Today is my Birthday… I’m forty-five and if you have an old or extra electric oven we need one for the “Circus Suites”: the three bedrooms with a shared kitchen and bath… About an entire train car (my room on the Ringling Bros. Circus Train was about 4.5 feet X 8 feet) in Ludlow, Kentucky . Eleven years ago, we moved back to Kentucky and I remodeled the kitchen in our house and moved our oven to the apartments above our circus studio. That oven served us well for the guests from 35 countries who’ve lived in the “Circus Suites.”
For the past six months I have been working on visas for circus artists from Kenya, Costa Rica and Austria to join us for our 10th Anniversary of Cirque Devou with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, however the pandemic has put all those visas on hold. As the world changes and Cirque du Soleil is about to file bankruptcy, perhaps talent located in the USA will be easier to find.
For the past 12 years, I have been working to develop a vocational training center to use circus skills in non-traditional settings, with hopes of creating jobs for former circus artists. I am grateful to the many organizations that have partnered/hired us using circus to impact outcomes and create positive momentum. The Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) has been instrumental in helping drive creative development via the circus in Ludlow, with help from their revolving loan fund, as well as, the workforce development teams. I met Naashom Marx when she worked at the NKADD. She served with the US Peace Corps in Bangladesh. A few weeks ago Naashom posted that two locals, serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in Zambia, were evacuated with 48 hours and had nowhere to call home. Once quarantine was over they’d need a place to live after they took six connecting flights from: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Ireland, DC, finally to Dayton, Ohio.
The “circus suites” are next door to the Ludlow Theatre. This week our family was down cleaning, my wife, Renee was down scrubbing the toilet, sinks, I was scrubbing the floors, our kids busy washing dishes, vacuuming, changing sheets. Our new guests John and Kate stopped to view the apartment, with 10 + feet of social distance, they said “Don’t worry too much about cleaning it. We lived in a hut with a dirt floor for the past two years.”
John and Kate are Northern Kentucky natives. In Zambia they were volunteers with the environmental program so they worked with their community members on gardening and tree planting.
Their secondary projects focused on malaria and HIV prevention with adolescents. They are part of the 7000+ Peace Corps volunteers globally who were unexpectedly pulled from their countries of service due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. “This is the worst welcome back party ever,” they said.
John and Kate are a young married couple who have always been passionate about volunteering and service work. They are AmeriCorps Public Allies alumni. During their time with AmeriCorps, Kate worked for Interfaith Hospitality Network (2015-2017) and John worked for ReNewport (2016-2017). Additionally they have volunteered at Camp Heart to Heart, (a camp for children affected by HIV) for ten years, Make-A-Wish and CISV, a youth organization that promotes global peace through camps around the world.
Over the past ten years Circus Mojo has welcomed talented volunteers from IJGD essentially the “German Peace Corps”. These talented and inspiring young people have worked alongside circus artists and the youth of Ludlow to help us develop our community into a very special place, one that is resilient even in these dynamic times.
With no jobs and unable to collect unemployment, Kate and John are living for free in our “Circus Suites”. The stove top works but the oven is broken. If you have an electrical oven you’re not using and can donate it, Rick, our Total Bad Ass Roustabout and Marine, will pick it up and scrap ours too.
Rick grew-up in Ludlow and he’s done amazing work helping us build /demo/ haul, if you need a TotalBadAss Roustabout, he’ll pick up any metal scrap you have. Call him at 859-409-6620.
If you have an oven to donate please email me email@example.com. If you’d like to support our mission you may donated here. Mark your calendars for Cirque Devou Swinging with Circus Mojo & The Devou-Doo Daddies on July 11th 2020. The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s Conductor J.R. Cassidy and I guarantee the The Show Will GO On!
Paul Hallinan Miller
Founder & Chief Goof-Officer
The Peace Corps Mission
To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.