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