Three classes complete the program, and students are trained in clowning techniques, and explore the art of surprise, playfulness and self discovery. Classes are a combination of lectures, interactive activities, and supervised practicum experience. The small classes are a supportive environment to learn new things often outside one's comfort zone.
Students gain an understanding of ageing and the dementia process. In addition, working closely with long-term care homes, the practicum provides an opportunity for the Caring Clown to gain hands-on experience. Students submit written journals outlining their practicum involvement and undergo a final interview with the course instructor.
After completing the program, there are also training workshops offered throughout the year to help further develop skills as a caring clown i.e. clown character, music, movement and dance.
This unique program is one of a kind in North America. The program began in 2008 as part of Programs for 50+ at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University.
Students and graduates of the program, for the most part are retired or work part time so that they are free to attend day time classes from mid November until the end of April.
Caring Clowns come from all walks of life. Some have been teachers, social workers and business professionals. They are at the stage of their lives when they want to take on a unique experience, give back to their communities – and learn the skills to become a Caring Clown.
Although we wear red noses, our costumes and characters are more reflective of eccentric visitors than traditional parade or birthday clowns. We’re more like those odd, out of town cousins who drop in unexpectedly. Caring Clowns, through Ryerson University, have a partnership with the Toronto Long-term Care Homes and Services. Upon graduation, students have opportunities to volunteer in one or more of the homes. Currently, there are Caring Clowns in 9 of the 10 Toronto Homes, as well as Baycrest.
Those completing the program are eligible to volunteer as Caring Clowns. Volunteer to suit your schedule -weekly, monthly, or something in between.
A rewarding volunteer position that makes a difference for those living with dementia, their families and caregivers.
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