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The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement Presents Marvelous 'Fun With Puppets'



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“A lot of fun” was certainly had on June 26 when the Sova Dance & Puppet Theater presented its Marvelous Metamorphoses Puppet Show at Newtown Community Center, hosted by the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement and sponsored by The Tapping Solution.

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is a nonprofit organization with a mission to “create safer and more loving communities through groundbreaking next generation social and emotional learning (SEL) programs that are free of cost and suited for all stages of life,” according to its website, chooselovemovement.org.

In honor of what would have been Jesse Lewis’s 15th birthday, the organization hosted a Month of Fun, according to the organization’s chief operating officer Alexis Koukos. The month of virtual events and fundraisers, from dance lessons to yoga, culminated on June 30 with a virtual birthday bash for Jesse, one of the victims of 12/14.

And on June 26, children, parents, and supporters of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement met at Newtown Community Center for the Marvelous Metamorphoses Puppet Show & Workshop. The event, like the other fundraisers in the month, raised money to support providing Choose Love programming for children.

The puppet show was also streamed for those who could not attend.

For those in attendance, the event began by making frog puppets out of paper plates and other assorted decorations.

“Oh. That color is pretty. What color is that?” Scarlet Lewis — founder, chief movement officer of the organization, and Jesse’s mother — asked one boy who had picked up, as he read in response to her, a robin’s egg blue Crayola crayon to color in his frog puppet.

As participants worked on their puppets behind her, Lewis explained the event was “full circle,” as it was held at the community center, which would not have been built without a $15 million gift from GE in the wake of 12/14. It is good for people to remember that the building is there in honor of and in memorial of the tragedy, Lewis expressed.

And as people emerge out of the pandemic’s isolation, Lewis said it is important to follow the words in Jesse’s last message for his older brother, JT: “Have a lot of fun.”

Later, thanks to Sova Dance & Puppet Theater founder Adelka Polak and fellow puppeteer Kendra Garnett, children watched as puppet flowers bloomed, puppet fish hatched from eggs, and a blue sheet of water flowed over the gathered audience, all to music.

Judging by the awed faces of children in the audience, a lot of fun was had.

More information about the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is available at chooselovemovement.org.


Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

Sova Dance & Puppet Theater founder Adelka Polak and puppet “Miss Daffodil” greet audience members at the June 26 event. —Bee Photos, Hallabeck
Mom Janie Eddy and daughter Elise wait to see Elise’s first puppet show on June 26.
As Matthew Zurawski creates a frog puppet, his mom, Kasia Zurawski, offers assistance at the Marvelous Metamorphoses Puppet Show & Workshop event at Newtown Community Center.
Sova Dance & Puppet Theater puppeteers Kendra Garnett, left, and Adelka Polak, present the Marvelous Metamorphoses Puppet Show on June 26.
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