Catch a smile, not a cold

Catch a smile, not a cold
By Mina Liccione

This month we decided to do something a bit different for Catch A Smile Day!

I posted this message on my personal profile and was thrilled to receive a bunch of nominations.

Gooooood morning! Last week I was given a voucher for a manicure & pedicure at a really nice nail salon as well as a Glambox. It was such a nice gesture from the event organizer. When I got home I thought to myself “I have so much and am so blessed. I would rather give these gifts to a woman who could really use a smile.” Then I took the idea a step further. This month’s “Catch A Smile” – Random Acts of Kindness around the World Day is May 21 and the suggestion is to do something kind “for those who help others for a living.” I would like to put together awesome care-packages for some people and need your help. Can you please nominate women and men, in the Dubai area, whom work really hard to to take care of others and could use some cheering, appreciation and a surprise gift basket delivered to them? Please send your nomination including their name and why you think they deserve it to our Clowns Who Care Project Inbox or Thanks!!!

Twelve women were nominated by the public. Their stories ranged from dedicated pre-school teachers to a Greek humanitarian to a school teacher whose husband recently passed away to a female security guard who often goes unnoticed to a hardworking nurse who literally helps save lives for a living. We were very touched by all of the nominations and were honored to be able to bring a smile to their faces. Our gesture was very humble but you could tell it was greatly appreciated.

To round things out, and include men, we also surprised some members of the cleaning crew who work on the American University of Sharjah Campus and later headed to a small shopping center to hand out vouchers to hard working employees there.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate as well as those who nominated such deserving women. In addition we would like to extend our gratitude to Omar Al Gurg and Rabee Morra who helped us with our deliveries. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Once our hearts and eyes are wide open to kindness, you will see opportunities to help those in need on a regular basis. It doesn’t take much time or money, just the desire to spread some joy. Won’t you join the movement?

We love hearing your Catch A Smile stories! Here are a few we received this month to inspire and encourage you.

Lakshya Yoga ‘s Act of Kindness of this month: free yoga session for 60+ labourers!”

“My mother and I decided to prepare lunch meals for the staff of the store in our building. They always deliver to us, we thought we would deliver to them this time!”

The next Catch A Smile Day is scheduled for Wed, June 25. If you have an idea for June’s “good deed suggestion” let us know! For more information, click here: 

Lakshya Yoga 's Act of Kindness of this month: free yoga session for 60+ labourers!

Lakshya Yoga ‘s Act of Kindness of this month: free yoga session for 60+ labourers!

Special delivery time!

Special delivery time!

CWC Party Xtravaganza

Everyone left happier
By Mina Liccione

On April 28, 2014 we organized our first annual Clowns Who Care Party Xtravaganza. We knew it was going to be fun but had no idea just how MUCH fun! The party was set to start at 2:00 pm and at 1:33 pm entered a big group children with special needs and their families. In this day and age of “fashionably late” it was much more fashionable to be early! Mashallah these families were in need of a good laugh.

Fifteen minutes later a bus arrived with another big group of guests. Ten minutes later another wave came in. Hundreds of guests came all dressed up and ready to party.

Upon their arrival our “hello team” instantly greeted everyone, gave them a gift bag and made sure to make them smile. When they entered the room they were surprised with a number of activities including balloon twisters, a craft table where they could make their own hand-held clown puppet and a photo booth prepped with all kinds of funny props.

Then came lunch. TIME Hotel not only sponsored the venue but were kind enough to also provide an array of finger-foods, beverages and desserts that kept coming! In addition, Barakat sponsored fresh fruit juices and our friend Yasemin brought many boxes of donuts for all to enjoy.

Once their bellies were full of food they were ready for some entertainment. I don’t think they were expecting a full show but boy did we give them one! The show comprised of a number of diverse dance numbers, live music, improv comedy, stand-up and a very special performance by our new friend James.

James sent us a message saying:

“hi are you still looking for performances for Friday I have special needs but I don’t let that stop me from singing its my pation!!!” 

How could we not say YES?! James took the stage and sang his heart out as did our other friend, young Ali, whom has down’s syndrome. The crowd went wild with cheer and inspiration.

The Xtravaganza concluded with a dance party. Stress was relieved, spirits were raised, calories were burned, hearts were filled. I have said it before and I will say it again. If you haven’t partied with kids with special needs you haven’t really partied. AND if you haven’t been hugged by a person with special needs, you are truly missing out! The unconditional love, gratitude, honesty and PURITY of the soul is unlike anything else.

I would like to personally thank a lot of people who made this party not only happen but a HUGE success. Thank you to our core CWC team Ayesha, Abel and Ali for your endless support and tireless hard work. Thank you Meena and Gulshan of SFS group for spreading the word and inspiring me everyday. Thank you TIME Hotels for your massive generosity in sponsoring the venue, food and helping us with transportation for the families in Ajman and Sharjah. Your entire team were nothing but kind and helpful. Thank you Action Care for leading such a wonderful craft table. Thank you Slava Noor and the UAE Goodwill Photographers for capturing such precious memories. Thank you to all the performers who rocked the stage! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the show. Thank you to the volunteers who came early to help set-up, put up decorations and later played with and helped the kids to ensure they all had a fantastic experience. Thank you to my AUS students who jumped on board and took on any task that was asked of them with a huge smile, including twisting balloons!

My heart is still extremely humbled by the joy that filled the hall. I learned one important lesson, that these types of events need to happen MORE OFTEN. There are a number of smaller circles but not enough times when all the different UAE groups can come together and celebrate, make new friends, get support and simply LAUGH! We have decided to try and make the Xtravaganza a bi-annual event, rather than annual, in hopes of keeping the waterfall flowing and bridging those gaps.

If you would like to get involved, let us know! Like our page and send us a message of interest. We have a few more events happening between now and summer as well as our on-going monthly “Catch A Smile” Day where people from around the world perform random acts of kindness in hopes of inspiring others to do the same and creating a ripple effect of kindness.

Photo credit: Ayesha Fernandes, CWC Project Manager