As a volunteer puppeteer with The Concerned Kids, I have had the pleasure of working closely with the program and seeing the benefits that it has on the students we visit. My work involves visiting schools at least twice a month to provide one-hour of interactive presentations to children across the GTA. The presentations consists of scripted scenes, describing very real scenarios that students today are facing, and then we have multiple interactive segments where students are able to ask questions directly to the puppets. Seeing a child interact directly with a puppet is truly magical. The kids totally suspend their disbelief and are speaking directly with the puppet in a way that they might not feel comfortable doing with a parent or teacher. They open up about real situations that they and their friends face – it is a clear reminder that the work we do is so relevant to the communities we serve.
Through The Concerned Kids I received training and coaching on puppetry, script memorization, as well as tips on how to answer questions from the students for the unscripted, interactive portions of our presentation. I felt confident and supported to do the work of teaching children about the dangers of bullying and empowering them to change their schools for the better, to make their schools “bully free zones.” It is thanks to the hard work of organizations as The Concerned Kids that our communities will become stronger and our children will be better prepared for the future.
Working as a volunteer with Concerned Kids was a wonderful experience. I had never worked with puppets before, but as a child I always took joy in making my toys come to life. The art of being a puppeteer had always been fascinating to me.
Upon hearing of Concerned Kids, it seemed to be a perfect combination of creativity and a way to give back to the community. The shows fulfill a truly necessary need in the lives of young kids, who relate to the puppets in a way that they don’t relate to adults. The puppets bring important messages, and I got the pleasure of relaying messages (though my puppet, “Melody”) about bullying, inclusion, and acceptance.
The training at Concerned Kids was excellent, and with my kind and welcoming trainers’ help, I went from knowing zero about how to puppeteer, to 8 weeks later feeling fully confident putting on a puppet show in front of hundreds of eager children’s eyes. (And I will admit, I was scared at first!)
Having completed those shows gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I feel that I made a difference in the lives of those children. I would encourage anyone considering volunteering, who is willing to put in the time and effort, to go for it. What you get out of it will be tenfold what you put in.
I heard about The Concerned Kids through their website. It is a wonderful not-for-profit organization with a genuine care to social issues affecting kids.