There are times all you need is a smile to help get you through the day, but smiles aren’t always easy to come by. Last week hundreds of D.C.-area children were at the orange-and-red UniverSoul Circus tent in National Harbor catching a special performance of the single-ring circus, which travels the country putting on shows that include aerial acrobatics, dogs, horses, camels and zebras. This certainly put a smile on more than a few faces.
The evening was special because the youngsters got to see a bonus pre-show that included dancers and a question-and-answer session with circus performers, and because none of them paid a cent even though tickets normally cost about $20 apiece. The children, some of whom are homeless, live in public housing or are from low-income families, were given tickets through a partnership between the circus and local churches, synagogues and mosques. It was the start of a program that aims to give at-risk children in the Washington area tools and training to tackle life’s challenges. Called the Save Our Sons, Sisters and Souls Pathways to Resilience Campaign, it will work with local faith and community groups to offer kids (and their parents) classes and camps, as well as a chance to meet role models.
For kids who live in the District, this kind of distraction can feel very necessary. A 2019 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that 32,000 children in Washington, representing about a quarter of the population under 18 years of age, live below the federal poverty line, and More than 5,500 D.C. public school students were homeless during the 2018-2019 academic year. Among the children at the circus was Teeko Wooten, 13, who had watched earlier in the day as performers in rainbow-swirled clothing lined up to take questions from the young, excited audience. When someone asked how the acrobats had “gotten where you are today,” Teeko paid close attention to the answer — that hard work and focus allowed the performers to get where they wanted to go. Teeko said he felt inspired. That if they could find success with hard work, he could, too. “It just made me feel great,” Teeko said. “Like I believed in myself.”
Sometimes that smile, that belief, can get you through the day no matter the circumstances and that is why this program, this event, are your Good News Story of the Day and you can read more about them here. Find your smile and your belief and carry it with you every day.
Story and Image from The Washington Post