SENSES Center – Iftar and Party!

Ramadan Fun
By Mina Liccione

On Wednesday, June 29 we headed back to one of our favorite places in Dubai, SENSES Center for children with special needs.

This time around I wanted to do something a bit different. Rather than having our group perform for the kids, I decided to lead a circus arts workshop so that the kids could try new skills and in turn perform for each other.

I ended the workshop with a special sensory arts therapy session that incorporated a gentle underwater theme. The series of exercises induced laughter, wonderment and sensory exploration.

A special thanks to Els Huybrechts and her group for organizing the crafts and iftar that followed. It was a wonderful event and everyone left happier then when they arrived. Mashallah!

To get more involved with SENSES,  there is a new group “We Care for SENSES” that can always use a hand! Here’s their PAGE.senses eid Photos by Els and Karen

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The Shocking Truth About Muslims

The Shocking Truth About Muslims
By 
Originally posted on Emirateswoman.com

Donald Trump caused a frenzy when he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. His worrying attitude brought to light the many myths and stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community. So, what’s the real truth?

In an attempt to send out a positive message and to change the way people think about Muslims, comedian, artist and founder of the UAE’s Dubomedy, Mina Liccione, has made a short film in order to bring to light how ridiculous the prejudices are.

“As a Christian-American married to a Muslim I was horrified when Trump made headlines stating that Muslims should be banned from entering the USA,” said Mina when asked why she created the film. “He said a lot of racist and hurtful things and this statement put me over the edge. Rather than getting angry and doing nothing I decided to use my talent and passion for comedy to do something positive.”

“Muslims are scary, Muslims are terrorists, let’s ban all Muslims,” starts the short film before Mina asks 20 non-Muslims, living in a Muslims country about their what they really think.

The interviewees are a diverse group with varying ages, cultures and religions represented. “I wanted people from diverse backgrounds,” said Mina. “I put together a unique group who would bring unique points of view.”

Kind, graceful, hospitable, tolerant and generous were the most common words used to describe Muslims in the film. When it came to terror, the only terrorising they were deemed guilty of was force-feeding. “There’s so much food,” one interviewee said while laughing. “[Yes, I get terorrised with food] by my in-laws every Friday” joked Mina.

While some may question Mina’s technique, she insists making light of the topic will actually help people understand more: “I’m a comedian by nature. I think humour is the perfect tool… It’s makes you laugh and then it makes you think. A lot of truth can be told in jest and since it’s not aggressive more people tend to listen.”

“I read online that in the USA only 38 per cent of all Americans actually knew a Muslim personally,” added Mina. “People associate Muslims with what the media portray. I thought why not show a funny side to these negative stereotypes to help people who might not have any Muslim friends see that they are just like the rest of us… Human, caring, creative…”

Mina is now co-writing a stand-up comedy show with her husband Ali Al Sayed, combining their lives from different worlds in the hope of helping break negative stereotypes in a humorous but honest way.

Watch the video and don’t be fooled by people like Donald Trump.

 

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Gaza Camp

In December, 2015 we returned to Jordan to perform and lead circus arts workshops for the children residing in the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash. Truly an incredible weekend of laughter and play! We can’t wait to return in the new year.

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Hospital Humor Program

Golisano Children’s Hospital: A Day to Remember
By Mina Liccione

After many months of planning, emails, meetings and approvals, I was thrilled to finally start our outreach Hospital Humor Program at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Though I reside in Dubai, I return to New York throughout the year and will make regular visits during each trip.

The day started out with a creative workshop with a group of young inpatients, some parents, and interns, in the colorful communal activity room. I entered the space and introduced myself as “Dr. Mina La-la-lee-lee-lu-lu-shnee-nee-pssst.” I then explained that “some doctors specialize in feet, some in the spine, but I specialize in the funny bone! And today I am going to make sure your funny bones are healthy!”

We then did a series of rhythm and funny face exercises, improv’ comedy games and circus skills. I ended the workshop with a solo physical comedy, song and tap dance performance dedicated to the children. I gave them all big hugs while joyfully saying “the next time I come back to the hospital I don’t want to see you! I’d rather come visit you at your home instead and we’ll play there!”

Then it was time to make clown rounds to the rooms of those who couldn’t come to the workshop. I had the great privilege of meeting, and sharing laughs, with many young patients. My heart was heavy as their smiles grew. In those moments life made sense. The reason why I am a comedian, and an artist, made sense. I felt my higher purpose thrive every time a tiny giggle emerged. We often forget just how much of an impact we can have on others. Something as small as making someone laugh, telling a story with funny character voices, singing a lullaby or putting on clown noses and pretend to sneeze is just what the doctor ordered!

Spirits were raised.

Laughs were shared.

Friendships were made.

It is in moments like this that life makes sense. A moment of clarity, when you are living your higher purpose and helping someone through a painful time. It was an honor to spend this precious time with the patients and their families.

I can’t wait until my next trip to New York!

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Shore Winds Christmas party – New York

Comedy for Christmas Cause

CWC teamed up with Knights of Columbus Council 178 to put together a show and a special gift giving Christmas party for the residents of Shore Winds Center in New York. It was a wonderful afternoon of cheer & gratitude. Loneliness was nowhere to be found in the room as spirits were raised and stress relieved.

Following the party, a woman approached our team and said “I have been in a wheel chair for 8 months and today I danced! Its a miracle… because of you I danced!” We are still emotional from the love in her eyes…. that was by far the greatest compliment and Christmas gift one could ever get.

Thank you to Alex Liccione, Tony Liccione. Mish’al Eskander and Knights of Columbus Council 178 for your time, energy, passion and LOVE! Happy Holidays to all!

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Want to join CWC?

Would you like to become a CWC volunteer? We are starting a new mailing list that will update volunteers on upcoming monthly CWC events, free training days, hospital and center visits. If you would like to get involved please send us an email to LOL@vivadubai.com with the subject “Clowns Who Care”. Please do let us know if you have a special talent that you would like to share. Some examples include: singing, music, dancing, circus, story telling, art project guide, baking cup cakes, children’s script writing, photography, organizing rides for volunteers and/or guests…..the list is endless! You can also join us on our Facebook page for daily inspirational posts and to stay in the clown loop. Our page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/clownswhocare

Welcome aboard! It doesn’t take much to make a difference 🙂

CWC visit Palestine Children’s Relief Fund