Kids on the Block provide a unique way to teach children using a form of puppetry called Bunraku. Our puppeteers dress in all black from head to toe and become the shadow of the puppet. The puppeteers are soon forgotten as the child-sized puppets seem to come alive. This style of puppetry and a dose of humor areextremely effective in creating an atmosphere where the children feel comfortable asking the puppets questions about the topic.
The joy that we feel knowing that our hard work has helped a child disclose their abuse, or help children understand the differences of their peers and accept them or teach them to be safe when reacting to abullying situation is very hard to explain. But we leave our office and go home every evening knowing we have made a difference.
South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block is truly a success story from the very beginning and celebrated their 25thbirthday in 2010. The organization was started by a group of all volunteer ladies with a passion for helping children with physical challenges, medical conditions, or social issues to understand and be understood when interacting with their peers. As the organization grew, the requirements placed on the puppeteers became too much for the volunteers, so it first became necessary to hire puppeteers. Then, after several years the volunteer director decided it was time to hand that position over to a paid staff member. However, the deep roots established by these ladies have served the organization well and it has continued to grow more than most might ever have imagined. They truly planted the seed and saw that the organization took roots before handing it over to others. Throughout the years,the many dedicated board members and executive directors have always truly believed in the mission of Kids on the Block and it has therefore maintained a prominent position among the non-profits in our area. A few years ago, we began to think more globally and decided to extend our programs statewide. Since there is really no other act out there that does what we do and we have such a unique way of teaching children; we did not want to limit ourselves to just local performances.
Kids on the Block certainly has a filled a niche with the issues addressed and the manner in which they address them. The humor and candor they use to capture the attention of their audiences causes the participants to laugh while teaching them the skills needed to make healthy decision that will serve them their entire lives. This is the reason I have chosen to be involved with this wonderful organization.
Our number one funding objective is always for programs.That is what we are all about. If we did not do programs there would be no need for us to exist. So our first objective is always to find funds to take our programs throughout the state and to purchase or replace and maintain our performance equipment. We have hired a development director to help with funding for programs outside our local area.
I have seen many successes over the years...children have been taught the courage to disclose abuse, how to deal with bullies, and how to handle life issues, and to accept differences in other children.
The challenges facing KOB are limitations on funding and community awareness. KOB is a pro-active organization. For example, we teach kids how and why not to do drugs, with the hope of preventing the start of such abuse. KOB has wonderful business community support. However, our organization is not as well known as it can be throughout the community and individuals. To bring awareness takes advertisement which takes funding.
These challenges have become more apparent with the downturn in the economy. Businesses andindividuals have not been able to give like they could. This has hurt. This organization has to cut programs when funding is cut. The organization has tried to continue raising money through our fundraisers, grants and donations.
For me, there is no greater success than saving a child from abuse. Kids on the Block has seen this success first hand. Kids on the Block’s entire purpose is to educate children which is why I continue to humbly serve this organization.
Over the last two decades, numerous studies have been conducted to determine how effectively the Kids on the Block educational system achieves its goals of educating young audiences about differences, disabilities, social, and safety issues. The studies range from informal questionnaires and evaluations to formal research studies conducted by trained researchers. The results have been positive and attest to the effectiveness of KOB’s unique education presentation.One such study concluded that KOB programs were a successful method for instilling positive attitudes, toward the handicapped in non-handicapped students. Students receiving the KOB program differed significantly in attitude change scores from the students who did not. This was interpreted to mean that the intervention positively affected attitudes toward the handicapped. moreover the positive results obtained imply the effectiveness of KOB programs and reinforce the efficacy of some of the intervention strategies incorporated by KOB.
Evaluation instruments include four different measures that both qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate our success. They include:
8-8-11 - Email from the Guidance Counselor, Rich Pond Elementary, Bowling Green, KY
I am back at school and planning for my lessons for the year. Of course, one of the first classes I want to get plugged in will be KOB as my students LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the KOB:) I am so hopeful that KOB will be able to join us again this year as it is the highlight of my students year:)
Evaluation instruments include four different measures that both qualitatively andquantitatively evaluate our success. They include:
We recently had a social worker report to us that a young lady she was working with had disclosed that she had been sexually abuse. The report came four years after seeing the Kids on the Block Child Abuse program. However, she attributed the KOB program for giving her the knowledge and courage to make the accusation against her perpetrator. Although, we know situations like this are not unusual, it is rare that we have someone come to us to tell us to keep doing what we are doing...it is making a difference.
My 5 year old daughter came home from Kindergarten and started telling me how to deal with Bullies. I listened to my child site exactly what you would do if you had personally had an experience or witnessed an encounter where someone was the victim of a bully. After she finished I asked where and how she learned what she just told me, she quickly responded the Kids on the Block taught me. Next she described how neat the puppets were and went on and on about the how the puppets acted and what they said in regards to bullies.
After this happened I met DaVita Warren (our previous Executive Director) at a Chamber Function and told her how impressed I was with what my daughter shared about the KOB teaching her how to deal with a bully. I know there are many other children that have gone home and recited the same story to their parents. Kids on the Block works to educate children on many of the difficult challenges they encounter and the bottom line is………..it works!
Dan M. HarbisonPresident & CEONMLS #625953
I tell all new Board Members, you don’t understand the impact of KOB until you actually see the reaction of the kids watching a show, they ask the puppets questions and interact with them in a way I can’t describe, you just have to witness it to understand it.
4. I was contacted by KOB years ago because I am a quickbooks user and they needed an interim treasurer with quickbooks knowledge. When I joined the board, I always thought it would be a temporary position. I attended a KOB show as part of orientation and became hooked. The show was about sharing and was attended by first graders. The look in their eyes as they watched was indescribable. The life size puppets were real to these kids and they were completely engaged in the show. I admire how KOB teaches children about real life issues and encourages discussion with the puppets about these issues.
On a deeper level, KOB also teaches about things that should never happen to a child. A KOB program allows children the opportunity to voice bad things that may be happening in their home environment. When that happens, KOB has allowed children to receive help for a problem that may have never found a voice. To see even one of those instances makes the program more worthwhile than words can describe.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
3. Of course, like all non-profits, continued funding is our main challenge. We hold four fundraisers each year to help pay for the operational expenses of running the office and maintaining the vehicles.
We purchased a building in 2007 which actually lowered our rent cost. Our challenge now is to be able to make some repairs and do some much needed remodeling. We are looking at ways to make this happen through volunteers,donations, and other funding efforts.
Another challenge we face is maintaining a stable puppeteer staff due to the fact that we are not able to offer benefits. Most usually the staff we hire needs access to group medical insurance and we are currently not able to offer that. The vast majority of our staff changes are due to the fact that they leave for a job that offers benefits. We are exploring ways to fund a health reimbursement account as a partial solution to that problem.
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499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507