This experience has been wonderful. Working with the ‘Kids on the Block’ team has been rewarding; the team goes into schools and gives puppet shows teaching children how to keep themselves safe. I knew this was a special placement, and my initial thoughts and excitement of volunteering here were correct.
Having now presented puppet shows, I realize this work is even more empowering for the children than I imagined. The children really identify with the characters and scenario’s in the show. The facilitator encourages questions, and gives feedback half way through the performance, which reinforces the material taught. The children are involved as well as the teacher, which is exciting for everyone.
Learning my lines was stressful, but the facilitator allows us to read the scrips under the table which has lifted my cloud of worry. I know the flow of the play and how my character is meant to respond which is the most important thing. I can read my lines, and if I make a mistake it’s OK. The puppets are still heavy, but as the facilitator talks to the children half way through the presentation, I have a quick break and rest my arm. It’s not the physical ordeal I’d thought it would be.
The enthusiasm of the teachers has really surprised me. We ask them to join in with our Safety Presentations, and sometimes they go way off script; the teachers’ responses get the students really excited and focused on being safe. The more the teachers respond, the more the children respond, and the more enjoyable the puppet show is for everyone.
My greatest area of growth through this experience, is to ‘go with the flow’. Life is not scripted, so when we go off scrip I’ve had run with it. Every member of the team knows what to do and what’s expected, and we roll in whatever direction we’ve been pushed. Being able to think quickly on my feet, and respond in character, has been challenging yet fun. The ‘Kids on the Block team do great work. I’m pleased to be part of the team.