As We See It

At-risk youth gain Cirque-like skills and self-confidence through Social CirKISH

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At-risk-youth gain valuable social and individual qualities through circus acts.
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You couldn’t be blamed if you associated Strip entertainment behemoth Cirque du Soleil with local youth program Social CirKISH. But the only thing the former has to do with the latter is inspiration.

Three years ago, Cirque’s global youth organization arm, Cirque du Monde, consulted with John C. Kish Foundation trustee Matthew Frazier. In turn, Frazier imagined—and then created—a group where (non-Cirque) performers safely taught local disadvantaged kids various circus acts and gymnastics, hoping to instill them with self-confidence and cooperative skills, among other valuable but unteachable social and individual qualities.

Last weekend, kids whom Frazier calls the program’s “all stars”—from two Title I partner schools and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada—performed in public for the first time at both the Las Vegas Film Festival and UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Hall, the latter being Social CirKISH’s version of a Strip extravaganza. ”We’re Vegas, we do it over the top,” Frazier says. “It was very cool.”

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