7: The number of years that I, Paul Miller (Circus Mojo’s Founder & the Founder & Chief Goof-Officer of CircEsteem), have been partnering with Circus Pimparello in Germany for student exchange programs for youth development.
$250,000: The total scholarship amount earned by past students who have participated in these exchange trips to Germany.
$6,000: The amount needed to fund this year’s program (click here to contribute any amount) The German Government’s Social Exchange program will fund the balance of the $22,000 needed. (We’ve raised $1,000 to date 7/5/12 via Kickstarter and $127.34 street performing.)
This trip has served as a great tool in convincing parents and students that the time and energy devoted to circus skills training and youth development is worth the effort. What does Jesse and Sharon have to say?
Now it’s my turn to convince you:
In 2006, I began this program and recruited youth mostly from Senn High School in Chicago, despite that students from here repeatedly fall short of federal standards. It has been quite a challenge for all the kids I’ve taken. In the past we aligned political forces to secure refugee emergency travel documents from the State Department, secured passports, raised funds, and more. It’s undeniable that these efforts have been worth it. Here in Ludlow, KY, the home of Circus Mojo, we’ve had to help the local kids get their birth certificates and their passports for this trip.
At Senn High School in spring 2010, (only) 3.3% of juniors scored high enough on at least three of the four parts of the ACT to be considered “college-ready” for key freshman classes. Senn has a 56.8% Graduation rate.
However, ALL of the students from this high school who came to Germany earned college scholarships, with most being full rides:
Viviane Clement, Carleton College, full ride
Teresa Clement, Lake Forest College, full ride
Cornell Freeney, Illinois State University, full ride
Others like Donald Keme, who earned a scholarship to Truman College, chose the path of vocational skills training and now has a degree from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. He’s currently working as a full-time professional in his field.
Collectively, these shining examples received over $250,000 in scholarships. Graduates are working in their chosen fields of study. While in the general population/economy, many finish college and few work in their chosen fields.
It’s a bold statement to attribute these young people’s success to the circus. But it’s the deep investment made in these individuals through the circus that has helped them rise above. Each took an adventure to Germany to work, perform and learn with Circus Pimparello.
Last year we hosted this cultural exchange, hoping to inspire young people like Erinn and Jesse, who have grown up in Ludlow. Both have been working with Circus Mojo since we opened our doors in this low-income community. Neither child had been to a circus – let alone performed in one. This summer, both will travel in a plane for their first time; both now have passports to explore the world.
Adam Funck, Andrew Kutcher and Sharon Perez Alvarez have been working hard to earn this trip too. Unlike Erinn and Jesse, they came to Circus Mojo with a strong base in circus skills. They now have the opportunity to perform and learn in Germany. This summer, Cora Siebert (2006 Tour), Jesse Dascola (2008 Tour) and Cortez Young (2010 Tour) will lead this group of young people. Andi Wywiorski Teen Troupe Leader from The Actors Gymnasium will also join us.