Please Continue to Support Us
December 31, 2015
This has been an exciting year for us in Caring Clowns International. This year, with your help we have raised and donated over $21,000 to several organizations helping children in need in the U.S. and in developing countries. This brings our total donations to help children to over $277,000!
Here are some highlights for 2015:
- Peru Craniofacial Surgeries – In our 10th year with Komedyplast, a U.S. nonprofit that performs free craniofacial surgeries for poor children in Peru, we have helped support doctors with clowning during the screening and post care for children in the hospital. This year, the doctors completed 22 surgeries. The clowns also performed in other hospital wards and around Lima at schools, orphanages, children’s recover center, a girls’ camp and a retirement home. Komedyplast has performed over 160 surgeries for poor children in Peru during these 10 years. All have been successful. We are also proud to say that in 2015, Caring Clowns International raised $4,450 $ for Komedyplast to help with the surgeries.
- The Bufferfly Readers Project – We were able to provide and broker through a local Rotary Club a total of $4,700 to enable a pilot program for remedial readers at the Athlone Girls School in Johannesburg, South Africa. This project provided urgent teaching and intervention to children from low income families to improve their reading level. By all accounts, the program has been a grand success, and may lead to contracts with more schools. The South African national government’s education office is even talking about making The Butterfly Readers project a national standard.
- Nepal Earthquake Relief – We provided $5,000 to support a Nepalese nonprofit called Nourish Nepal. With these funds, they provided blankets, tents and water to hundreds of families devastated by the recent earthquake in Nepal.
- Wall of Hope – We provided $2,000 to a nonprofit called Wall of Hope to support the building of a community center for disadvantaged youth in Gondar Ethiopia. The center will assist in feeding youth, providing them a stable environment to meet, learn and gather, and assist them in developing professional and social skills to be more successful in life.
- The Kumari Project – We provided $5,000 to The Kumari Project that runs a small safe house for 12 orphans in Budhanilkantha, Nepal. This project provides health care, education, nutrition and life skills to these Nepalese orphans. Our grant will pay for the 2016 school year fees, supplies et al for the 12 children in the safe house in an excellent school.
- Local Clown Gigs – We have clowned at a number of events in the Puget Sound Area in Washington State providing smiles on countless children’s and adult’s faces. For some of these appearances, we received donations to help us fund projects helping children. Many, however, are also just our support to the community. Some of these events include the family fun events for the crew and families of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in Bremerton, community celebration events in Manette and Bremerton and a number of Christmas celebrations. All told this year, we performed in 25 events, in the Puget Sound Area. In addition, several of our clowns perform twice monthly at the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. Several other of our clowns in Virginia and Detroit also perform regularly a hospitals and local events.
As you know, we are an all-volunteer tax exempt charitable nonprofit that spends 93% of all donations on the people we support.
Your involvement and contributions allow us to continue to help needy children to be able to live healthier lives.
Thank you for your support! Click to Donate
(Please fell free to pass this note along to your friends and families, as well)
For all of us…a giggle of clowns who care
Jed “Duffy” Selter
President & Executive Director »» Read More
There are two populations who are very child-like in their feelings, thoughts and actions.
One is children with Down syndrome. The other………clowns. Put the two populations together and the result is nothing short of magical.
Deb “Giggles” Foy, a practicing clown for 30 years and member of Caring Clowns International, had the inspiration to share the gift of clowning with adults and children with Down syndrome….not just performing for them….but actually teaching them how to clown.
Giggles put her vision in motion. She contacted the Down Syndrome Guild of South Eastern Michigan and, with the help of fellow Caring Clowns International member Lorrie “LorBelle” Garison and other clowns from the organization, taught a two-day class for 12 children and adults. Proper make up techniques, costumes, performing, balloons. Everything a “newbie” clown needs to know. The special needs kids brought their own natural “magical moment” qualities which can’t be taught.
Upon “graduation” the newbie clowns visited the Sunrise Senior Living community in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
“Bringing the Down syndrome clowns and the senior residents together was magical,” said Giggles. Giggles recalls one parent who attended the senior living visit. She was nearly brought to tears as she watched her son – now as a clown – approach one Sunrise resident who was sitting alone in a corner. She explained that it was the first time her son was on the opposite end of receiving attention. That now HE was giving of himself to someone.
The performance at the nursing home might not live up to “normal” clown standards. Costumes and make up were simple. There were no fancy or complicated animal balloons or sword balloons. But it didn’t matter to the nursing home residents.
“We just shared a moment, a laugh, a smile, a heart-spring connection,” Giggles said. “God wired and made these Down syndrome kids that way….to be child-like and loving. Those are the perfect attributes of a good clown. It’s a gift…clowns are gifts to the people we touch.”
Paulette Duggins, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Detroit agrees that it was a winning formula. “The students were very excited and it was very positive for the seniors,” she said. She credits Giggles and LoraBelle for putting the students at ease and working prior to the class on learning how teaching students with disabilities differs from other teaching methods.
Based on the clowning school success, Giggles and LoraBelle were invited to attend the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention in July 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. They performed in the opening ceremony as a clown, but more importantly presented two sessions to convention attendees. They shared a moving video of the clown class and nursing home visit with attendees at the convention in the hope that other Affiliates would launch similar programs locally in their cities and towns.
“We have 250 other affiliates like us, “ Duggins said. “I think it’s a program others would be interested in.”
Giggles said she got the inspiration to do something locally with a special needs group after returning from an exhaustive but rewarding clowning gig in Africa. Giggles and three other clowns from Caring Clowns International spent three weeks visiting orphanages, schools and hospitals in Ethiopia and Uganda. Caring Clowns International is an all-volunteer, IRS tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization comprised of clowns across the U.S. and several other countries. These clowns donate their time at over 80 events internationally and across the U.S. including orphanages, children’s and other hospitals, events for homeless children and adults, residences for abused women and children, schools for the disabled, retirement center, VA hospitals, prisons and correctional facilities, etc.
The inspiration quickly spread. Lois “Coco” Kerr, also a Caring Clowns International member and board member, hosted a similar clown class in her community in Kent, Washington. Attending were junior and high school students with special needs including those with Down syndrome. Coco, along with Michael “Banjo” Honstain and Cal “Nok Nok” Ainley also Caring Clowns International members, taught a clown class to 15 eager students.
After learning simple magic tricks and balloon twisting, the students entertained residents at Arbor Village Continuing Care Retirement Community in Kent.
Like Giggles, Coco sees the magical connection. “The bonding with the residents, they enjoyed it so much,” Coco said.
The program in South Eastern Michigan and Washington are living proof of the Caring Clown International’s mission — to free the “inner kid” in children and adults alike.
Deb “Giggles” Foy (center) and Lorrie “LorBelle” Garison pose with one of their newbie clown graduates.
Deb “Giggles” Foy and Paulette Duggins, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Detroit enjoy a moment with one of the clown students.
The students learned the importance of make up in expressing a clown’s personality.
Proof that clowning is a lot of fun!!
Jed “Duffy” Selter enjoys a moment with one of the newbie clowns.
The newbie clowns then visited a continuing care community entertaining residents there.
Clown “teachers” at the event in Kent, Washington include Sally “Geniblue” Hansen, Cal “NokNok” Ainle, Lois “CoCo” Kerr, Mike “Banjo” Honstain.
On August 22, Swarner communications who distribute Stars and Stripes to the military community hosted a Family Fun Event for military families. We had lines of kids for each of us for all 6 hours we were there – we smiled and loved every minute giving back to those that protect our country. After the event we were exhausted – I don’t think we have tied that many balloons in one day ever!!!!
On September 12, we we clowned for Manette Fest, a local celebration near Bremerton. Beautiful weather and friendly people. Next week we clown for the families of the USS Nimitz at the Bremerton Naval Base.
The 2015 mission to Peru was a great success, both for the doctor’s effort and for the clowns who brought joy to numerous kids. This was the 10th Anniversary of Komedyplast performing craniofacial surgeries in Peru – all at the single public children’s hospital in the country- Hospital Del Nino in Lima.
While in Lima, Peru this year, the doctors completed 22 surgeries. Over their 10 year period doing this, the Komedyplast doctors have performed 170 surgeries -all of which have been successful.
While supporting the doctors during screening of the children for surgeries, and post care in the hospital, the clowns also performed in other hospital wards and around Lima at schools, orphanages, a children’s recover center, a girls’ camp and a retirement home. The clowns who participated this year included Flossy, Scooter, Sparkles and Duffy.
Plans are already underway for the 2016 mission. Komedyplast is considering expanding their surgical services for cleft lip/palate surgeries to Cajamarca, Peru. If this happens, we would expand our troupe in Peru from four to five clowns. Currently scheduled to participate in the 2016 mission are Duffy, Flora, Sox, and Sparkles.
Mid October to early November 2012, four of us clowns representing Caring Clowns international (CCI) accompanied a group of Rotarians to Ethiopia and Uganda. We have added a page to the site where you can read each clown’s impressions of the trip as well as view some of their favorite pictures from the trip. You will also be able to download a Powerpoint presentation with more information about the trip.