The Birthday Party
Most of the time the clowning that I do is at birthday parties. At these events the birthday child receives a balloon bouquet, is the center of attention, and my clown buddy for an hour of silly clown fun. A few years back I started thinking how awful it would be to be a kid and never have, or be invited to a birthday party because it was not economically feasible.
Then I had an idea. I thought about the local homeless shelter and learned at any one time there may well be 25-30 kids living there. So every year since I have put on a birthday party for Pom Pom at the homeless shelter. I am always able to fit it into my schedule by having it during the summer months. We always have the traditional birthday party treats like cake, ice cream, punch, candy, games, balloons and of course a present for everyone!
Now how does one who is on a limited budget or depends on clowning to eek out a living throw such an event? This is what I do.
I approached a service club, (Thank you Early Risers Kiwanis!) in our area and told them about my idea and they loved it. They asked how much I needed to produce it and that was it the birthday party was on! I am pretty frugal with their $150.00 donation. Another area merchant, (Walgreens) makes a donation of poloroid film for my instant camera so that the kids can have a photo memory of the event. I make the cake myself and buy all the candy, ice cream, goodie bags and punch. I use the clubs donation to purchase a gift for each child living there on the day of the party. Each child gets a gift wrapped present chosen especially for them. I visit the shelter the week of the party and get a list of all the children's names. The list also tells me whether they are a boy or girl and their age. Then it's shopping time. (My favorite part!) It is so much fun choosing the gifts. I spend $10-12 dollars for each child depending on how many kids there are. I try to get a few extra things in case new kids arrive.
Years later kids will come up to me and tell me, "You were at the homeless shelter when I was there." And then they will give me a big hug.
That pretty much says it all.