My Nonprofit Reviews

meredith-george - charity reviews, charity ratings, best charities, best nonprofits, search nonprofits


319 profile views
2 reviews

Review for CircEsteem Inc., Chicago, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

CircEsteem is one of the few truly diverse organizations for children in that it embraces economic diversity as well as racial, national, and cultural diversity. I get to help the youth with homework in CircEsteem's Homework Circuswork program. I have watched kids who have nobody at home who can help with their homework gain expertise, confidence, and the tenacity to try their best at both academics and circus arts. They don't iust learn circus tricks, they also learn how to be part of a team. Fun to watch the youth blossom into their best selves.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a larger space, hire more staff, expand programming, and find generous corporate sponsors.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer

Review for CircEsteem Inc., Chicago, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

When my son was an active, 7-year-old, he took a circus/clowning class after school. He was encouraged to attend the Saturday morning class at an inner-city youth center. Now at 17, he's comfortable on stage, can do circus arts, has a personality for his clown self, but most of all is very close with the circus team: teaches the newer kids, performs with the experienced kids. He is on a gig this morning and doing a different show tomorrow. His circus team has kids from different continents, different economic classes, different races, and different first-languages, yet none of this diversity is remarkable to him; instead they must focus on their next performance. I am an attorney turned tutor. I get to help circus kids with homework after school to balance their after school circus work. The determination and energy of these kids is a joy. Even the young ones can progress and master skills and it shows in their stage presence. And I am working on juggling rings.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

learning to juggle and spin plates. Watching young kids develop circus skills, self esteem, improve literacy, and obtain full scholarships to college. Watching my son start as a young child and now be supporting and leading younger kids.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have a healthy endowment to support us through the lean times.

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

spending time with the kids. I probably would never have met them outside circus.

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

incredibly dedicated! A joy to be around that kind of energy. Most of the staff is unpaid.

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

expand outreach, buy some new juggling balls, pay some of the volunteers, hire our own kids after college graduation, repair the van (or buy a new one), have an outdoor summer camp site, buy more unicycles, have an endowment for the lean times.

Ways to make it better...

I had started tutoring years ago.

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

trying to raise enough funds to sustain us through the down economy.

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

without circus I don't know what our kids would do, what they would have to focus on, how they would direct all their energy, or what opportunities they would find to shine. I don't want to see that light go out for them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer & I am a parent, a volunteer tutor, a board member, and a fan.