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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

CircEsteem Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Theater

Mission: CircEsteem unites youth from diverse racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds and builds self-esteem through the practice and performance of circus arts.

Results: With a 100% graduation rate from high school CircEsteem participants have received over $500,000 in college scholarships. CircEsteem provides dollar for dollar matching funds for participants saving money for college. To date CircEsteem youth have saved over $15,000 for their educational futures. CircEsteem has doubled their savings in addition to providing college scholarships.

Target demographics: youth gain self-esteem through the practice of circus arts

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1000

Geographic areas served: Chicago

Programs: 1. HomeWork & Circus Work is our after school tutoring program that works with youth 3 days a week combining homework help with circus activities. 2. Saturday circus classes happen for youth Saturday mornings from 8 AM to 1 PM throughout the school year. Come take Silks, Trapeze, Lyra, Tight-rope Walking, Trampoline, Tumbling, Chinese Pole and much more! 3. CircEsteem Summer Camp is a safe, fun, and supportive environment where campers can come and learn all the circus skills 7 weeks out of the summer. 4. We love to do outreach in schools. Invite us to your school where we can teach an after school program every week or a gym class workshop. OR you can bring your school to our location for a field trip! 5. Birthday Parties! Celebrate your birthday at CircEsteem! 6. Invite us to your event where we can host workshops for your guests.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been with CircEsteem for ten years, since he was seven. He was welcomed into the fold from the very beginning and began to form friendships with other circus kids, many of whom he would not likely have crossed paths with otherwise. They have become another family – a very diverse family of varied races, cultures, economic backgrounds, personalities – and they work and play together, teach each other, and look out for one another. Over the years, I have seen his previous mentors go off to college and watched my son and his peers grow into mentors for new younger students. I have felt proud of all of them. They are committed, hard-working, skillful, and joyful in their practice and performances. I do believe CircEsteem fulfills its mission of building self-esteem and breaking down barriers. It has been a wonderful experience for our family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about circesteem! We already know and appreciate the great effect CircEsteem has on our daughter from Saturday circus, but we noticed a shift in summer camp, even in that one week. There was something about the intense amount of hours of camp that really galvanized her sense of belonging to that group.

The changes were small, but unmistakable. Socially, our daughter was one of the gang, both cheered and cheering; she had a place there with all the kids across all ages. Her confidence was clearly improved and her physical presence transformed from uncertain and a little awkward to strong and purposeful. She did her trick and she styled, owning it! It was a site to see, such a change in a short time. Then there's the fact that she suddenly mastered crossing the whole playground monkey bars the very same week of camp--she's translating the confidence and strength that she gained with you all to other spaces and challenges.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My boys weren't sure if they would like circus camp, but at the end of the week they were asking for more. It is also a very active camp--it tired my kids out, which is hard to do!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 6yo daughter attended a week long summer camp in 2015. The camp was run smoothly, it had entry of staff with a good combination of adult experts and a stellar crop of young professionals and blossoming camp assistants. The kids had a great time being exposed to new skills and learned to appreciate persistence, tenacity, and a show person's attitude.

At the end of camp, the kids performed in a wonderful showcase where they showcased their new skills where applause came no matter what the level of skill or success of the "act."

My daughter met new friends, a wonderful group of caring adults, and discovered something new in herself.

Highly recommended for all genders and ages.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the CPS school year was quickly coming to an end, I realized I had no care coverage for my 2 daughters (10 and 8). I looked to friends for baby sitter referrals. One friend, an instructor at the camp suggested I look into CircEsteem. Even with my potential financial challenges, I called and spoke to a staff member who was MORE than willing to talk to me about my options. When I told the girls I was looking into Circus Camp, they both kinda of poopoo'd the idea. They had no choice, I put my foot down, they were going. I was able to work everything out and set up to get girls to camp for their first day. When I arrived at 3 for pick up they both complained (yes, complained) that I was there to pick them up, they didn't want to leave. I couldn't be happier with our experience at CircEsteem and HIGHLY recommend this camp for any kids. My girls love all of the staff and instructors and are having a fantastic experience. The staff is wonderful and more than willing to work with me and my situation. J.C.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been a student, performer, and camp counselor as part of the CircEsteem organization for 8 years, since he was 10 years old. I watched from the sidelines (and assisted as a volunteer) as he matured and gained so much from the opportunity to work with such a culturally diverse group of kids and adults. He traveled with the troupe to San Francisco and Germany, and performed all over the Chicago area. He learned to collaborate very comfortably and naturally with kids from a wide range of socioeconomic and immigrant backgrounds. He also learned to think on his feet, be organized, and be a leader in a group that was much less structured than the typical school and extracurricular experiences that kids have.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We always attend the shows and they are fantastic. Our six year old son has participated in the summer program and enjoyed it immensely. This organization has done great work with the local kids and is a great reflection of what can be accomplished when people of diverse backgrounds collaborate for the greater good.