August 24, 2023

20 Years, 20 Friends: Circus Up

Our 4th highlight in our 20 Years, 20 Friends series – all leading up to our 20th anniversary in 2024 – is one of our program partners who offers unique and engaging experiences for our Achievers.

Congratulations to Circus Up for being #4 in our 20 Years, 20 Friends countdown!

Friends of the Children-Boston connected with Circus Up in 2018. Circus Up's mission is to use circus arts to overcome social barriers and build community with people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. They envision a world where inclusion is the model, access is the norm, and play, creativity, and diversity are celebrated.

Their program teaches various forms of circus arts, including tumbling, balancing, juggling, and aerial silks. These classes provide space for our Achievers to work on several of our core assets – perseverance and grit, self-determination, find your spark, belonging, and positive relationship building. Throughout the years, we’ve had several groups of Achievers participate in the Circus Up program. In fact, a few of them are even in Circus Up's community performance troupe, Kirkos.

It’s been amazing to watch them learn new skills, see their confidence and self-esteem grow, and build new relationships with members of their community. Circus Up’s talented coaches utilize the strengths of our Achievers to push them out of their comfort zones and build trusting relationships with each student.

Here are two of the many stories about the positive impacts the program’s had on our Achievers:

Louise*: Louise was an elementary Achiever who was incredibly shy around new people, but she’s also a gifted athlete. She participated in one of our first circus arts classes, and her talent was recognized by her coaches. They asked her to join their community performance troupe, Kirkos, participate in their summer camp, and eventually recruited her sister who also shared these gifts. This opportunity pushed Louise out of her comfort zone, allowed her confidence and self-esteem to grow, and she soon was performing in front of large groups of people. She had the opportunity to travel and connect with youth across the country who shared a similar passion. We were lucky to have had this partnership to give Louise the perfect outlet to discover this passion and overcome her stage fright.

Damon*: Damon is an elementary Achiever who also participates in Circus Up's community performance troupe, Kirkos. Like Louise, Damon first became involved by participating in the circus arts classes through Friends-Boston. Damon is an incredible gymnast, and it’s rare to pass by him without seeing him do some kind of flip. His coaches recognized his talent during class and asked him to join their troupe. He’s been performing with them for over a year and is participating in their summer camp. Circus arts provide an outlet for him and has served as a supportive community through tough times over this past year.