The Kids On The Block puppet troupe is back! Our volunteers and their life-size puppets took a couple of years off due to Covid, but they found a creative way to continue performing by filming a complete show that will be shared via YouTube with area elementary schools.
The Kids On The Block show helps children accept individual differences and learn valuable social skills. The shows address cultural differences, bullying and learning differences.
Puppets include Eddie, who is being bullied by a nasty boy in school but learns to deal with the boy in a positive way, thanks to his friend Claire. Claire is smart, kind, and wise beyond her years. She counsels Eddie to do positive things when being bullied: tell a teacher, stand by a friend who is being bullied, and work together to raise awareness of the problem. Jennifer is a rough and ready little girl with a learning difference. She can sing, dance, and play soccer. She gets A’s in math, but has an issue with reading and writing. Brenda is very sensitive to being bullied about how she looks. Jennifer helps her learn to ignore bad remarks and like how she is. Melody is a smart and sassy girl who does well in school and offers to help Jennifer with her schoolwork.
We have found that the children in the audience at our shows come to identify with the puppets and open up to them as if they were trusted friends. We hope that the video of the show will reach students in the same way, and that we will be able to perform in person in the near future.
After filming, our puppet masters took Clair to lunch. Participating puppeteers included Sue Armbruster, Jodee Hechler, Rose Houghton (chair of the Kids On The Block program), Ann Carroll, and Elaine Atkinson (Assistance League of the Chesapeake president).
We gratefully thank Anne Arundel County Public Schools for allowing us to film at their studios. We especially thank Erik Cloyd, who is the television broadcast manager for AACPS, for producing the video for us.