Kids on the Block Vermont celebrates 25th anniversary

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(Host) On television, kids can visit Sesame Street to be educated and entertained by world-famous Muppets. But for the past 25 years in Vermont, kids of all ages have had similar characters come to visit them, in school. The visitors are the life-size puppets that make up the Kids on the Block Vermont traveling troupe.

The non-profit is celebrating its 25th anniversary tonight, with a
Puppet’s Choice Award, and a silver anniversary award for former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, who will be on hand for the event.

Deb Lyons is the development director for Kids on the Block Vermont.

(Lyons) “We travel all over the state performing with large Muppet like looking puppets to children in grades k -8. And we have 21 different programs that address a lot of issues like disability awareness, cultural diversity, bullying and school issues, abuse prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, mental health issues, healthy bodies, HIV AIDS, a lot of different topics. We work with some 125 to 175 schools a year and it’s a lot of fun. We reach over 13,000 kids.”

(Host) Lyons says the troupe started out small but its outreach grew as a result of the positive feedback from kids and educators.

(Lyons) “This our 25th anniversary year so we’re pretty excited. We started out in 1982, and with only 4 programs addressing disability awareness and then as we grew and the schools started asking us if we had other topics we could address, we started adding new programs.”

(Host) A ceremony for the Puppet’s Choice Award, awarded annually to an individual who contributes to and advocates for the welfare of children in Vermont, goes this year to Allen Robinson, Executive Director of IMANI Health Institute.

The Silver Anniversary Award was created this year to honor Madeleine Kunin for her lifetime of public service. The celebration takes place from 6 to 9 o’clock tonight at Temple Sinai in South Burlington.

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