Clowns on Call
The only program of its kind in the bi-state region, Clowns on Call brings laughter, healing, cheer and the wonders of circus to hospitalized children and their families. The program’s performers are experienced professional artists, skilled in multiple genres, including music, juggling, magic, improvisation, and slapstick. Spearheading the program is Claire Wedemeyer. Wedemeyer makes ‘clown rounds’ with partners, going room to room, entertaining at bedsides, as well producing shows in activity areas and playrooms. On select rounds, Claire partners with first section violinist Angie Smart of the St. Louis Symphony in collaboration with the SymphonyCares program.
The delight expressed by patients and families is evidence of the healing brought to bedsides every week by Clowns on Call. By learning to spin a plate or balance a feather, young patients are not only entertained, but become active agents in their own recovery: appropriate physical activity is encouraged, minds are awakened by magic and music, and frustrations released through laughter at a clown’s comedic misfortunes. The work of health care providers becomes easier when children are distracted from the discomfort, pain, tedium, or gravity of their immediate situation.
Since its inception in 2011, Clowns on Call has had a substantive and measurable impact on the lives of over 3,000 young patients and their families at SSM Cardinal Glennon and Mercy Children’s hospitals. As many of those served by the program are coping with life-altering illnesses, consistent visits by Circus Flora artists is vitally important. In the words of Keith, a four year-old cancer patient, “Tuesday is my favorite day. That’s when Claire the Clown is here.”
In the news!
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Underwriting support generously provided by:
Dana Brown Charitable Trust
Dula Educational & Charitable Foundation
John Allan Love Charitable Foundation
SSM Cardinal Glennon Foundation
The Trio Foundation of St. Louis