Calgary Cares: Personalized puppet messages spread smiles

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Calgary Cares: Professional puppeteer offers free personalized videos
A Calgary puppeteer is making free, personalized puppet videos for anyone who asks. As Lauren Pullen reports, it's a way for her to spread smiles during the COVID-19 pandemic. – May 6, 2020

Her public performances may be on pause, but Michelle Warkentin is still sharing something pretty special during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of being on stage, the professional puppeteer is turning her talents to personalized puppet videos – free for anyone who wants one.

“I’ve seen so many people do such wonderful things,” Warkentin said. “I thought: ‘what can I do?'”

The free videos are aimed at lifting spirits, whether it’s through a special birthday wish or simply a message saying hello.

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“I’ve heard a lot of stories, people sharing a lot of their struggles, and having somebody take the time to make them a personalized message has really seemed to make a difference,” Warkentin said.

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And they definitely have.

“I was so amazed,” four-year-old Kiran said with a huge grin. “I did not even know she would know my name!”

“It’s really special for us and for her,” said Rusveer Kaur, Kiran’s mom. “I know she’s still watching it.”

Warkentin’s already made 50 videos – each one unique for the person requesting it.

“The response has been really good,” Warkentin said.

She uses 15 different puppets and decides, based on each request, which puppet would be the best fit and what they will say.

If you would like to request a personalized puppet greeting you can find out more on Warkentin’s website or Facebook page. 

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