Help us to create lasting change for over 50 youth by expanding our Social Circus outreach programs!
We need your help to raise $USD12,000 to expand our Social Circus programs and reach 50 new youth in 2015. From its outreach centers in 2015, Performing Life builds skills with youth and communities to overcome extreme poverty. Each child in this program represents an average of 6 family members. Your contribution helps over 300 individuals to create a vibrant present and hope for the future! Please support this campaign to help youth help themselves and their families. SHARE THE CAUSE! Join our IndieGoGo Campaign Event on Facebook: IndieGoGo Fundraising Event Facebook or visit the IndieGoGo website and donate! Help us reach more people by sharing our campaign on your Social Media accounts and make some noise for a good cause! Don’t forget to use the Indiegogo share tools!
WHO WE ARE
Performing Life International, Inc. (Fundación enseñARTE) is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that empowers youth from some of the most impoverished areas in Bolivia by teaching them performance and visual arts as productive skills for avoiding drugs and delinquency while ensuring participants remain in school and have a stable place to live. Since 2006, when the first class of six kids practiced juggling in a central plaza, PL has implemented free programs in social circus, music, educational enrichment, health, human rights, and microenterprise, helping over 3,000 youth and families create better futures through the arts.
Some of the kids we work with don’t even have the money to eat each day. One of the participants recently told us that the only time she eats a decent meal is at Performing Life. We also celebrate each child’s birthday since most of them, upon entering the project didn’t even know their own age, let alone their birthday. These are just some of the ways in which we seek to improve the futures of kids in Cochabamba. Today, the need for this lifeline out of poverty has never been greater.
The Story Behind the Organization:
Performing Life and Social Circus with Bolivian Street Kids
Performing Life was founded as so many nonprofits have been: by one individual recognizing a pressing need in the community and choosing to act. For John Connell, Performing Life´s founder, this moment came soon after he first arrived in Bolivia in 2003.
“Hi, I’m John and I am the founder of Performing Life. I came to Bolivia after graduating high school at 16 and ended up deciding to stay. As would most naïve 16 year olds, I didn’t think about the long-term consequences of not getting on the plane home. I eventually ran out of money and had no place to live. With no money, no job, no return ticket home and a minimal knowledge of the Spanish language, I had to make ends meet however possible. After a few weeks of living on the streets and sleeping on friends’ floors, I saw a kid juggling at a stoplight and thought, ‘Hey I can do that!’
“Since the first day I started juggling I began to see my economic situation improving. I rented a small room and got off the streets. Working on the streets I experienced first hand many of the problems that affect child workers: hunger, drug abuse, violence, social exclusion, exploitation, and, in some cases, death.
“During that time, I got to know a lot of kids on a personal level, some of whom I am still in contact with, like Adalid and Escarlet (who you can see in the video). So I thought, ‘If some gringo who doesn’t even speak Spanish can make it in Bolivia, why can’t kids already living here do the same thing?’
“So in 2005 we started Performing Life to empower youth who live and/or work on the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia by teaching circus skills to help them earn more money in less time, have more time to go to school, and, through our work with their families, ensure that they have the chance to stop working and lead the life that every child deserves.”
WHAT WE OFFER
Performing Life is a haven from the street’s dangers and abuse, a safe, supportive environment where children and adolescents can be creative, develop self-confidence, enjoy a healthy meal, improve educational and social skills, and realize their full potential as valuable human beings.
Any youth between 6 and 18 years old may attend Performing Life’s free classes. After one month, they can ask to join the program. Following home visits, we sign contracts with youth and parents or guardians, outlining mutual responsibilities:
· Circus arts training in a safe, supportive environment with quality equipment;
· Respect for others, regular school attendance, and living in a stable situation;
· Healthy meals after each class, prepared in our cafeteria;
· Academic support, computer literacy, and scholarships to be the first family member to attend college;
· Preventative dental care and access to health and social programs;
· A Microenterprise Program that supports land purchases, home construction, education, and small business development; and
· What every child deserves – opportunities for discovery, play, and growth in a creative, positive environment.
WHAT WE WANT
While helping 50 kids is great we want to help MORE! But we need your help to make this project happen. In order for us to effectively help more kids and families, we need to establish two satellite offices in outlying areas of Cochabamba because so many of the most needy families can’t even afford the 25 cents it costs to get to PL offices. We will serve over 10 different communities full of kids who want to experience the joy of circus.
We have already completed a pilot project in one area where over 100 new kids have participated in the last month. By operating on a small budget and keeping staff to a minimum, we assure that the majority of funding goes directly to benefit the kids and their families.
Funding from this campaign supports creative activities four days per week reaching over 50 youth in two satellite locations:
· Schedule: 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
· Free monthly performances for communities and schools.
Youth learn performing skills such as juggling, diabolo, poi, aerial acrobatics, hand-to-hand acrobatics, improvisational theater, clowning, and more. Check out some of their amazing circus acts in this video!
Basic costs for the two outreach centers are:
· Stipends for Social Circus interns 16 and older who have at least four years training with PL;
· Quality circus arts equipment for classes and performances;
· Part-time salaries for mothers to prepare meals in the cafeteria, providing them with stable employment;
· Setting up two spaces for classes, cafeteria, outreach, educational enrichment, and parent meetings.
FUNDING FOR THIS CAMPAIGN WILL BE SPENT IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:
We need your help to raise $USD 12,000 to expand our programs to include over 50 new youth in our Social Circus programs. All donations are Tax Deductible!
Your donation today makes a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth inspired by Performing Life to create dignified lives and bright futures for themselves and their families. The proceeds of this campaign build a framework for some of the poorest communities in the Americas to bring about dynamic change through solidarity and collective action.
Bonus Perk: Enter the raffle to win a unique Surprise Cirque du Soleil Kit. A donation of $50 gets one ticket in the hat; $100, 2 tickets; $150, 3 tickets. Amounts of $200 and above get 4 tickets. The winner’s name is drawn out of the hat!
All Donors Receive: Heartfelt thank you letter and performance photo e-mailed from PL/FE. Any questions regarding these perks can be sent to email@example.com.
WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT?
The Streets of Bolivia
Bolivia has the highest poverty rate in South America, with two-thirds of its 10 million people living in poverty. Nationally, almost 900,000 children live and/or work on the streets in dangerous, degrading conditions. The population of homeless, abandoned, and extremely poor children is exploding as hundreds of thousands of indigenous families migrate from the countryside into illegal settlements surrounding urban areas. Extreme economic difficulties lead to children as young as 4 working long hours to support themselves or contribute to supporting their families.
Social Circus is a transformative tool, a lifeline for street kids to create solidarity, mutual support, and collective action for success. Studies have documented that regular participation in circus arts improves educational attainment and enhances social skills such as self-confidence and group cooperation. Social Circus engages youth with analyzing their present realities; communicating with parents, local governments, schools, and leaders; connecting with resources; being responsible participants in their own education; and creating positive futures.
Just take a look at our results so far!
Performing Life outcomes since 2006:
· All participating youth are living with their families or in foster care.
· All are attending school regularly and have improved grades.
· At least 90 percent are no longer working on the streets or in dangerous jobs.
· Youth have strong social ties, helping each other and forming positive peer groups.
· Youth are leaders in communities and Bolivian youth movements.
· Youth are awarded scholarships to study English at the Bolivian-American Center.
· Youth are graduating from high school and entering university.
· Older youth are employed as instructors, training the next group of leaders.
· 20 youth instructors and performers participated in a series of Social Circus development programs with internationally renowned organizations such as Cirque du Monde and the Incandescence Circus Theater Company.
· 22 songs written and composed by youth in the Music Program were signed by Heavy Hitters Music, international agents for media productions.
· Youth in the microenterprise program have savings to use for educational expenses, small businesses, and building safe, decent homes.
· Several mothers have dignified jobs with PL, earning much-needed income.
· Three PL instructors were contracted for a week-long Artist Residency in an Idaho public school, sharing youth accomplishments and Bolivian culture with an entire community.
· Over 200 free performances, concerts and events have been presented throughout the Cochabamba area.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand the some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help:
SHARE THE CAUSE! Help us reach more people by sharing our campaign on your Social Media accounts and make some noise for a good cause! Don’t forget to use the Indiegogo share tools!
Join our IndieGoGo Campaign Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1397178520604636/
Visit our Website: www.performinglifebolivia.org
Sign up for our Monthly Newsletters by visiting https://www.facebook.com/PerformingLifeBolivia/app_100265896690345
Read our Latest Annual Report: http://www.performinglifebolivia.org/news/read-the-2014-annual-report/
Volunteer with Performing Life and experience our projects first hand.
Stay in touch! Contact us about other ways you can help.
John Connell – Info@performinglifebolivia.org
Marye Dijkstra – Marye@performinglifebolivia.org