The PACER Center COUNT ME IN® puppets are designed to help children and adults learn about disabilities and chronic illnesses in an effort to bridge the gap between typical students and those with disabilities. This program, originated in 1979, has reached over 350,000 children and adults and continues to teach the message that all children want to play and learn to the best of their abilities.
Through a generous donation by Joe and Suzie Koscove, owners of Koscove Metal in Colorado Springs, Special Kids Special Families (SKSF), a local non-profit organization providing programs for children and adults with disabilities, was able to purchase the COUNT ME IN® puppets. In dedication to this donation, SKSF has named their puppets the “Koscove Kids”. These endearing, child-size, multicultural puppets each represent children with disabilities and have proven to be effective communicators of the message of understanding and acceptance, helping to dispel fears, myths and misconceptions about persons with disabilities. Their goals for the program are to provide an opportunity for children to explore disabilities in a comfortable learning environment, gain acceptance and foster positive attitudes for individuals with disabilities.
“It’s incredible to see the faces of the children during performances. Their eyes just light up!” said Linda Ellegard, SKSF Executive Director. “There have been so many memorable moments and the kids just love these puppets!” SKSF began their puppet program in 2013 and performs across Southern Colorado with plans to expand into Denver. They have modified scripts provided by PACER to cater to various performances for preschools, elementary aged students, daycare centers, youth groups and other community opportunities.