2nd Grader Arrests Bully

At the end of a performance of  MicheLee Puppets’ bully prevention show A Good Day for Pancake, a second grader, identifying himself as “Policeman Kevin,” approached performer Jamie Donmoyer saying “Please tell the dog that Policeman Kevin has a few questions for him.”

A few moments later, “the dog” (a small, stuffed-animal hand puppet named Willie Walker) emerged to face questioning. Policeman Kevin, now joined by his classmates, interrogated the bully.

Policeman Kevin: “Why are you a bully?”

Willie Walker (dog): “Why do you think I am a bully?”

Crowd of students: “Because you’re mean!” “Because you like to be!”

Policeman Kevin: “Because you hate children.”

Willie Walker responded that he did like children. He explained that it was his first day at a new school, and he confessed that he had made bad choices when trying to make new friends. It was at that point that Policeman Kevin made the arrest.

“Put your hands behind your back. You have broken the law by being a bully.”

Only upon promising to make better choices in the future was Willie Walker released from custody, free to perform in his next show.

A teacher identified Policeman Kevin as a student on the autism spectrum. She explained that his classmates are very protective of him, and they were concerned that “Willie Walker” would say something to hurt their friend. Kevin’s interactions with this puppet dog were as real as if with another human, and yet he does not interact with other humans in this way. There is something about a well performed puppet character that creates a non-threatening environment where students with tactile issues, like Policeman Kevin, can touch the hands of the puppet without a second thought. His classmates were relieved to see that Kevin had the situation handled and congratulated him for standing up to the bully.

MicheLee Puppets empowers lives through the art of puppetry and in our 30th year celebration, we are excited to share our experiences through stories just like this one. If you have a story that you would like to share about your experience with MicheLee Puppets, we ‘d love to hear from you! Email Jamie@ or call 407-898-7925 x 223.

To empower your students by booking “A Good Day For Pancake” or any of our live shows visit  or email or call Denise@ 407-898-7925 x 1.

Empowering Early Learners through Rhyme Time: Reading Readiness Program

RT-LOGO-ON-CURVE_FINAL1_REVThere is a strong correlation between literacy and poverty. According to the National Institute for Literacy, 43% of adults with very low literacy skills live in poverty. The foundation for successful reading is built in the early years when a young child’s brain is highly responsive and attuned to learning language. In fact, if a child is not reading at grade level by the end of first grade, he has only about 10% chance of reading at grade level by the end of fourth grade.

Research has shown that familiarity with Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes helps children to develop pre-reading skills, the first step in becoming successful readers. As children hear, sing or read nursery rhymes, they develop “phonemic awareness” or the ability to detect the individual sounds that make up words, which is a crucial first step in learning to read. Nursery rhymes, especially Mother Goose rhymes, also introduce children to new vocabulary words that increase comprehension. Children joyfully engage in rhyme activities, which foster an enduring enthusiasm for books and reading.

MicheLee Puppets has partnered with Head Start of Orange County to create Rhyme Time, a series of puppet shows that introduce pre-reading skills through puppetry, music, and student participation. These delightful puppet shows are staged on colorful, over-sized pop-up-books created by MicheLee Puppets.

MicheLee Puppets will join three Head Start Centers to celebrate the 18th Annual Guest Readers Week March 16, 2015 to March 19, 2015 at all Head Start Centers.

To book a performance for your children call Denise Lucich at 407-898-7925 x1.

Tackling Social Issues Like Domestic Violence through Puppetry Arts

TheHeroesPSAs MicheLee Puppets celebrates our 30th anniversary in 2015, we celebrate the life-changing performances and educational programs that have impacted 1.9 million children and youth. Puppets have been used for centuries to educate, to inspire, and to promote social change. MicheLee Puppets carries on this tradition as we partner with social service agencies to deliver empowering messages on issues that are critical to the health and well being of young people. Domestic violence is one of those issues.

A new ad campaign by the Salvation Army features “the dress” in white and gold on a badly bruised woman. The ad asks “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”  This campaign follows a rash of media attention on domestic violence; especially following alleged incidents in the NFL.

While most of the discussion has been about violence to women, find we should also be aware that domestic violence is an issue that affects children profoundly. Children living in homes where violence is present are at increased risk for sexual and physical abuse. A study by Kaufman and Henrich (2000) estimates that about 40% of children who witness domestic violence are also physically abused. Mothers who are victims of domestic violence are also more likely to physically and/or emotionally abuse their children than mothers who are not in violent relationships (Lutenbacher, Cohen, & Conner, 2004). These children often suffer from emotional problems such as higher levels of aggression and anger, disobedience, fear, anxiety, withdrawal, depression and poor social relationships and self-esteem.

MonsterFightPSIn 2010, MicheLee Puppets partnered with Central Florida domestic violence shelter, Harbor House, and Dr. Phillips Charities to create Little Heroes. Our puppet play told the story of a brother and sister dealing with the consequences of abuse against their mother. They became the heroes of the story when they confided in a teacher and got help. The impact of this play on one little boy was immediate. After our show, the student reported to his teacher that his mom’s boyfriend was in jail for beating her up. His sister had called 911, and he was living in fear that the man would come and hurt them when he was released from jail. Because this boy was empowered through our puppet show to report, his family was able to connect with Harbor House, which helped them create a safety plan to prevent further violence.

We can all help stop domestic violence by getting involved. Here are 16 Ways to Stop Domestic Violence in Your Community.

MicheLee Puppets: Empowering Young Lives Since 1985

For nearly 30 years, MicheLee Puppets has championed the empowerment of children and youth to make positive choices that will lead to happy, healthy, and productive lives. That is why we have joined organizations and individuals across the country to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers.

The demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math is critically linked to global competitiveness. The National Science Foundation states:
“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, all students need to develop their capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”

Sadly, there are not enough young people pursuing STEM related careers. In fact, studies show students begin to lose interest in math and science during the middle school years. Girls face special challenges in pursuing math and science careers.

While high school girls are taking many high level math and science courses at about the same rate as boys, there remains achievement gaps for minority and low income students (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2012). Gender disparities begin to occur for college undergraduates where women receive only 18.2% of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science, 19.2% in engineering, 19.1% in physics, and 43.1% in math and statistics (NSF, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015).

By the time women reach the workforce, they represent 39% of chemists and material scientists, 27.9% of environmental scientists and geoscientists, 15.6% of chemical engineers, 8.3% of electrical and electronics engineers, and 7.2% of mechanical engineers.

What can we do? Here are recommendations from Preparing Students for STEM Careers by Angela Traurig and Rich Feller:
1. Connect students with role models in STEM fields, especially women and ethnic minorities.

2. Students are often motivated to learn if they understand the real world applications of what they are learning. Connect students with career and technical education programs to promote STEM in real-life applications.

3. Promote fun ways to explore STEM interests through Space Camp, NASA Kid’s Club, and local STEM career fairs within educational settings.

Behind the Curtain – No Strings Attached! You Are Invited!

Join us for the MicheLee Puppets monthly informational breakfasts as we open the doors to our studio to reveal a behind the scenes look inside the creative world of puppetry and the art of puppeteering.

We invite you to send us your photos, hashtags, retweets, and subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss a beat of what’s happening. Let’s get this show on the road!

Partners Support Issue-Based Puppetry

Publix_Logo_2008Publix Super Markets Charities supports a variety of organizations in our community and one of my favorite quotes is from George Jenkins, the founder of Publix. Jenkins was once asked what he thought he would be worth had he not given so much away. Humbly, levitra he answered, “Probably nothing.”

Every day, we are humbled by the words of our amazing supporters and the stories they share about the powerful impact of our collective village. Today we send a sincere thanks to Publix and their amazing employees for their long-standing commitment to support programs for youth, education and health. We are honored that Publix Super Markets Charities provided funding for the MicheLee Puppets EXTREME Health Challenge program to promote healthy lifestyle choices among children.