Sesame Street. Avenue Q. The Grove Counseling Center, Inc.
What do these three have in common? Puppets, of course. And the best medicine of all. The Grove Counseling Center
has been treating behavioral health and substance use disorders in Central Florida for over 40 years. Their outpatient facility in historic Longwood serves adolescents and adults. Their residential facility, The Grove Academy, is located in Winter Springs and serves teenagers struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. MicheLee Puppets
has brought educational and entertaining issue-based productions to over 1.7 million Florida students in the past 25 years.
Beginning in late June, MicheLee Puppets partners with The Grove Counseling Center to provide a unique form of rehabilitation, therapy and community outreach. Professional puppeteers from MicheLee are providing a workshop series for students in the mid to upper treatment levels at The Grove Academy, the adolescent residential facility. During the workshop series, students will participate in theatre and team building games, script development, puppet and set design and construction, and performance.
Tracey Conner, Executive Director of MicheLee Puppets, elaborates, “We’ll begin with team-building exercises to create the trust needed for the students to create and perform together. Then, the students will create a puppet show that they can, in turn, perform for other young people, communicating with their peers about living a drug-free life. Our workshops provide skills in teamwork, responsibility, cooperation, leadership, problem-solving, and the arts. We empower young people to have a voice and to express themselves creatively. This is their workmanship, we are just facilitating. We have high expectations.”
Jennifer Small, Executive Director of The Grove Counseling Center, has equally high expectations. “With the Michelee Puppets Summer Program, The Grove will be able to offer a creative outlet for our adolescent clients, providing them with new ways to express their feelings over the challenges they face as teenagers today. This program will serve as a wonderful addition to our treatment program.”
The twenty-minute production focuses on respect for self and others and is appropriate for elementary-aged audiences. If you have a school or community group interested in a production, please contact Chelsea Dygan, Development and Outreach Coordinator, at (407) 588-1147. For information about The Grove Counseling Center and their outpatient and residential programs, call (407) 327-1765 or visit thegrove.org.