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puplover

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Review for CircEsteem Inc., Chicago, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

This is a transformative program for city youth, bringing together a remarkable assortment of kids at all levels from the newbies to the vets. It has a strong educational/homework base with proven results (scholarships, academic achievements) and a physical fun and skills component that is linked to other youth circus groups around the US and Europe. Kids stay with this for years as they learn and grow, and who can blame them despite the demanding effort it takes! Great staff, great kids, great program!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The joy of watching kids do things they frankly never thought possible, and gain that extra measure of poise and confidence by mastering skills.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Dedicated, not all of the parents, but all determined to help Circesteem "make a difference" in a tough neighborhood and with some often challenged kids. Many of the staff are circus performers with major skills of their own; their dynamic is professional

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Reach hundreds of kids instead of just a hundred, and bring some lively and motivating spirit (and great physical stuff like trapeze and gym wheel) to more schools. The results in school performance are widely seen as the outcome, but it's just the start.

Ways to make it better...

As always, there are few resources for many needs, and the staff can often get toasted for want of back office and development help.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Some recent board changes have left some aspects of the organization deeply strengthened, but others less fully served. Some formal board development work is in order for the future.

One thing I'd also say is that...

This is one of those very Odd Recipes that comes out over time with a continuous quality "batch after batch," and the kids themselves become the new mentors of the next batch

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Role:  Volunteer & helped sell refreshments and circus items at a performance.