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By Val Hilliker 

Fort McMurray was an amazing experience – a Grade 3 student who hadn’t spoken in two years is now speaking to her classmates and teacher. Her volunteering to assist in my show triggered the change.

I used this child for the remote magic drawing board bit, where I turn the child into the star. It is all because of them that the board comes to life. I asked for a volunteer who had courage as their core virtue and her hand went up, I never would have seen her hand . I always ask the teachers to choose the student but this time they indicated to me to do that and insisted that I chose her.- the teachers saw this child’s hand go up showing her courage for the first time.

As she approached me at the front I knew I had a teachable moment presented to me. I also knew that with the five Strategies of the Virtues Project behind me that this would be enough to show the audience all five strategies.I asked the audience for their helpfulness in encouraging her with her courage and they clapped for her very enthusiastically. This was a teachable moment for all of us.  I asked her to take a deep breath in and with each breath she stood a little taller and I could see her gaining courage and confidence, and then I said I see you are courageous.

With this part of my show I get the student to draw a puppet on a magical white board. Then  later in the show when the puppet that they have draw springs to life I let the student take the credit for it’s animation. I say, you are going to have to bring a pen at recess and sign autographs and let your classmates know how that worked.

While she was on stage with me she spoke not a word and became confident and courageous, she took a bow and went back to her seat with much applause.  It was one of those moments that I will never forget. Her first bow was hard for her to do so I got the audience to really encourage her and as she bowed I threw the pupils in and then removed them so she didn’t see them go in. I do this three times and her bows to the appreciative audience got very strong. Her class mates knew how hard this was for her and I saw and recognized the improvement by commenting on her courage. I did not know what was going on in this girls life and the whole audience did know she stopped speaking two years ago. 

Back at the staff room waiting for a ride to the next school the teachers were speaking of the young lady and how she was talking to her class mates. The teachers then told me she hadn’t spoken for two years until after the show.

Now she has a voice and courage to try new things. I believe I was just at the right place at the right time with the right message. It had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the board, message, and she was ready to break loose.

In no am I taking credit for something that happened, just enjoying the magical awe filled teachable moment. The Virtues Project has taught me that using these virtue words with the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project are enough and now I too am a believer. In recognizing the virtues and trusting that they are enough.

Val Hilliker Comedy Ventriloquist  Virtues Project Master Facilitator

World Laughter Leader and  Puppet Creator                

Cell 403 874 5713                          

May copy as it is, thanks.

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