This CATCO puppet show puts a spotlight on special needs.

WHO: Puppeteers Dayton Willison and Cassie Gress, with some of the Kids on the Block

WHERE: Columbus Performing Arts Center

WHEN: March 9, 2017

THE BACKSTORY: CATCO began performing Kids on the Block puppet shows around Central Ohio during the 2015-16 school year. The national program has troupes in every state and more than 30 countries. Performances teach students to embrace classmates with special needs.

The puppets all have names and personas to make them more relatable for young audiences. On the cover (from left) are: Melody James; Mark Riley, who has cerebral palsy, wears a helmet to protect him from seizures and uses a wheelchair; Valerie Perkins, who sports a cheerleading outfit, has spina bifida; and Michael Riley is Mark's twin brother.

Thanks to a corporate sponsor, the program expanded this year to serve more schools and incorporate a show on bullying and school safety.