Caring Clowns International recently awarded a $3,500 donation to the Side By Side Early Children’s Development Program in Aliwal North, South Africa.
Side By Side (formerly Second Table Ministries), a 13 year old nonprofit located in Poulsbo, WA, provides life changing resources for disadvantaged families and children in rural areas of Aliwal North and Sebokeng, South Africa. The $3,500 Caring Clowns International grant will be used to help continue the early childhood development care of 100+ children ages infant to five years old.
Side By Side’s President, Wendell Verduin, wrote to us….”You’ve helped the kids and teachers at Aliwai North keep going during some very tough times. They, we, appreciate you more than you can know.”
His note was accompanied by this wonderful picture of smiling faces!
Caring Clowns International has been connected with and supported Side by Side for several years. We became aware of Side By Side through a Rotary presentation. Since that time, we have been involved in supporting them and their president in various ways, including grants for their programs. This is our second grant to them for their Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program.
Our first grant was to support the ECD program in the purchase of materials to “Brilliant Boxes.”
The Brilliant Box is an ECD tool for children from birth to five years. It includes beanbags, shapes, blocks, crochet, paint and brushes, music and instruments, color crayons, puzzles, counting charts, play dough / clay, scissors and glue. The boxes help equip educators and home mothers to stimulate children. The program improves children’s intellectual, physical, social and emotional and creative development.
Last Saturday, four of us clowns- that would be Duffy, Flora, Flossy and Scooter – made the trek from Kitsap County over to the Seattle side of the Puget Sound, to the Lynwood Rotary Rummage Sale. This is their 7th year putting on the rummage sale to raise funds to help in the local community.
Our trip required a ferry ride from Kingston to Edmonds (about a 30 minute crossing). And, we met some new friends on the trip.
Caring Clowns International Adopts Project to Brighten Kids’ Holidays
(June 2017) — The Caring Clowns International Board of Directors recently approved adopting a project called Kidzz Helping Kidzz. The project was started last year by seven year old Zachary Darner in Bremerton, Washington and his nine year old friend Ryan Downey to collect and give 50 toys to children in local Puget Sound children’s hospitals during the Holidays. After soliciting for new toys door-to-door and in businesses, the two boys exceeded their goal and gave 259 to kids. Zachary’s goal for this coming Holiday is to give away 1,000 toys. To help start things off for Kidzz Helping Kidzz this year, the Board also approved a donation to the project of $1,000 to purchase toys.
Caring Clowns International will assist Zachary in getting toys from local businesses and department stores for the project, and will help publicize and market the project.
Caring Clowns International is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
When the four Caring Clowns International clowns arrived at the Instituto de Salud del Niño San Borja (Children’s Hospital) in Lima, Peru on the first day of their 10 day medical mission they were introduced to David Mata. David is the hospital’s photographer and video editor, part of the hospital’s communications office. He was a tremendous asset, helping CoCo, Flora, Duffy and Rose more easily find their way around the hospital and gaining access into each department. And, it helped that he spoke wonderful English, another “gift” for the four non-Spanish speaking clowns who would have struggled on their own in the large 700-bed hospital.
Very quickly, the four clowns learned that their escort was more than an expert guide. He was a very talented and gifted photographer….and a clown himself!!
David’s “career” as a clown began in 2010, when as a volunteer he was visiting the hospital and saw hospital clowns. “From that moment,” he said, “I wanted to be a hospital clown” and “Poyoyo” (or Dr. Poyoyo when in smock) was born.
Poyoyo founded 3.16 Payasos de hospital (loosely translated as 3.16 Hospital Clowns) which is run through his church, Biblical Church Emmanuel. In addition to the Children’s Hospital, the group regularly visits hostels, nursing homes and another hospital in Lima.
Poyoyo also teaches a clown workshop, the most recent one scheduled for next month where they are hoping to add to their 15-member organization. Aspiring clowns must complete a 10 class workshop, held every Saturday over 2 ½ months.
CoCo, Flora, Duffy and Rose immediately established a bond with the young and talented Poyoyo. “His photos were exceptional and really captured our connection with the children at the hospital,” said Caring Clowns International Jed “Duffy” Selter, President of the organization. “While everyone else was taking very staged and posed photos with their cell phones, David found interesting angles and moments with that Nikon of his.”
The four clowns’ only disappointment was that they were unable to participate in David’s surprise engagement event being held the day after they were flying back to the States. David arranged a surprise proposal to his girlfriend Jenna “Pepa”. The proposal was held on the steps of the Children’s Hospital immediately following the group’s visit there on January 22.
The rest of the 3.16 Hospital Clowns were “in” on the surprise as David flipped through a series of hand-written and romantic hand-drawn flip cards conveying his love for his future bride to be.
“We are very indebted to David for not only helping guide us to the various departments within the hospital but for his sense of humor, and his unique gift of capturing amazing photos of us with the children and their families,” said Duffy. Caring Clowns International gave Poyoyo balloons, pumps, red noses and other supplies to help in next month’s workshop and made him an honorary member of Caring Clowns International.
“We sincerely hope that he’s with the hospital again next year when we return,” said Duffy. “He’ll be a friend for life and we wish him and Jenna (Poyoyo’s fiancee) ) a lifetime of happiness and happy clowning. We welcome them both as members of our Caring Clowns International family.”
Caring Clowns International distributed Beanie Babies and hand-made hats while the clowns were on a 10-day medical mission to Lima, Peru.
The pristine Beanie Babies came to us via an interesting connection. Shirley and Darrel Wood brought their collection of Beanie Babies into the Olde Central Antique Mall in Port Orchard, Washington hoping to sell their large collection. Unfortunately, the market for Beanie Babies has declined. But fortunately, the owner knew Caring Clowns International member Sheila “Sparkles” Walters and the volunteer work she does in the community.
Sparkles shared with the couple that her church was planning “Operation Christmas Child” where shoeboxes are filled with useful items and toys and sent to children around the world. And, she shared information about Caring Clowns International’s upcoming medical mission to Peru.
The couple graciously donated their collection and soon Sparkles’ car was filled with sacks of Beanie Babies!!! She took half of the toys to her church and saved the other half for Caring Clowns International.
The Wood’s were happy to have found a good home for the Beanie Babies.
Children also received hand-made hats made by Kathy-Ann Martin, whose Aunt is Lois “CoCo” Kerr, member and co-founder of Caring Clowns International. Kathy-Ann started making these colorful yarn hats five years ago as part of a project with her church. In the past five years, she has made and distributed over 3,000 hats to the homeless and various missions.
Knowing that her Aunt was travelling to the children’s hospital in Lima, Peru, Kathy-Ann made over 100 colorful hats. They filled one full suitcase. The children and their parents at the hospital were delighted with the gift.
“Kathy-Ann was tickled pink to see the photos and how much the kids enjoyed the hats,” CoCo said.