We're proud to share a CircEsteem youth experience from our wonderful Performance Troupe member: LOLA! We're grateful for her time and amazing insights! Stay tuned for our CircEsteem Parent profile, coming to your inbox, soon! Please take a moment to check out Lola’s amazing, thoughtful story!
At only 13 years old, Lola has spent over half her life developing her impressive circus skills at CircEsteem. When she was only 5-years old she began her journey with CircEsteem. The 7th grader from Peterson Elementary School recalls the first time she learned about CircEsteem, saying, “I saw a show because one of my mom’s students came to CircEsteem and they started performing, so I came to see the show, and wanted to do it. And so, I started coming on Saturdays.” Now four years into Performance Troupe, Lola has found not just a special talent, but a second home. “I can walk the halls with my eyes closed. This is home.”
When asked what keeps her coming back multiple days a week, she gives credit to the positive attitudes and kindness of her coaches and peers, explaining that CircEsteem is a place where making friends is easy because everyone is welcoming and inclusive. She goes on to say that when defining social circus (a method used by CircEsteem that uses circus arts to impact social change by building confidence and leadership in our youth) it means having a safe space where she can be herself. And CircEsteem is a place “where you don’t have to pretend.” For Lola, the existence of circus programs has given her a more mature, different world view when navigating her day-to-day life, a sense of confidence and self-assuredness that’s grown over time as she’s become a better orator and performer at CircEsteem. “Everyone should try circus,” she states matter-of-factly, explaining that social circus provides youth the opportunity to get to know themselves, without being pushed to their absolute limits, all while meeting “the truest friends you’ll ever have.” As someone who did not have many friends when she was younger due to the lack of a found/safe space, she urges, “Let’s not make it that way for other people.”
A safe place for all is a core value that makes CircEsteem a fun environment for youth of all backgrounds and identities. It’s also an important aspect of CircEsteem’s values that Lola appreciates— the “CircEsteem Agreement” — a list of the values that youth and staff follow to make sure they maintain a positive environment. One of Lola’s favorite things on the list is: respect yourself and others, a value that reminds her of the importance of never doubting yourself, and always encouraging yourself to try new things. She believes that with these values in mind, you will always have a positive attitude and be an overall good person.
At CircEsteem, where it’s a safe space to be your truest self, find support in your peers and the adults around you, all while making life-long friendships, Lola says on the matter: “You will create your family here.”
CircEsteem would like to thank Lola for sharing her story and for embodying both the meaning of a true friend and a CircEsteem Youth!
Here at CircEsteem, we’re not just a program, or a location, or a building: we’re a community that’s reshaping the definition of community! YOUR support – as parents, sponsors, donors, and youth – keeps us thriving! As we approach the end of another amazing year, it would be an honor to be a recipient of your generous holiday cheer!
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