Puppets Will Continue to Educate Youth

VERMONT- Vermont Family Network’s Puppets in Education program will continue to provide resources to students remotely, according to Puppets in Education Program Manager Sarah Vogelsang-Card. Puppets in Education, a program that has been established for 39 years, caters to students throughout the state of Vermont, Upstate New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Each year, their 19 different programs reach about 10,000 people. The program is well-known throughout the region by many people, including adults.

“It’s really fun to meet people who remember it from middle school or elementary school, and they remember some of the songs from our programs. I love it,” says Vogelsang-Card. 

 

Puppets in Education has been continuing to leave their mark on young school children and their families. On March 26th, the non-profit organization released its first remote program about anxiety and COVID-19.  

 

“We knew, gosh, if anybody needs anxiety help these days, it’s right now,” Vogelsang- Card explained. 

 

The COVID-19 anxiety video has 1,500 views on Youtube and was covered by numerous different media outlets throughout the state of Vermont. 

 

Vogelsang-Card also offered a remote event this past weekend. “I did a sibling workshop this past weekend with one of the puppets. It is a workshop for children who have siblings with disabilities. The puppet showed up and talked about her story. That was more of a private event.”

 

The puppet team has been working on organizing a program in honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The organization already has a sexual abuse awareness program that they feature at schools across the region, but for their remote program, they will have a little extra help.

 

“We were contacted by the University of Vermont, and Dr. James Metz and Dr. Lewis First are going to be working with Deb from Puppets in Education, and our puppet Joanne and they’re putting together a Zoom script. They’re filming early next week, so we’ll upload that and send it to schools so we can get that into the homes of as many children as possible,” says Vogelsang-Card. The video will be sent to schools so that way teachers can utilize it during remote learning. 

 

“By sending out the video to schools, children will at least have the information if they are in homes where they may be experiencing things where they need to seek the helper adults in their lives for,” Vogelsang-Card explained. 

 

Talking about sexual abuse, domestic violence, and physical abuse with students is extremely important and can help those in need come forward.

"One of our best statistics that has come out of the program is that over five years of presenting domestic violence, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, we had 87 disclosures of abuse from kids right to the puppets. So, it’s pretty powerful.”

The puppet team continues to brainstorm ways to bring students information remotely, especially since schools are out of session for the rest of the school year. 

 

“We have 19 programs. So maybe we can take excerpts from those and do more filming and send this out to the schools just so they have another tool at their hands that they can show their students.”

 

Any events scheduled to occur this school year will be rescheduled, according to Vogelsang-Card.

“There were 12 schools booked for the spring that we will now be booking for the fall. Before they canceled school and said that students were going to be out for the rest of the school year, we just canceled our school year because we knew it was going to come down the pipeline. So, we are rescheduling 12 days of presentations, but I also believe that there was a handful of other schools that were waiting to book, but that’s fine.”

 

Vogelsang-Card hopes that Puppets in Education will be up and running at the beginning of the school year.