Dr. King, Alex & Clowning Around

Posted on January 21, 2010

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day which for many is a day off of school or work but is also dedicated as a national day of service. Areyvut had the pleasure of working with Alex Meisels and her family to plan a service project as part of her Mitzvah Project. Alex invited her friends to learn how to become Mitzvah Clowns. So instead of spending their day off of school watching TV or hanging out at the mall 25 sixth graders joined their friend and learned how to clown around.

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 Willow Towers, a local assisted living community. Each participant received a kit for them to keep with supplies that they can use for future clowning.Thanks to Sharon 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 director of the program at Willow Towers wrote to me saying “No words can express the joy that you & your clowns put into the lives of our residents” and throughout the training and site visit there was a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm.

It is very fitting that this service project took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The attendees came from several schools including SAR Academy, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and Westchester Day School. They worked together throughout the day and displayed their unity and a sense of purpose. The service project is one where once they are trained they can use the skills throughout their lives. As a result of their day of service and training as Mitzvah Clowns these 25 new clowns will continue to serve, volunteer, help others and will undoubtedly provide thousands of smiles in the future. Not bad for a day off of school.

I want to thank Alex and her family for putting the program together, the Young Israel of New Rochelle for hosting the training, Kiwi Iris for helping with the training and Willow Towers for enabling us to put into practice what we learned and allowing us to spend some quality time with their residents. We look forward to working with and to supporting the new clowns.

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