Smoke On Sesame Street This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Ernie, do you know what this is?"

"It looks like a big metal cookie, Bert."

"No, silly! It's a smoke detector."

"A smoke detective. Like Sherlock Hemlock?"

"No, Ernie! A smoke detector!!!"

A roar of laughter sounds from the 30 kindergartners sitting on the floor before us.

Each month, we visit our friends at local elementary schools in the county. Through a program run by the American Red Cross, many high school students enhance Rockland's classrooms with a puppet show. We arrive at the classrooms toward the end of the day and silently set up our puppeteering station in the front of the room. The students watch in awe. When our preparation is complete, we ask the children to sit quietly on the floor in front of us. Mouths open wide, eyes glued to our faces, they listen as we introduce ourselves. "Hi, my name is Amy."

"And my name is Rachel."

"HI!" they respond in unison. We explain that we are here to teach them about something very important. They wonder for a minute. We then tell them that we have some special friends who want to tell them about fire safety. Wordlessly, we retreat behind our stage, and two Sesame Street puppets appear. Addressing topics like hot bath water, microwave popcorn, smoke detectors, fire drills, and exit signs, each character sings, dances, and speaks to each other and to the class. After each skit, we test their knowledge by asking them questions and they share their stories and experiences with us.

We find volunteering an extremely rewarding way of benefiting our community and having fun at the same time. In addition to teaching the children, we are learning many things ourselves. Hey, you never know when you are going to have to "Stop, Drop, & Roll!" fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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