Food Donation Drive for Laborers in honor of Dwayne

Food for the Soul
By Mina Liccione

A few months ago one of my mentors passed away. His name was Dwayne Calizo. He sang like an angel and had a selfless heart of gold. I first met him the day I applied for my Master’s degree program in San Francisco. I felt a bit uncertain walking into the building that day, questioning if it was the right school for me. Then, he just appeared with a huge grin, a sparkle in his eye and a warm hand shake. I instantly knew that someone very special and important to my journey was standing before me so I followed my improv’ training and said “yes, and!”

Without having him as a teacher, guide and mentor I most likely wouldn’t have gotten through those challenging years. He ended up co-directing my first solo show Della Pancia and helped me walk through my fear of singing… an emotional ballad… alone… while portraying a very dramatic role that also required me to cry on stage for the first time! He got me there.

After graduating I continued to work with him on other projects and our friendship continued to grow. One of the shows he produced was called Sunday’s Best. He would invite a number of Bay Area performers to take the stage and the audience could either pay for a ticket or bring 10 bagged lunches. Following the show the performers and audience would hand out the lunches to homeless men and women and then deliver the money to a charity organization/shelter as an anonymous donation.


I remember him asking me if I would host a few of these shows. I trusted and believed in his vision and of course accepted. He gave his whole heart to every performance, every student, every friend and every cause he believed in. A true practitioner of art for a cause.

Upon moving to Dubai I founded the Clowns Who Care Project after having deeply rooted seeds planted from Jeff Raz (SFCC Director), Paoli Lacy (Clown Therapist), Big Apple Circus Hospital Care program, my father’s passion for charity that he instilled in his children and Dwayne.

To honor Dwayne, I humbly dedicated a recent Dance Concert that I directed to him. The concert ran two nights in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. One of the pieces, entitled Scars (ant-bullying dance for hope), was the one I knew he’d love the most. Why? Because the central topics were racism and bullying sparked by the Chapel Hill shootings and the raise in suicide rates in youth due to bullying. Dwayne always supported the outsiders, the hurt souls, the ones needing to develop… a voice.

To continue his love for charity and giving back, I also wanted to do something special for him this Ramadan. For those who may not know what Ramadan is, it’s a holy month observed by Muslims through fasting, prayer, charity, kindness and reflection.

Ramadan is always a beautiful time of giving and many people of lesser means across the world are fed a daily donated iftar. Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after breaking their fast at sunset during Ramadan.

In an effort to keep Ramadan’s intentions going in coming months we are collecting non-perishable food items to distribute to labor camps. I know Dwayne would love this.

Items needed:

+ Rice bags
+ Dates
+ Cooking oil/vegetable oil
+ Bombay Mix
+ Soda: cans of Coke, Pepsi, Mirinda, 7Up
+ Indian or Pakistani pickles
+ Juice boxes
+ Chips: Box of individually wrapped bags
+ Dried pulses: chick peas, dal, beans etc.
+ Mixed nuts/peanuts
+ Tea
+ Powdered Milk
+ Spices: turmeric, chili, black pepper, curry, salt, cardamom, cloves etc.
+ Flour
+ Sugar
+ Additional non-perishable items such as canned food, noodles, soups…

For those in the UAE wishing to take part in the food drive, items can be dropped off at 1 Lake Plaza – Office1407, Cluster T in Jumeriah Lake Towers Sunday, July 12 – Thursday, July 17 from 12:00 pm- 5:30 pm. For evening timings please email us at

May you rest in peace Dwayne. Thank you for the inspiration and believing in me even when I didn’t.

camp 5

Al Noor Centre Party

Al Noor Center: Performance & Party

On June 10, 2015 we headed over to the Al Noor Center for children with special needs to help them celebrate at their “end of the year” party. HUGE thanks to all the performers and volunteers who made it such a special day for the students, teachers, therapists & parents.
For more information about Al Noor Center head to their page:
Al Noor CWC

Regency Labor Camp Party & Show

After years of wanting to organize a labor camp event, we are happy to say that on April 18th, we had the pleasure of visiting the Regency camps in Al Quoz. We gave them a special party and performance filled with snacks, dance, music and laughter! Little did we know that they in turn they would put on a show for us! What an incredible, and memorable, night! Seeing these hard working men smile and have fun was a beautiful feeling for all of us. This was the first in a series of camp events, if you’d like to get involved please email us at

Huge thanks to all the volunteers, performers, Barakat – Fresh & Easy,Tea JuncTion Café & LouNge for making this event so wonderful.

camp 1 camp 2 camp 3 camp 5

Photos by Imran Ahmed
To see the full album click HERE

Our 1st Arts Camp in Uganda

Reflections: Uganda Arts Camp
by CWC Director, Mina Liccione

I was thrilled to be able to see our idea of a Clowns Who Care Arts Camp come to life this summer. We held our inaugural camp at the Live it up! Home for rescued children in Uganda from July 4-8, 2013. The camp was carefully designed and took months to prepare. Our team of talented volunteers included Ali, Abel, Ellen, Sol, Syma and myself. We focused on 7 core artistic elements: dance, drama, circus skills, visual arts, comedy, rhythm and voice.

Each morning we started with a big group warm-up, call and response rhythms, songs and a new circus skill. We would then split them into three groups based upon their age. Each group would have three, one hour rotations, of dance, drama and visual arts. We would end the day with a final big group activity, ‘a funny’ and a closing circle. On the last day we put together a very relaxed final showing of the performing arts work they created as well as an art exhibit. The children were very proud of their work as were we of them.

Arts camp ended with a graduation ceremony where each participant received a small token of appreciation that of which continued into a dance party. We danced, laughed and celebrated! The children’s confidence had elevated tremendously from the first to the last day as did their communication and creative skills. Their smiles grew bigger by the day as did their hugs. We were sad to have to say goodbye but are blessed and grateful to have shared such precious time with them. We look forward to creating more memories with them and are already making plans for next year.

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who graciously donated art, health and hygiene supplies. The kids and entire staff greatly appreciated them and every single item was put to excellent use. I would also like to thank the team of volunteers for their incredible work and the Live it up! Home for welcoming us with open arms, minds and hearts.

I’ve inserted some photos of our adventure below. Hopefully they will bring a smile to your face and inspire you to take a chance on making a difference in the world. No good deed is too small! We each can create more of an impact than we realize and when our energy is focused on good nothing but joy can grow from it. Though I was meant to be the head teacher/director of this camp…. I was the one who learned the most.

I was reminded to:

  • Appreciate the small things in life and to not take a single thing for granted
  • To value the endless love my parents and family have given me
  • That my ego is not my amigo
  • My sole purpose as an artist is to make this world a happier place
  • The power of teamwork and surrounding yourself with passionate and positive people pushes your spirit to new levels
  • The next time I think my meal is taking a long time I need to remember it takes over an hour to get served in Africa! Be patient.
  • When it rains I must remember that for some people they are celebrating the fact they have clean drinking water coming from the sky
  • All of my years of improv training was well worth the work as it was put to good use!
  • Though I can’t change the sadness, war, pain, violence, strife in the world… I can do good and help those in need. I can change myself and my priorities.

I could go on and on but I will end here. My humbled heart is heavy and I hope this feeling stays with me for a long time.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’ Hungry not only for bread — but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing — but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks — but homeless because of rejection.” ~ Mother Teresa


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Turning a sad day into a beautiful day- Playshop at Mawaheb

We all have certain days of the year that remind us of sad things that happened in our lives. Whether it be painful memories of a tragic incident or happy memories spent with a loved one who has passed away. We had wanted to visit Mawaheb studio the first week that they were back to school and we always go on a Tuesday. Upon looking at the calendar we realized that Tuesday was 9/11. 9/11 is indeed a day of remembrance and for some of us a very sad and reflective day. There’s an old saying “the best way to cheer oneself is to cheer another” and that is just what we did. As always, it proved to be a wonderful day of laughter and gratitude. So on those sad days, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect then take the next moment to help someone else. Take your pain and transform it into something joyous….. the rewards are greater than you can ever imagine.

Mawaheb from Beautiful People is an art school for teen and adult artists with special needs. The staff, teachers and students are extremely talented and passionate. Their art is from the heart. If you’d like to check out their studio, purchase art work or learn more about them click here:

Comedy acting class – the students watch each other present their funny solos

We worked on balancing skills. Here we were teaching the students the flick kick and catch trick.

Time to juggle!

Class clowns 🙂