Stay Safe! Rules to Empower your Pedestrian.

With so many pedestrians making their way back to school, drivers are warned to be extra cautious, but empowering your pedestrian to know the rules of the road can keep them from entering a dangerous situation. In the United States, Florida contains the TOP FOUR most dangerous metropolitan areas for walking. Recognizing that safe practices begin with knowledge, The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County and MicheLee Puppets (with funding from Florida Department of Transportation and Safe Routes to Schools) have created “Walk to School: Safe is Cool” a series of educationally entertaining videos that empower pedestrians to understand the rules of the road. Knowledge is power! Share these tips with your pedestrian and empower them to stay safe!

1. Cross at the corner, or in a crosswalk. Before crossing, look left, then right, then left again

2. Make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a car.

3. Walk on the sidewalk, out of traffic.

4. Beware the edges!

Car mirrors and more make unsafe conditions for these pedestrians (and their ice cream)

5. Wear items that are bright and easy to see.

Who will be crowned “Miss Be Se Queen”?

6. Stop, wait for the Walk signal, then go.

Rock out before you walk out…into the road.

Be Seen Queen from MicheLee Puppets on Vimeo.

“Kids on the Block”: The Start of MicheLee Puppets

Bowling Green State University, 1985. A fresh faced Theatre major tours a local school district, performing a puppet show. The rest is history.

We’re not talking about television comedian Jon Stewart, although he too started in 1985, with the New York version of this puppet show, telling New York Magazine in 1994, “I was a cerebral-palsy puppet, a blind puppet, a deaf puppet, a hyperactive puppet — and a puppet who couldn’t commit to a relationship.”

Created in 1977, “Kids On the Block”, a disability awareness puppet show,  exposed a young Tracey Conner to puppetry and its ability to impact an audience in a profound way.

“It was all about creating a climate of inclusion, acceptance and friendship between disabled and able-bodied children,” remembers Conner. “It was the first time that I realized that theatre, particularly puppetry, could do more than entertain. It could be used to make lives better for kids.”


Realizing the importance of this message,  Tracey brought the idea of impacting through puppetry with her, upon moving to Orlando. Convincing performing partner, Michael Prazniak to follow, they combined their middle names (Michelle and Lee) creating Orlando’s longest running not for profit puppet company: MicheLee Puppets.

Determined to continue the work of “Kids on the Block,” Tracey and Michael needed puppets, and found their first (and longest running) corporate partner in Florida Hospital. Equipped with borrowed puppets, they set out on the road, and by year’s end, 6500 children in Central Florida were introduced to MicheLee Puppets.

“The response was overwhelming,” beams Conner, “children and teachers were being changed by what we were doing. I knew we had to do more.”


“Kids on the Block” became a staple for MicheLee Puppets, performed for over 20 years. The puppets still reside in MicheLee Puppets’ Orlando offices, brought out on occasion to tell stories of students that they have impacted, but the company has evolved into creating original works (and puppets) that deal with with hot button topics such as bullying, domestic violence and sexual assault. Using puppetry as a way to introduce these sensitive topics, allows abstract ideas to become accessible. Through the puppets, students see their own stories and gain the confidence to reveal in order to heal.

Now in its 30th year, with multiple corporate partners and 2million children served, MicheLee Puppets continues to tour Central Florida, focusing on performances that impact Early Childhood Education through “Rhyme Time” a reading readiness puppet show; and Health and Wellness through bully prevention performances and “The EXTREME Health Challenge”, an obesity prevention live game show. MicheLee Puppets has evolved to include online components such as videos that educate and entertain on a number of topics including pedestrian safety, rhyming, bully prevention, and soon STEM! (coming 2016)


“Kids on the Block” sent Jon Stewart to empowering lives through the art of  comedy, and Tracey Conner to empowering lives through the art of puppetry. Not bad for a puppet show.

Stay tuned for our “Stories of Impact” series where we highlight those who have been profoundly affected by the work of MicheLee Puppets through the faces and voices of the people who were there.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

YOU Can Visit MicheLee Puppets!

With puppets on exhibit from floor to ceiling; hallways decorated with awards, articles and  hand-written letters with pictures from those whose lives have been touched by MicheLee Puppets’ programs; and a studio filled with puppet supplies, set pieces, projects “in process” AND a television studio, MicheLee Puppets has something enticing for people of all interests.

Much more than a touring company, MicheLee Puppets’ shows are generally performed offsite, but there is still plenty to see and do! Workshops, conferences, exhibitions, meetings, photo shoots, filmings, and more fill the studio walls. A package delivery is often accompanied by “What is this place?”, a question that has inspired FREE informational breakfasts.

“Participants for our monthly informational breakfast events come from all walks of life,” muses Kit Twenter, Development Director for MicheLee Puppets. “We’ve welcomed NASA engineers, school teachers, musicians, medical professionals, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, and more. There’s a curiosity that draws them to us: how can they get their message across in a creative way? Sharing our stories of empowerment, guests join in our excitement of educating the children of our community-at-large and delivering messages in a very special way-through the art of puppetry.”

People from all walks of life visit MicheLee Puppets…and YOU can too!

Now in its 30th year, MicheLee Puppets invites YOU to enjoy your morning coffee and a FREE continental breakfast in a creative environment!  Be moved by stories of impact and entertained by performance pieces. Ask questions of the experts, and maybe even make a character to take home, all in the time span of 1 hour!

For upcoming breakfast dates or to schedule a personal tour, contact Kit Twenter  kit@micheleepuppets.org, 407-898-7925 x 3.

A Moving Experience: Occupational Therapy Meets Puppetry

Surrounded by old tin cans, empty water bottles, newspapers and more, one might think that Vicki Case’s Adventist University Occupational Therapy students are stepping into a workshop on recycling. What the students don’t yet know is that they are actually surrounded by characters about to be brought to life!

In this annual, 2-hour workshop, MicheLee Puppets’ Executive Director Tracey Conner leads these students in the use of puppet building and manipulation techniques that can be incorporated into therapy to benefit their clients. This exploration into Puppetry and Art therapy is a crucial part of the students’ training.


Encompassing all of the art forms, puppetry is more than strictly entertainment. It is a tool for delving into imagination, and from there, creativity and ingenuity emerges.

Working in a Group to Solve a Problem:

What kind of puppet character can be built in 5 minutes using only newspaper and tape?

Students set to work, twisting, tearing, and taping, as they explore this activity derived from the work of late, great puppeteer, George Latshaw. With newspaper flying, students quickly begin to sculpt their characters, each group creating both a unique piece and a unique personal strategy. One group has a quick brainstorm session before beginning, assigning tasks and creating a plan for building. Another group simply dives in and begins putting pieces together as they are constructed. Yet another group splits apart and builds as individuals, planning to come together at the end. In just this short period, it becomes clear how each individual approaches problem solving when working in a group.


Once, constructed, 3 volunteers from each group, bring their characters to the front for a Bunraku-style training in puppetry manipulation. With a direct correlation to their Occupational Therapy curriculum, students practice weight distribution and coordination of movement, putting into practice how to translate and analyze movement. Performers then apply this movement to the puppet so that the group may move together as one. By transforming their energy to match those of others, the students begin to bring their newspaper puppets to life!

Working Independently to Solve a Problem:

In the students’ next activity, they are challenged to independently create a “found-object” puppet, or a puppet created from a random set of found materials (could be clean items from a recycling or trash bin). This character must have at least one moving part. Creativity explodes as individuals set to work, examining materials, brainstorming what supplies they will need and determining how the pieces will attach together.  While each ponders their character, the students also brainstorm ways in which they can integrate both their character and these puppetry activities into therapy with both children and adults.

“Learning about puppetry helps us with understanding activity analysis.” explains OTA Student Luis Johnston. “As both occupational therapy practitioners and puppeteers you have to understand how activities are performed. The experience also helps us to identify how puppetry can be used as a therapeutic media in occupational therapy. We can use puppetry to help our clients deal with issues such as communication skills, socialization as well as anger management/conflict resolution.”


Bringing Characters to Life:

The students’ final activity concentrates most heavily on the manipulation of the character, with the construction element used as a means to an end. With the simple twist of a pipe cleaner, the students’ hands are magically transformed into puppets. It is the movement of each finger, the alignment of the wrist, and the expression of the individual thumb joints that define the characters that they will create. Here the students explore what it is for the puppet to “be alive,” learning how to make their puppets breathe, focus their eyes, and even lip sync to a song. Once the students become familiar with movement, they layer in character through body movement and voice.


“It’s exciting to see the light bulbs go off for these students as they explore puppetry.” shares Tracey Conner, Executive Director of MicheLee Puppets. “Watching these students translate simple activities that we do every day in puppetry, into something that can help a patient is astounding.

MicheLee Puppets offers workshops for all ages! For more information and to schedule a workshop for your group contact jamie@micheleepuppets.org.

OUTFRONT Media helps MicheLee Puppets Soar!

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane! It’s…MicheLee Puppets?MicheLee Puppets has been touring Central Florida for 30 years, but never quite like this! If you have traveled in the Central Florida area this summer, you may have been lucky enough to see this image floating above you:

billboard pic

Thanks to a generous in-kind donation from OUTFRONT Media, MicheLee Puppets is popping up in neighborhoods across Central Florida! The fun continues throughout the year as we celebrate 30 years of empowering lives through the art of puppetry! Where will you see us next?Like us on Facebook and when you see MicheLee Puppets on a billboard, share it with us! Thank you, OUTFRONT Media for this fun and unique way for MicheLee Puppets to reach the masses!

OutfrontMedia_FullLogo_Color-1024x304

Audition Notice 2015-16

NON-EQUITY, PAID MicheLee Puppets, Inc.

MicheLee Puppets, Inc., Florida’s leader in educational puppetry, is casting puppeteers and actors for our 2015-16 Season. We are a touring company to schools and public venues in Central Florida and throughout Florida. In addition to performing, actors/puppeteers will help load in, set up and strike for each show. For our large productions, a stage tech will be part of the team. Male and female performers of all races/ethnicities are encouraged to apply. All performers hired will be required to pass an FBI fingerprint background check.

To apply, please email your headshot and resume to Jamie@micheleepuppets.org. Auditions will be by appointment only on July 13 and July 27, 2015. If called to audition please prepare a one-minute comedic monologue. Be prepared to work with one of our puppets or bring your own puppet. If you are auditioning for Rhyme Time, prepare a song.

 

2015-2016 Season:

EXTREME Health Challenge – In the game show tradition, wacky and entertaining puppet characters face a series of challenges, battles of wit, and puppetry mayhem. Children laugh and learn about the importance of good nutrition and active lifestyles. Roles:

Puppeteer must be proficient with hand and rod puppets and good with multiple male and female character voices.

“Fitastic” is the show host. Requires actor who is physically fit and can do gymnastic stunts or dance. Should be comfortable with children as volunteers from the audience are brought on stage to interact with the puppets and Fitastic.

 

Rhyme Time and Discover Math and Science – These shows feature toy theatre size stages, simple paper puppets and shadow puppets, music, singing, and audience participation for preschool audiences. Our solo performers must be good singers and very good with small children.

 

A Good Day for Pancake – This one-man bully prevention show is geared for K-2nd graders. Puppeteer must be proficient (or able to learn) hand puppet techniques and must be very good with multiple character voices.

 

Bully Scene Investigators – This bully prevention show is geared for 3rd-5th graders and includes lots of audience participation. Two actor/puppeteers must be good at physical humor, puppetry and interaction with children.

 

Questions? Please contact Jamie at 407-898-7925 x 223 or Jamie@micheleepuppets.org.

For more information on MicheLee Puppets visit micheleepuppets.org.

5 Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy this Summer

Empower your family to make healthy choices in these 5 simple ways

When we send our kids to school, we send expectations:

  • The school will provide my child with the knowledge they need to be successful
  • The school will provide healthy/balanced lunches
  • The school will provide activities in which my child will exercise

After all, experts in their field create curriculum to serve these needs. But when summer hits, “the school” is taken out of the equation and replaced with “I”… and that can be overwhelming.

So how do we make the right choices for our family? Well, it goes back to the old adage: You give a man a fish and he eats for a day. You teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Take the pressure off of yourself. Start by turning the “I” into a “we” with EMPOWERMENT.

Now, we are not suggesting that you go out and teach your child to fish (although if that is how you would like to achieve your health goals, have at it), but when you empower your family to make the right choices, you grow healthier together.

Try these 5 simple ways to put your family on the road to health empowerment (and continue their education at the same time)


1. Put the Label On The Table

 

 

Cereal, snacks and other foods often hide in the cupboards (or if you are really ambitious, they are displayed in lovely containers throughout the kitchen). If “out of sight, out of mind” is true, then “in sight in mind” must also be true. When you pull out those snacks, pull out those nutrition labels and share them with your family. Start by reading the ingredients, and following this simple mantra:

If you can’t read it… don’t eat it.

All natural ingredients are key. If you see something like Monosodium Glutamate Phenylalanine, it’s probably got chemicals in it. You do not want to put chemicals in your amazing bodies! Look for ingredients that you can pronounce, like “oat flour” and look for items with fewer ingredients (such as fresh fruit, which doesn’t even come with an ingredients label). Fresh is always best, but when you’re picking packaged food like cereal or crackers, you want to make sure you’re putting the healthiest stuff in your body. Compare labels to see which has more fiber, vitamins, and less sugar. You learn together and you practice reading in the summer. Win/Win

 EXTREME version: Once your family knows how to read the label, take it to the store! Compare labels at the grocery store to shop your healthiest and find what fruits and vegetables are in season!


2. Measuring Cups for Everyone!

 

 

Once you have introduced the nutrition label to your family and they know WHAT they are eating, look for HOW MUCH of that item is in each serving. It’s really easy to sit down with a box or a bag and feed handfuls of servings to yourself. Start out empowered! Read the top of the label for “Serving Size”, then grab some measuring cups and measure to that size (for example, Serving Size = 1 cup). Keep the measuring cups at hands reach (even stored in the box or bag) for easy measuring.

EXTREME VERSION Make it even more fun by picking up a set of measuring cups for each member of the family (we found these at the Dollar Store). Decorate the cups with permanent markers to personalize them, and store the measuring cups in a place that is easy to reach (in a low drawer or on a key-ring in the closet). For things like cookies or crackers count out each piece to make a serving, then put the box or bag away. Voila! Math and health are practiced together!

Remember, snacks are the #1 food choice that children make for themselves. Empower your family to make the healthy choice!

3. Exercise Outside AND Inside


 

Sports are wonderful exercise, but they are not the ONLY way to stay healthy. Rainy days, allergies, and hot weather can put a damper on outside activities, so have some indoor exercises ready to go! If your family leans more towards the couch potato side, come up with some simple things to get them moving. Dance breaks are great ways for families to stay active together. Balance contests during commercial breaks get you on your feet. Hula hoops and jump ropes (if you have the indoor space) can be great exercise tools both individually or as group activities. Exercise is cumulative, so even a little bit at a time can add up. A dance break here and a family walk there can get your heart pumping!

EXTREME Version: As a family, make a list of outdoor and indoor exercises. Write the individual activities on cards splitting the activities into two containers, one labeled “outside” and one labeled “inside”. Choose at least one activity from each container per day. Increase the amount of time you spend on each activity throughout the summer.

4. Water, Water, Water!

Water is our most basic of needs, but how do we know if we get enough? Ah, the wonders of science. No need for test tubes, or measuring devices, this observational experiment is simple. Simply checking the color of your pee throughout the day will alert you to the need for more water. If your pee is clear, you are drinking enough water. The more sugar you add to your diet, the yellower it gets. Your family can have all sorts of fun with this, but the challenge really is, how can I get my family to drink enough water to have clear pee. For some, the knowledge is enough to create a personal challenge, but for those more stubborn drinkers, try to add water in their daily activities. For instance, assign a water bottle to their screen time. They can sip away while mesmerized during their favorite show. Try only bringing water to outings and only ordering water at restaurants. Make water bottles and cups accessible by placing them in low cabinets or drawers so that kids can be empowered to get water themselves.

Also, sometimes hungry really means thirsty. Try drinking some water before grabbing a snack.

 EXTREME VERSION Challenge your family to find times throughout the week when they can replace a sugary drink with water. As they get used to that, try finding times throughout the day in which sugary drinks can be replaced by water. Who can have the clearest pee?

5. Be the Example

From the time they are tiny babies, we learn how often kids imitate us (from “peekaboo” to choice language at not-so-choice times). Empower yourself to be the example of health that you want for your family. Following  “5, 2, 1, Almost None” each day can get you on your way.

 

5  or more fruits and vegetables. According to the USDA. ½ of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Click here for a “Choose my plate” diagram

2 hours or less of screen time With the birth of more and more gadgets, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tear yourself away from your screens. Set timers for yourself and have your family set timers for themselves as well, that set a limit on screen time, and be ready with non-screen activities such as crafts, books, board games, and outdoor/indoor activities.

1 hour of physical activity This goes back to #3. It adds up, so even if it is 10 minutes here and there throughout the day, getting yourself to at least one hour of physical activity a day can make a big difference.

Almost none of items such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks that are not 100% fruit juice Replacing these drinks with water is ideal, but if you need a little sweetness, try adding fresh fruits and vegetables to the water (there are even water bottles that are made just to for infusing fruit and vegetables). If you are going to drink juice, read the label to make sure that it is 100% juice (and pay attention to the serving size).

These are just the first steps in empowering yourself and your family to live healthy lives. Keep the kids in on the conversation and share with each other ways in which you are being healthy in your daily lives to build on these simple concepts a little each day!

 Want more?

Empowering lives through the art of puppetry, MicheLee Puppets puts healthy living into practice with EXTREME Health Challenge a wacky game show currently touring throughout Florida. Want your kids to take the challenge? Contact denise@micheleepuppets.org  to schedule a performance at your venue today!

For more details and next steps on healthy living visit:

  FDA Read the Label Youth outreach campaign

United States Department of Agriculture

Companies Team-Build While Giving Back Through “Sock Puppets with a Heart”

“Ooh! This one will have pigtails!”… “I’m going for a lion look”… “I don’t know what this will be, but I am having a blast!”

With hands, glue guns, socks, and pom-pom’s flying, employees are whisked away from everyday office pressures into a flurry of creativity, laughing and sharing!

 Universal Orlando Resort is one of several organizations which participate in MicheLee Puppets’ Sock Puppets with a Heart, a program established in 2010 that allows company volunteers to build unique, handmade sock puppet characters, while bonding with their fellow employees.  It is here where roles often reverse, and hidden employee talents emerge. One participant shares that this is the first time since leaving his native Haiti that he has had received an opportunity to practice his true passion:

“Crunching numbers is how I make my living, but art is what makes my soul sing.”

Creativity and team-building, are not the only benefits these puppets provide. Once constructed, MicheLee Puppets gathers the finished characters (reinforcing any loose pieces) and donates the puppets to places where they will be the most impactful, such as domestic violence shelters, hospitals, and other places where children need healing.

 “Children often won’t report a loved one, even if they are being harmed,”

explains Denise Lucich, Communications Manager at MicheLee Puppets

“but slip a puppet on their hands and suddenly they begin to reveal things they have never told before. There is a safety and security that the puppet brings. It’s truly magical”

Throughout their 30-year history, MicheLee Puppets has experienced this magic time and time again. Sock Puppets with a Heart is inspired by the puppetry workshops MicheLee Puppets provided at Harbour House of Central Florida, an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. When children slipped their hands into puppet characters, their personal stories began to emerge. One student spoke for the first time since arriving three weeks earlier and sang “Happy Birthday” with her puppet. Another broke her silence while performing “The Three Little Pigs” as she described how her father was shot and killed in front of her while the police were trying to protect her family. The characters provided by Sock Puppets with a Heart open children up to reveal in order to heal.

Since 2010, more than 2,000 puppets have been created and donated by companies, sororities, scout troops, individuals and more.

Join Finfrock, Florida Hospital, Apopka Memorial Middle School, Girl Scouts, KPMG, Universal Orlando Resort, and Delta Pi Omega as a participant in Sock Puppets with a Heart!

Interested in being part of Sock Puppets with a Heart? MicheLee Puppets provides you and your company with the information and materials list to get started.  Email denise@micheleepuppets.org for more information on how to get involved.

Make A Wish: A Young Puppeteer’s Dream Comes True

With a mission of empowering lives through the Art of Puppetry, most days at MicheLee Puppet are special, but helping to fulfill the dream of Matty Smith, a boy whose wish is to be a puppeteer, ranks at the top.

Matty’s journey begins in New Hampshire, at the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s breakfast event. As he watches his mother speak onstage, Matty has no idea that he is about to be whisked away to Orlando, Florida where Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and MicheLee Puppets await!

 

 

Walt Disney World puppeteer Eric Sweetman meets the Smiths at the park entrance for a tour of everything puppetry. Presenting Matty with a puppet crafted by Magic Child Creative’s Jason Stanley, the Smiths are treated to backstage tours and meet and greets that a rare few witness.

But Matty’s wish is to perform (specifically puppeteer) at Walt Disney World: a nearly impossible task. WDW shows contain safety hazards requiring puppeteers to be highly trained before ever stepping foot (or arm) onstage. Luckily, 3 of those highly trained professionals are waiting at MicheLee Puppets for Matty’s arrival.

Featuring live shows and videos, MicheLee Puppets has the unique ability to make Matty’s performing wish come true. With help from the Central Florida Puppet Guild’s April Tennyson, Megan Boye, and Miker Heyn, the puppets are constructed, the characters are dressed and MicheLee Puppets is ready to film its latest “Rhyme Time” video, featuring Matty as a special guest puppeteer.

Arriving at MicheLee Puppets’ studio, the Smiths are greeted by Executive Director, Tracey Conner with WDW puppeteer alumni James and Jamie Donmoyer, and John Kennedy (current Sesame Street performer). Soon Matty is swept away into the memories of former WDW puppet shows including “The Disney Crew”, “The Legend of the Lion King”, and his favorite “Bear in the Big Blue House”. Pictures and puppets help him step into his performing dreams as he tries on one of the former Disney Crew puppets, but it is the guitar playing purple member of the “Electric Socketz” that brings him to life (with some inspiration from the red hen).

Singing on camera to the New Kids on the Block, Matty and his brothers warm up for their big scene. Television puppeteer John Kennedy shows the boys how to perform group choreography and the B-I-N-G-O puppets dance onto the screen. Soon numbers replaces letters and the jokes begin to fly!

“Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7,8,9!”

A room full of giggles with puppets popping up from every corner, Matty and his brothers are treated to creating puppet characters of their own. John Kennedy surprises the boys with a copy of his puppet-making book “Puppet Mania” and they pour over the pages in preparation for creating their characters. Volunteer (and professional artist) Ron Jaffe helps 3yr old Joey create an alien, while 8 yr old Ben goes the Disco route. 13 yr old Matty has his heart set on bringing home a red hen and while he needs some assistance with the implementation, he knows what he wants and makes sure that Jamie Donmoyer gets every detail complete, including a waddle, furry feathers, and blue eyelids.

Fur flying, glue guns heating and eyeballs googling, the boys finish their creations just as the final surprise is revealed. Matty’s eyes widen as professional puppeteer John Tartaglia, star of The Disney Channel’s “Johnny and the Sprites” arrives to greet him. A star-struck Matty can’t wait to show John everything he has done so far and John joins in the fun, spending the rest of the morning playing with puppets on camera.

The experience wraps up far too soon for all, and before he leaves, Matty is presented with a MicheLee Puppets’ “Honorary Puppeteer” button and framed certificate (designed by the talented Ron Jaffe). An indescribable morning of puppetry fun, the Smiths leave with a new book and new puppets, but have left those at MicheLee Puppets with so much more. A powerful day empowering lives through the art of puppetry, and making a wish come true.

Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. For more information on Make-A-Wish® visit http://wish.org

Empowering Community through Strategic Partnerships

Walking School Bus logoHelen Keller once said, “Alone we can do little; together we can do much.” At MicheLee Puppets, we have found that collaboration among our creative team of writers, artists, and puppeteers has produced an exciting array of plays and video productions. We like working together, learning from each other, and pushing ourselves to explore a variety of puppetry forms.

For MicheLee Puppets, collaboration in the form of partnerships with social service agencies is a hallmark of our identity and our way of doing business. Our productions are issue-based, and we work with experts in the fields of education, child psychology, and child welfare to ensure that our performances contain accurate, age-appropriate information.

image[21] Behind the scenes of a video shoot for Walk to School: Safe is Cool series[/caption]MicheLee Puppets has also become the “go-to” arts organization for agencies that want to get their message to young people in a way that will grab their attention and affect positive social change. One example of a successful partnership is a project that promotes the Walking School Bus.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is a serious problem in Florida, which has the top four metropolitan areas on the list of most dangerous areas for walking in the U.S.

The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County wanted to promote the health benefits of walking to school, and they wanted to make sure that students knew the rules of pedestrian safety so that they would arrive to school safely. Through a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and Safe Routes to Schools, MicheLee Puppets was commissioned to create a series of fun, educational videos to promote walking to school and also cover the important pedestrian safety rules.

Volusia County Health Department provided us with the content. Our creative team took the information and developed a series of six videos called Walk to School: Safe is Cool. The videos have been delivered to schools all over Florida reaching thousands of children with life-saving messages! For more information on this project and to see a video, visit us on Facebook.

If your company or organization would like to reach children and youth with a positive message that will enhance their health and well being, contact Tracey Conner at 407-898-7925 x2. We would like to partner with you!