NBC26 Cares: BABES Program
Volunteers are using puppets to teach Green Bay area 2nd graders about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Video by nbc26.comvideo
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A group of volunteers are taking the battle against drugs and alcohol into Green Bay area schools. It's called the BABES program, and it's run by the Volunteer Center of Brown County. They're using a unique approach to teach kids to just say "no."
Myth Mary, Donovan Dignity and Recovering Reggie. They're just a few of the puppets who visit Kennedy Elementary School to deliver a serious message.
"It's a very important lesson that we're trying to teach the children, trying to stop misuse of drugs and alcohol," said volunteer Barbara Beaver.
Beaver is a retired teacher who's donating her time to the BABES program which stands for Beginning Alcohol and Addictions Basic Education Studies. Every week, Barbara and a group of volunteer puppeteers put on a show for second graders.
"Sadly, drug and alcohol abuse is always going to be a problem," said Emily Villwock, a second grade teacher at Kennedy Elementary.
Villwock knows her students will benefit from BABES. She remembers listening to the program when she was in second grade.
"These people would come in from the community and spend a half hour of their time with us and teach us things that we were learning about, but it was just delivered in a different way so that we could really understand it."
And now Emily's students understand it too. When we asked them what they learned from the puppet show, they had some great answers.
Yadiel Marrero said, "All alcohol is bad for kids."
"And if somebody offers you them, you should say no," added 7-year-old Jack Van Boxtel.
The puppets teach the children how to make good decisions and the negative consequences they may face if they make a bad choice.
During the program, one puppet explained, "People who've been drinking and try to drive often have accidents."
Beaver believes it's important that kids understand that help is always available.
"I think children need to feel comfortable with adults and feel they can come up and interact with us... So I think that's what I feel good about."
Barbara and the other BABES volunteers take great pride in knowing that they're helping kids live a positive, healthy life now and in the future. They reach nearly 900 students every year and more volunteers are always needed to continue spreading the anti-drug and alcohol message.