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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Iftar and Story-telling Evening

We organized a very special Iftar for the wonderful residents, and staff, of the SENSES Center for children with special needs on Sunday, July 20.

The event began with a traditional potluck iftar followed by a performance entitled Arabian Story Hour. The show consisted of comical tales and a new rendition of the classic clown routine Pea Soup performed by Mona, Ray and Omar and directed by Mina.

Everyone had a wonderful time and we thank the many volunteers who donated their time, energy and delicious dishes. In addition, we would like to express our gratitude to Barakat for sponsoring fresh juices and fruit salads.

All the remaining dry food, snacks and juice boxes were left for SENSES Center to use. The extra rice, meat, yogurt and donuts were delivered, and distributed, to a near by Labor Camp in Al Barsha. Many smiles were created that night!

To stay in the loop, please like our page: www.facebook.com/clownswhocare or join our mailing list by sending an email to LOL@dubomedy.com. Regular events will resume in September.

Photos by Abel Fernandes and Ayesha Fernandes. To see the full album click HERE.

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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 http://www.facebook.com/clownswhocare 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

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Chance to help

We are putting together a fantastic show featuring local artists and students followed by a dance party for the wonderful children and staff at the SENSES Center for children with special needs. If you would like to join in the fun, please send us an email to LOL@vivadubai.com. We ask that each volunteer sign-up ahead of time via email as well as bring a snack/drinks to share with the kids. Please include which snacks or drinks you will be bringing when you RSVP. There are 90 kids and 20 staff so don’t be shy. Thanks!

WANT TO PERFORM IN THE SHOW?

Do you like to dance? Sing? Play music? Let us know! You can join our dance team and perform in the show.

WHAT CAN YOU BRING? 

please let us know which items you can donate by sending an email to LOL@vivadubai.com

100 X pieces of fresh fruit: bananas, apples, oranges
100 X individually wrapped small bags of chips/crisps
100 X Juice boxes
100 X Cookies
100 X Cup-cakes
Carton of small waters
Party decorations: balloons, streamers etc.

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EID Party & Farewell to Johnny at SENSES Center for Children with Special Needs

On Thursday, August 30 we headed over to SENSES Center for Children with special needs to join in the EID party fun. Johnny Miller had organized another wonderful party for the children that included music, dancing, treats and of course, laughter! The party also acted as a farewell to Johnny as he is heading off on his Magical Musical Tour where he will be visiting centers for children with special needs around the globe! Now that’s what we call using your art to help heal the world! We wish Johnny all the very best on his new adventure and look forward to seeing him as he passes through Dubai. For more information about Johnny’s Magical Musical Tour and how you can support his mission please click on the link:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Johnnys-Magical-Musical-Tour/136766783093923

Some photos from Eid Party & Farewell to Johnny – Thursday, August 30 at SENSES

The entertainers jam! Few is Much duo on guitar, Johnny on harmonica & Mina on taps!

Dance party! Alex and the girls get their boogie on!

SENSES gave Johnny a special gift!

Hey Mister Tambourine Man!

Thank you so much SENSES & Johnny for the beautiful gift & lovely words!

The music man and one of his biggest fans!

Celebrity Michael Winslow joins CWC

While in Edinburgh this past week we were able to spend time with our friend Michael Winslow and his family. Michael has a brand new show at this year’s Fringe Festival filled with his signature sound effects, comedy and music….and boy is it fantastic! Following his performance we reminisced about his show in Dubai and his visit to SENSES Center with CWC as part of the Dubomedy International Performing Arts Festival last year. That was a great day and we all remember it fondly! Here are some photo memories (top image by Lafi Photography, bottom images by Alex Liccione). If you happen to be attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month do try to check out his new show entitled “Noizey Man”, it will be a well spent evening of joy!