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Clowning Around This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Goofing around in mismatched clothes with a big red nose and a huge pink wig was one of the most fun times I have had, and I was making a difference. About once a month at my high school, a group of great kids we call the Clown Ministry gets together to have a blast volunteering at nursing homes, children’s hospitals and fairs.

When I heard the announcement about joining “clowning,” it definitely sounded like an innovative volunteer experience. After I spent an afternoon learning to make balloon animals with the coordinator and a few friends, I was ready for my first clowning experience.

This was only the beginning of many great experiences I would have with our group. We would meet at school wearing our wildest clothes. We painted our faces white and drew on big red lips. When we arrived at the nursing home, I began by talking and laughing with many of the residents, making them my best balloon animals. My nerves quickly turned to confidence when I saw the amazing smiles that appeared on the faces of so many of the men and women.

When one clown started playing the piano, several residents jumped joyfully into song and began to dance. It was amazing to watch these older people break out of their shell, act younger, and have a lot of fun with us. One woman in particular enjoyed the experience. After she finished singing one song, she confided, “Maybe they’ll all look at me and say I’m crazy, but what the heck, at least I had a good time.” Her words made all of us realize that our good attitudes and laughter were making a positive difference for these folks. Even when we were not in our clown suits, we have learned that smiles are contagious.

Clowning has given me the opportunity to meet lots of great new people and bring them happiness, plus gain insight into the benefits of a positive attitude. Clown Ministry is a club unique to my high school, but it can be started anywhere with a trip to the costume shop, some balloons, and a desire to share some smiles.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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