Based on our personal experience, we believe that all platforms, no matter big or small, are invaluable to these groups of unique children and youth with respect to their self-esteem and confidence which is fundamental for their mental, social and emotional well-being, especially when their gifts/talents may not be visible in their school campuses at present.
This leads to our story, which we’d love to share with you.
In December 2017, we have put together a puppetry video production “The Tortoise and The Hare – Making Better Choices” by “Einstein Juniors”, a group of 5 budding puppeteers from 9 to 14 years old, a blend of mainstream and learning/physically challenged children.
In this truly inclusive environment, we saw that everyone put in his/her best to make a good show, which we subsequently uploaded on social media for public’s access. We have received positive feedback from the viewers. However, this is not the end yet! This production has also received a certificate of recognition of its efforts on behalf of people, animals and their environments awarded by Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, USA in mid of 2018. These recognition have been motivating and somehow played a part in strengthening their self-esteem and worth in their subsequent progress.
Beryl, who is the puppeteer for the hare, is diagnosed with autism. Her mother, Cyndi, observed that she started to become more confident and active in her school drama club. She is now focusing in qualifying for NAFA Foundation Program which may eventually lead her to its diploma in Theatre (English Drama).
Erica, who is the puppeteer for the light bulb, is visually impaired. Her mother, Lay See, made the similar observation that she became more motivated in contributing to her school environmental science club and subsequently received a certificate of achievement which is a school’s commendation award (Clubs/Societies) in 2018.
As for Yu Hern, the son of Li Fong, who is the puppeteer for the trash can, is diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss at birth and flaws in his articulation. He is currently studying in US public middle school and used to have low self-esteem. Things started to change gradually and one of which is that he chose to enroll in Theatrical Studies as his elective in spite of his handicap. He had moved forward to take up more challenges, e.g. to attempt above-level testing and is currently profiled as gifted and talented student in US education system. He is also part of Duke University Talent Identification Program and Johns Hopkins for Talented Youth.
While these youths are pursuing their goals more purposefully now, we parents also learned that as we are advocating for our children, we too need such platforms that allow other stakeholders in the communities to realize and recognize that these challenged youth can also create value for themselves and others and hence give them their greater support. With this, we believe that these youth will be able to pass it forward with a healthy mental, social and emotional well-being in place.
With this intent, Perfectly Unique Festival 2019 is created….