Social Circus is What's Right with the Region

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ST. LOUIS - eTradeWire -- People may think circus is just for entertainment - fluffy and sweet like cotton candy. But Circus Harmony is St. Louis' only social circus organization, using circus arts to motivate social change. It is not a heavy lift for Circus Harmony which has been building character in individuals and bridges between communities in St. Louis since 2001. Now, they are being recognized for their positive impact in the St. Louis community.

On Thursday, May 7 at FOCUS St. Louis' 23rd Annual What's Right with the Region Awards Celebration , Circus Harmony will be honored in the category of Fostering Creativity for Social Change for being an organization that has harnessed the power of the arts and imagination to bring about change in the region. FOCUS, the region's premier leadership organization, will honor 20 individuals, organizations, and initiatives making a difference at this event. These honorees were nominated by the public and selected by a panel of community judges for their impact and service to the community. The community is invited to help recognize Circus Harmony and the other honorees at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

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Recognized around the world as one of the top social and pre-professional circus schools, Circus Harmony entertains and inspires over 85,000 people a year. Using circus arts, they help young people define themselves instead of being defined by their race, religion, socio-economic status or neighborhood. They provide opportunities, job-readiness training and teach life lessons that enable students to be able to work anywhere in the world.

In addition, Circus Harmony positively impacts the lives of over 1200 St. Louis metro area children a year through their educational classes and programs. While these young people are learning to flip, fly and fling, they also learn important life skills like focus, persistence, and teamwork.  Learning circus with others teaches trust, responsibility and cooperation. Perhaps the most important experience for children in their programs is the opportunity to meet and interact with children from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds than their own.

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Unlike programs that only work with a certain segment of young people, Circus Harmony purposefully brings together children from all economic backgrounds. Through circus, they not only get to know each other but develop strong bonds that last beyond the program. The teaching and performing of circus arts is how Circus Harmony addresses racial disparity and equity. For Melvin Diggs, a graduate of Circus Harmony who now performs with Cirque du Soleil's touring show Luzia, the program took him away from his neighborhood where drugs, violence and gangs ran rampant. "Circus didn't change my life," he said. "It saved my life." It is stories like Melvin's that make Circus Harmony (https://circusharmony.org/) "What's Right with the Region."

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Source: Circus Harmony
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Filed Under: Non-profit

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