Posted on March 20, 2013
There are three different ways in which one could get involved in Areyvut’s Mitzvah Clowning program.
The most effective way is to participate in what we call our “core group.” Participants pay a fee and receive a clown kit, clown outfit, supplies for the site visits and have a project coordinator who oversees all aspects of the program. There is an initial training that explores what is Mitzvah Clowning, how to role play different scenarios and participants learn how to make balloon animals and apply clown make-up. After the training, they immediately put into action what they learn and have monthly visits throughout the academic year to senior citizens, children with special needs and others in need of healing and/or a friendly visit. Participants are encouraged to attend as many visits at their schedule permits and to continue to clown for as many years as they would like. As I write this, we only charge for the “core group” once and we have participants who have been Mitzvah Clowning with us for at least three years. So pay once and participate the rest of your life. That is one of the many reasons why we say Mitzvah Clowning is the gift that keeps on giving.
The next option is a Mitzvah Clowning elective at a day school or Hebrew school. This group is similar to the “core group” but it generally runs only a few classes, a trimester or semester. We invite anyone who participates in an elective to join one of our “core groups” and to continue with Mitzvah Clowning after the elective. We charge the host agency a fee for the elective and sometimes they pass part or all of that cost onto participants.
The final way to get involved in the Mitzvah Clowning program is a “one-shot deal.” This can mean a training at school or Bnai Mitzvah party that includes a site visit. It differs from the other models in that after the initial training and site visit it is not structured for ongoing involvement. Any time we do this model we strongly encourage schools to set it up so that participants commit to doing it in an ongoing way. Doing so makes it more meaningful for the host agency, participants and those they visit. Unfortunately, sometimes places simply do the “one-shot deal” and where possible we try to work with them to ensure their participants continue with this unique and powerful program.
Any joy and cheer that is spread is amazing, however, the more one gets involved, the more fulfilling and meaningful the Mitzvah Clowning experience will be for you and others. Come join us!