along in their concerns about why they are targets and how there is true strength in numbers. This was a jumping off point for a junior high wide intervention around bullying, school safety and peer relationships. It was invaluable to us to have the students hear the initial message from professionals outside of our school staff.” -School Counselor

“Very nice. My son has autism and does not speak, but he focused on the show.” – Parent

“The tips were great and simple. I think the tips will go a long way in helping our kids understand differences in others.” – Teacher

“In today’s world it is so important to teach our children empathy and respect for each other. Opportunites to learn about cultural and physical differences are limited in our small rural school. Your presentations provide the necessary venue for us to recognize and discuss these topics. The programs become more than a one day visit. The topics are reinforced throughout our curriculum the entire year.” – Teacher

“I can think of MANY adults who could use this presentation! It could be a great teaching tool for new para-educators and teachers as well as for parents of newly diagnosed ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) kids.” – Teacher

“Your presentations are so important – they empower children by teaching them valuable skills to reach out for help. The abuse prevention skits also teach compassion and understanding for children who may have a friend who has experienced abuse. Following the skits, I was transporting a student to a therapy appointment and he began singing the lyrics he had learned, ‘My body is my body…’ then stated that the skills he learned from the puppets were going to ‘help me talk to my counselor today’ about an experience he had witnessing inappropriate touching between peers.” -Support Staff

“Excellent presentation – having the schedule board at the beginning was the best way to capture their attention and set the stage for learning… it is so important to let kids know what they should look for and what they’ll learn. The seven tips with pictures worked in the same way – I’ll want my own classroom set now. This was the best puppet show I’ve seen in my career of 15 years.” – Teacher

“Some of the students who chose to participate are old hands at being on the stage. Others, however, took this on as something new and totally out of their comfort zone. One student lives in a violent home, another spends most of his time “being too cool” to participate in school activities, while another struggles with a speech problem which makes her hard to understand. These students came together as a team in order to provide their school with an assembly on an important and relevant topic. During the training, your staff included the students in discussions and activities that helped them to better understand the definitions and impact of things like teasing, rumors and exclusion. You were focused on bringing out the best in our students.” – Teacher

“I was very impressed and I learned a lot about autism that I was unaware of. I loved how you pointed out behavior that each of us have that is the same/serves the same purpose as people with autism.” – Teacher

“Information presented was very relevant to all students with disabilities not just ASD. I have a student with Down syndrome and this info was a great review for my class – how to talk/play with her!” – Teacher

“I wanted to tell you how amazing your program was.  You were really inclusive and brought the language down where the kids could get it.  I saw the students looking back to their classmate (with ASD) with the “AHA!”  moment look like they really got it.  They really understood it and it was amazing.”  – Teacher

“I would like to thank you for coming to our school with your puppets and showing us how to deal with the bully. I really think your skirt was a great follow up to the book and play on The Revealers that we just finished. Your play cemented that information into our heads. I think some kids were still ignorant to what bullying really was. Now those people are thinking about how they can stop bullying. Thank you very much for coming to our school and giving a very nice presentation on bullying.” – Teacher

“As a mom (and teacher) of a handsome boy with ASD – I was so pleased to see the focus stay on friendship and not as much on difference. So often presentations try to educate others about ASD through explaining the “corky” traits of ASD. You have a refreshing, caring approach.” – Parent

“I was meeting with two students last week. One of them walked in and said ‘I didn’t have any breakfast.’ (with a smile on her face). That opened up a discussion of how she’s feeling about herself and weight: wanting to go on a “diet.” The other student reminded her of some things they had learned in the KOBVT Body Image skit! It was a great teachable moment.” – Teacher

“The older students who watched the HIV presentation actively listened and asked appropriate questions. The program stressed abstinence and responsible healthy choices. Parents staff thought the information was accurate and age appropriate. I was pleased that abstinence was stressed and it was made clear that THAT is the only way to prevent AIDS in our young people.” – Teacher

“During one simulation game presentation, I noticed one student in particular (who has been known to pick on another student with autism). He was really paying attention to the presentation and answering questions throughout. I think this presentation started to open his eyes.” – Teacher

“Thank you for your wonderful performance on physical and sexual abuse prevention. Much of the information you presented to our students was new knowledge. Teachers expressed surprise at how little their students knew about keeping themselves safe. The presentation is based on sound research and agrees with my knowledge, experience and instruction and accomplished an increased awareness among our student population.” – Teacher

“Children seemed much more deliberate in their word choices and conversation with our student who is autistic.” – Teacher

“The sixth grade students enjoyed the simulation game and the fact they could practice hands-on during the presentation. This enabled them to feel everything in person and demonstrate what they are learning instead of the format of sitting and listening only.” – Teacher

“I want to let you know what an impact the bullying puppet show had on some of my students…A group of five 5th grade girls asked if I could help them work out a friendship problem…three said they were being bullies and didn’t know it was bullying. They expressed concern over their behavior and the effects on the other girls. Apologies were offered and accepted and agreements were made that clubs and excluding other wasn’t OK and shouldn’t happen….this wouldn’t have happened without your informational puppet show bullying! We have a group of much happier 5th grade girls thanks to you!”
-Teacher

“I wanted to personally thank you for choosing (name) for your Artist in Residency on Bullies & School Safety. It could not have been more timely for him as he has been experiencing some bullying at home from his bigger brother. I am encouraging (name) to find his own way and this was one way he could do that. It was a perfect place for the kids to learn the core citizenship values that they will carry with them into the rest of their education – and into their lives.” -Parent

“The content of the Friend2Friend programs fits in with our focus on diversity, acceptance of differences, inclusion of all students and healthy friendships. Excitement, enthusiasm, and joyful expression continue to come from the students when talking about the programs.” – Teacher

“Following the program we did have several students come forward to disclose abuse in their homes. Before the program we did have several students come forward to disclose abuse in their homes. Before the program they thought this was normal behavior or that it was their fault, but after seeing the puppets they knew what to do and who to tell. Our Guidance Counselor has been following up on these reports including some to DCF.” -School Counselor

“The kids could really relate to self regulating behaviors. I don’t think the kids think that self regulating behaviors are odd anymore.” – Teacher

“I am an interventionist and my student has autism. One of the students who does not have autism was able to better understand what his classmates are going through. I think it is really important for general ed. kids – to have an understanding of autism so they can better understand what their classmates are going through and be empathetic and befriend them. With more autistic children being mainstreamed this is really important. You did an awesome job! Please continue!!” – Teacher

“Thank you for coming to my school. I liked your performance. The best thing was the activities. Like the one where someone was being bullied and they had to come up with a way to brush it off or deal with it. I also liked the one where you wouldn’t let a girl from our class join your group when you were dissecting frogs. Everyone just turned on you! I learned a lot about bullying. You’re a good example for other kids.” – Students

“…I also need to say that without a doubt the presentation you made for my child’s class at (our school) changed her life.  Yup.  No over-statement.  After the presentation she  shared with her class that she has autism.  (School Counselor) called me that afternoon.  Do you know the guidance tone?  Are you familiar with the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” feeling as you wait on the other end of the phone for the real news?  I was waiting and I heard the tone.  My mind was racing with all the possibilities.  (she) told me about her participation in the program.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  She told me that her teacher had a follow up discussion in her classroom afterwards.  I held my breath.  And then she said that she shared with her class that she has autism.  The only socially appropriate thing I could say was “wow.”  I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing.
The follow-up conversation with the class apparently involved her explaining that some times people with autism have a special interest and for her that interest is elephants.  She loves elephants.  She has elephant-related scripts (or at least conversations that are very script-like).  I’m sure that her class is sick to death of elephants.  But there it was.  She loves elephants and she has autism.  Right out there for the world to know.  Because it was ok.  Because she saw and heard in your presentation that autism is ok- at school, where it mattered.  Because Iain is cool and interesting and Iain has autism.  I can only imagine how it might have felt to see something of herself in your presentation.  To see this part of who she is that she has battled and rejected and hidden, up there in front of the world being represented as just a way some people are, just a way some people are different, just a way some people walk through the world…It must have been incredibly empowering.
When I picked her up after school, I asked how school went.  She played it cool-  “fine”  I asked how the presentation went-  “Boring”  I asked if she heard about Iain. And the floodgates opened.  She chattered on and on about Iain  almost word for word from your presentation if I’m remembering correctly.  She gave her sister an amazingly similar version of your presentation.  She never shared with me what she shared with her class, but that’s ok.  That would be very personal for her and out of character.  But she had a light in her eye I have never seen before and her energy practically carried her upstairs to swing in her room and then drew her outside to play in the great big world.
Words fail me. You’ve helped set her on a new path and opened for her a new chapter.  I hope that what you read between my sentence fragments and mother’s ramblings are the words…Thank You.” – Parent

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