Clowning Around Town

Posted on December 22, 2009

Sunday was awesome! Despite several inches of snow we proceeded as scheduled with the Mitzvah Clown Training in partnership with the Young Israel of Teaneck. The training was attended by almost 20 people ranging from middle school students to adults. It was wonderful to see mother and son and brother and sister teams enjoy the training together.

As part of the training we discussed the importance of Bikkur Cholim (visiting the sick) and the impact Mitzvah Clowning has on young patients, senior citizens and other vulnerable populations. We also learned how to create balloon animals and apply clown make-up. Ultimately, we were able to put into action all that we learned by visiting with the residents of CareOne, a local senior center. Each participant received a kit for them to keep with supplies that they can use for future clowning.

You can see pictures and watch a video that highlights the program and illustrates the impact it had on the participants, residents and staff. The training was one of the best programs that Areyvut has done to date. Throughout the training and site visit there was a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm. Here is some feedback:

Thanks so much for coordinating the program…really enjoyed it and came away feeling very energized to go out there and clown!!Parent

Mitzvah clowning was so much fun!! It was such a great class and I would love to volunteer again!!Participant

The residents and staff had a great time! You can come with the children any time. FYI, some of the residents are still wearing the stickers that they have received.
CareOne, Staff

Abby Stiefel, a 6th grade student who Areyvut met with in September to help develop a personalized Mitzvah Project, deserves to be acknowledged for helping this training come to fruition and for spreading the word to all her friends.

I want to thank the Youth Committee at the Young Israel of Teaneck for partnering with us on this unbelievable program and CareOne in Teaneck for enabling us to put into practice what we learned and allowing us to spend some quality time with their residents.

I want to thank Abby, Ari, Ariela, Atara, David, Dvorah, Elior, Estee, Jonah, Leora B, Leora Z., Marie, Michael, Rena, Shoshi, Sivya and Tamar for making the program such a success. I look forward to clowning around together in the future. Watch your e-mail for information about upcoming dates and times.

We could not have done any of this without “All Ears” or “Venus” (aka Andrea and Ariella) who trained us. I appreciate your help, support and patience in guiding us how to be Mitzvah Clowns and giving us a gift that keeps on giving.

This is what Areyvut is all about. Getting students involved while they are young, partnering with synagogues and agencies in the community and doing a lot with limited resources. I am confident that as a result of Sunday’s training this group will volunteer as clowns for hundreds of hours and will run their own Mitzvah Clown Training in the future. This is unbelievable! The whole goal of Areyvut is to get students involved while they are young and to ignite a lifelong commitment to chesed, tzedakah and tikkun olam. For less than $1,500 we were able to carry out this program which will lead to 20 people volunteering, teaching others how to be Mitzvah Clowns, partnerships with many local agencies and thousands of smiles on children and seniors’ faces. That is an awesome return and something that I will continue to celebrate.

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