Since 1977 The Kids on the Block (KOB) Puppets have helped kids talk about challenging issues. We're taking on cyber bullying!
05/16/2012 - We reached our first goal of surpassing 10%. THANK YOU!!! We're revealing the Zip It Anti Bully Shirt! Check the updates.
Nobody should have to deal with a bully all by themselves,” says Clare Sanchez, one of the puppet characters from The Kids on the Block Program on Bullies and School Safety. "Other kids... adults... it's everyone's responsibility to stop bullying!"
Who Are The Kids on the Block?
The Kids on the Block puppets look and act like real kids. They each have their own unique personalities, talents and abilities. Like real kids, some have been touched by disability, abuse, medical conditions, drugs, prejudice or other social issues. For nearly 35 years, The Kids on the Block, Inc. has been committed to offering communities around the world programming that addresses children’s questions, concerns, and needs. When children meet Kids on the Block puppet characters, they respond to them as peers and readily ask their new friends questions they would not ask an adult. This makes a Kids on the Block performance effective in a way no simple classroom presentation could be. Countless children around the world have asked the puppets their difficult questions, and many others have even disclosed abuse or other personal situations.
We Reach Children Worldwide.
The Kids on the Block, Inc. makes our puppets and educational programs available to children around the globe with the help of educational institutions, hospitals, service leagues and other local organizations. There are thousands of Kids on the Block troupes throughout the United States and in 30 different countries and territories, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Mauritius, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, The Philippines, Poland, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. The scripts and materials have been translated into many languages so children throughout the world can experience direct interaction with our Kids, who openly discuss their disabilities and experiences.
How Is a New Puppet Presentation Created?
Our team researches the issues (this involves a lot of reading and a lot of talking - to children, parents educators and other professionals). We then craft interactive script material which makes challenging concepts accessible to our audiences. After peer-review, the presentations are field tested and refined before they are made available to affiliate Kids on the Block presenters. Sponsors help us offset the significant development costs of new materials. With the support of our Kickstarter sponsors, the Kids will be taking on cyber-bullying!
Cyber-bullying is another kind of "verbal harassment." It may come in the form of repeated text messages (notes) sent to a cell phone, threatening e-mails, rude instant messages, using the victim’s screen name and assuming their online identity, sexually harassing or mocking someone on social networking or other types of websites and even forwarding “private” communications such as e-mails, messages or pictures to others.
Not only will new script material and classroom resources address cyber bullying and harassment, but a new companion book will make The Kids on the Block anti-bullying messages accessible to children who do not have a local Kids on the Block troupe presenting in their communities.
Why Do The Kids Need Sponsors?
Many Kids on the Block programs were developed in conjunction with independent sponsors (advocacy groups, universities, hospitals). In the 1970’s, we developed disability awareness programming to help break down social barriers. In the 1980’s, we received the Surgeon General’s Medallion for Service to Public Health for helping people talk about AIDS prevention. In the 1990’s, we began teaching kids how to deal with bullies, and in 2001, we helped children address their fears in the aftermath of 9/11. Our newest program on emergency preparedness was launched in June 2011 to educate children about preparing for emergencies and coping with the anxiety uncertain situations can provoke.
Research, script development and testing can be costly. When a new program has the support of a sponsor, we are able to direct our resources and staff time completely to the program development process. Our educational consultants are receiving requests for a cyber-bully presentation almost daily. We're tired of telling people that we'll get to it when we have a sponsor. We've come to Kickstarter because it's going to be now or never! Once the cyber-bullies project is funded, it goes on the "front burner." Fully sponsored, the program research and script development phase can be completed this summer -- in time for field-testing and focus groups at elementary school settings within the Baltimore/Washington region in the fall.
Kickstarter monies will also cover rehearsal and production costs, transportation and administrative costs associated with field test presentations, which are made available to test site schools free of charge.
What About the Companion Book?
We're excited about the newest addition to The Kids on the Block Book Series because it features Clare Sanchez -- one of the characters from the bullies program. Clare's back-story was developed as part of her character bio in the original bullies program, so this new story is a prequel, of sorts, since Clare is a teenager by the time audiences meet her in the live presentation.
In our new book, we meet Clare as a fifth grader at Woodburn Elementary, where she learns how it feels to be bullied and to dread going to school. Clare’s is the story of a young girl who refuses to be victimized by her bullies. Instead, she finds the inspiration to help other kids and becomes an advocate “for every kid who’s terrified to ride the bus... for every kid getting pushed around on the playground... for every kid taking the long way home from school...”
Funds from this Kickstarter project will cover book and e-book production and illustrations.
What If You Surpass the Goal?
That would be a great "problem" to have! We have two things in mind... There are currently 200 affiliate Kids on the Block troupes presenting the original bullies program in their local communities. Excess funding may allow them to get the new cyber-bullies materials at lower (or possibly no) cost -- significantly expanding the geographic reach of this project. Also on our wishlist: reprinting more KOB books. The Kids on the Block Book Series has been out of print for a number of years and the medical information is in need of updating. We've only been able to complete It's Your Turn At Bat, book one of the series. Additional funding means we'll be able to update and reprint more books in the series.
What If You Don't Meet the Funding Goal?
For those who don't know how Kickstarter works, you can read more here. In brief: for the next 30 days, you'll be able to make pledges to help support this project, $1, $5, $20 -- whatever you can afford. Select one of the rewards (on the right). You can always pledge more than the minimum to get a reward if you want (and for some packages, you'll need to do so if it must be shipped internationally). You will not actually be charged at the time you make your pledge, and you can change your mind right up to the final deadline.
When the deadline arrives and we've met our goal, then everyone gets charged the amount they pledged and our staff starts putting together our new program on cyber-bullies and book 8 in The Kids on the Block Book Series -- making sure to keep you updated on our progress while getting your rewards out on schedule. BUT (right, it's a big "but" we don't want see) if we don't meet our goal, then the whole thing is called off. No one gets charged, no fees are applied, pledgers simply keep their money. Now, here's why that BUT was so big. If we fail to meet the goal, then no one gets any rewards, and sadly, The Kids on the Block won't be educating children about cyber-bullies and Clare's story will go untold. It's now or never -- all or nothing.
What Are the Rewards?
Take a look to the right and see the different rewards that are available for different pledge amounts. They are all based around The Kids and what we do. Some NEW rewards are just for Kids on the Block presenters! You'll find books and mugs...
You'll also find Kids on the Block notecards and t-shirts and those elusive Hood & Glove Sets for KOB Puppeteers. You'll also be able to snag some exclusive designs we're creating just for this project like this!
Then of course there is the one of a kind puppet, designed in your image, from The Kids on the Block Puppet Workshop.
Your puppet won't look like Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop -- unless, of course, you do!
Finally, if you're inspired to use puppets to make the world a better place, you can start your own Kids on the Block Bullies Troupe in your own community! You'll have everything you need to get started (except the puppeteers) and you'll help us address cyber-bullying at the same time.
What Do People Say About The Kids?
Kids on the Block,
I thank you for putting on a play at our school. You really help me how to solve a problem in my friend is a bully or getting picked on. One of my friends is a bully to a boy named Tommy. I told her to stop picking on him because I can’t be her friend and she stopped. From then on she was not a bully”
“Dear The People from The Kids on the Block,
Thank you for the play. It was very interesting. Can you come again. Please!!!! Your new friend, Patria
P.S. Now I know a lot of interesting things like handling bullies and other kind of stuff.”
“I just wanted to let you all know that this program had a very profound
effect on me as a child when I saw a show in elementary school. To this
day, 30 years later, I have such a place in my heart for all the
special people that your program represents, and I am passing it on to
my child. Keep on doing what you’re doing – it makes such a
difference!!! God bless you all.:)”
Meagan, via Facebook
“Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is Alison and I am 20 years old. To start off with I would like to tell you that your company is wonderful. I first encountered it when I was about 7 years old, at this time I had just lost the majority of my sight due to a tumor on my optic nerve. Your company came to my school that I was at at the time. The ‘puppets’ made me feel comfortable with myself and made me feel that I was not alone. I am sure that your company has made many differences in many other peoples lives.”
Alison, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
Why Don't I Know About The Kids on the Block?
Maybe you were out sick the day the puppet kids came to your school. Maybe you don't have a Kids on the Block Troupe in your local community. Maybe you have never been to a conference where The Kids on the Block appeared. Never fear... you can learn more about The Kids on the Block right here.
No. You may choose the KOB shirts if you are so inclined. Each of the "Anti-Bully" shirts which are specifically designed for this project will be available in a "Kids on the Block" design and an EXCLUSIVE general, non-Kids on the Block design. Check out the updates for the first "Anti-Bully" shirt reveal. We'll reveal more as we get closer to our goal. SPREAD THE WORD! THE CLOCK IS TICKING!
Yes! Not only can you get the "Kids on the Block Performing Shirt" as your shirt reward, but since it's a pre-order you can get it in the size you want... even SMALL!
It's one of the $50 rewards for existing troupes. "Something for YOU and for OTHERS on the Block" - Everything from the $25 level plus a local Kids on the Block troupe gets a copy of the KOB Cyber-bullies presentation for use in their community.