Big Ideas: $100,000


SoCirC will serve up to 240 youth ages 14-29, living on the margins, offering free community social circus workshops with performance opportunities in indoor & outdoor community spaces with an anti-oppressive framework. Social Circus uses circus arts as a tool for social intervention by developing physical, mental and social skills through physical activity and artistic expression. Using traditional circus arts fused with contemporary & creative new disciplines inpsired by youth interests we focus on experiential learning, creativity, community and social development rather than the acquisition of a mastered physical skill. Circus skills are easy to conceptualize and allow for gradual increase of physical activity, personal risk management, self-regulation, and self esteem , creativity and expression We will provide nutritious meals to energize youth, and tokens to allow access to programming. We always work in tandem with community support/social worker and trained SOCIAL circus instructors always planning carefully, running each workshop based on the needs and interests of the participants, and following up after each workshop to address any social support that may be needed.

SoCirC drop-in workshops will be hosted in MLSE Launchpad facility providing accessible programming for youth. We also partner with Cirque du Soleil and co-facilitate social circus training for local circus artists and community workers to help contribute to the program and have a full understanding of Cirque du Soleil and SoCirCs social circus approaches, and the populations we are working with. We partner with SOY (supporting our youth, youth support services for LGTBQ2S+ youth 16-29) at Sherbourne Health Centre who provide 1 to 1 counseling if needed, community worker support, food and facilitation. Outdoor experiences take place in parks, outdoor circus spaces, camp groups and Toronto Island. We will be offering a circus camping retreat for youth, combining the skill learning of circus and survival skills many of these things overlapping: knot tying/rigging, pitching a tent, climbing, story telling etc). Another outdoor trip will be to try flying trapeze in a beautiful outdoor space, as well as many trips to enjoy different circuses visiting Toronto such as Cirque du Soleil.

The programs demographic focus is intersectional; our youth is primarily young people who identify as LGTBQ2S+, and also includes those living with addictions/struggling with their mental health/adaptive and differently abled youth/ those with special needs/indigenous youth/racialized youth/young people with unstable housing. We target young people who encounter various barriers to artistic/creative/active programming and often feel on the fringes. We create an inclusive, supportive space to be creative/expressive/active/to feel a sense of belonging, part of a unique community where each is welcome as they are as circus traditional began that way. We will do outreach by doing 5-6 intensive mini 1-2 week school visits to specialized alternative schools that are primarily focused on these populations. (The Triangle Program -LGTBQ2S+ high shcool/The Aboriginal Education Centre/Oasis Alternative.. etc offering a taste of program to a wide variety of youth, first building relationships then introducing them to our community program.
Trained Social Circus instructors/community/social workers, facilitate a safe space built through trust exercises, dialogue in circle, social games and optional group work. Our circus activities are done in adaptive ways, through slow progressions achieving moments of success, self esteem building and self and group reflection in discussion. Youth have opportunities to share their creations in multiple venues including Pedestrian Sunday Kensington & Pride Toronto transforming street corners/stages into places of fun, creativity, changing negative youth stereotypes of youth & sharing this unique community where diversity is celebrated.

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SoCirC (trade name) / Social Circus Circle (Legal Name)

Location: Toronto