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Shiloh ASP "Children" Travel the World

Aaron and Stephanie at a Shinto shrine Torii (gate) in Nagasaki, Japan.

Aaron and Stephanie Peabody travel the world and return to Shiloh After School Program to teach the children about the countries they visit. They even traveled to Japan over the summer, visiting different locations in Nagasaki. Aaron and Stephanie are the creation of Vickie Johnson, Shiloh ASP coordinator, who modeled them after “Flat Stanley” another well-traveled character. Through a contact in the Japanese Association of Charlotte, Johnson discovered that Yuko Pilkey and her family were planning a visit to Nagasaki. The Pilkeys were gracious enough to let Aaron and Stephanie tag along and even dressed them in traditional Japanese kimonos so they would be comfortable.

“We also have Aaron and Stephanie dressed in traditional clothing of India, although they couldn’t fit an actual trip into their busy schedule,” said Johnson. Since Shiloh ASP has families from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, sometimes the characters go home with children over the weekend and return on Monday dressed in the traditional attire of the “host family”. Once they return to the After School Program, Aaron and Stephanie are mounted on the walls of the Shiloh Elementary gym. Visitors enjoy seeing the different countries represented on the wall including Venezuela, Sweden, Australia, China, Vietnam, and Ecuador. Aaron and Stephanie even brought back souvenirs in the form of wooden plaques when they visited a family of Peruvian heritage.
Although the characters are suffering from jet-lag due to their travels, they have imminent plans to visit Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark. Not only do they travel to other countries, but they are even anticipating a local day trip with plans to return dressed as Native Americans. According to Johnson, the characters are a tool she and her staff use to teach children about different countries. “The children have enjoyed seeing the many different outfits and have learned about the traditions and customs of the countries that Aaron and Stephanie “visit”,” said Johnson. “They travel because I don’t,” she said with a smile.
(Thanks to the Pilkey family for the photos in Japan.)

Written by: Karen Smith
Posted: Sep 30, 2010 by Karen Smith

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