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Talented Teacher of The Glenholme School Joined No Strings International for a U.N. Humanitarian Mission in Kurdistan

Washington, Connecticut (PRWEB) June 16, 2015

An exceptionally talented faculty member of The Glenholme School, a boarding school for young people with learning differences, worked together with representatives of No Strings International on peace-building missions around the world — most recently for United Nations in Kurdistan. No Strings International uses the whimsical medium of puppetry to reach young people in conflicts, disasters and poverty around the world, engaging them through films and play activities with messages that support their safety and wellbeing. Robert Fappiano, an 11-year seasoned faculty member of Glenholme, is one of its expert puppet trainers.

Robert Fappiano uses his unique combination of talents which he developed working with young people with social, emotional and learning differences at Glenholme, along with his puppeteering expertise to aid in peace-building and humanitarian efforts with No Strings. Students of Glenholme helped Fappiano and Lisa Buckley, a fellow puppeteer and Lead Puppet Trainer with No Strings Workshops, create a puppet-crafting workshop that uses common materials such as newspapers to produce tabletop and shadow puppets which they brought to Lebanon in March 2014. The effort helped displaced Syrian children learn to deal with the hardships of war. The pair also traveled with No Strings for a peace-building mission in Egypt in August 2014 and for a sensitization and education mission around issues linked to water, sanitation and hygiene in Sierra Leone in April 2015.

Last month, Fappiano joined Buckley and No Strings for a workshop in partnership with the International Organization for Migration, a UN body supporting people around the world who are forced to flee their homes. With the successful tabletop puppet-crafting workshop developed with Glenholme students in 2014, Fappiano, Buckley and the No Strings team aimed to aid thousands of children in refugee camps across Kurdistan by helping them learn to cope with the tragedies of ongoing war. The peace-building workshop, which uses both table-top and shadow puppets, is designed magnificently for helping people to learn to work together collaboratively. Small teams of young people, usually three or more, must coordinate their effort, communicate effectively, and reconcile their differences to create an enjoyable show while giving everyone a voice. The effort had an astoundingly positive impact on the children and aid workers in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The aim of the workshops is to instruct specialized local staff who are working directly with conflict-affected children. No Strings has created puppet films that engage and entertain children while sharing messages about resilience, hope and connectedness, and the need for effective communication skills — an effort which dovetails well with Glenholme’s philosophy of treatment for its students. The puppet workshops that Buckley and Fappiano deliver opportunities for local staff to learn fun, creative techniques that will allow children to explore the films’ messages further through the time-tested medium of puppetry.

Fappiano and Buckley unequivocally concur, “Puppets speak a universal language of play and inspire creativity and imagination in people of all ages. Puppet-play creates a safe place for young people to express their emotions and come to terms with their difficulties. It fits perfectly within the supportive, child-friendly ethos that No Strings champions.”

Fappiano and Buckley are experts in puppetry design, creation and performance. They each have more than 30 years of professional puppetry experience comprising stage, movie and television productions through industry leaders including Disney, PBS, MCA-Universal, NBC, CBS, Nickelodeon, Lorimar, CTW and Showtime. Together, they are using their puppetry gifts and experience to bring joy and help heal young people in need.

The Glenholme School is delighted to have many individuals, like Robert Fappiano, with diverse backgrounds all working together for the betterment of others. Staff members are artists, designers, musicians, technicians, thinkers, dreamers and creators who contribute positively to those around them and to individuals around the world through their own, distinct experiences. Robert Fappiano is an exemplar of a central focus all staff of Glenholme share, which is the belief that we can make a difference in our world.

About The Glenholme School:
The Glenholme School, a center of the Devereux organization, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) coeducational special needs boarding school for young people with high functioning autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, OCD, Tourette's, depression, anxiety, and various learning differences. The unique milieu teaches, supports, and provides a positive environment for youth to find their strengths for their future in society. Devereux is a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. For more information, visit

About No Strings International:
No Strings International is an NGO (non-government organization) that brings together some of the movie world’s biggest talents to make puppet films for children affected by conflicts, disasters and poverty. Through these films and the follow-up activities where children now work with puppetry, No Strings captures young people’s imaginations in ways they enjoy and connect with, supporting their emotional wellbeing, and saving lives. As well as the trauma and peace-building programme for Syria, No Strings has delivered numerous projects elsewhere in the world that continue to reach thousands of children daily. For more information, go to

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