Starting in the summer of 2014, The Center began offering free circus skills classes to youth 10-19 years of age. Juggling, clowning, high wire, acrobatics, plus performing in a show in front of an audience all for free. The only requirement is that the student commit to showing up twice a week to classes for the entire nine weeks of the course. The program is called Social CirKish and is funded through generous contributions from the John C. Kish Foundation.
Beyond the circus skills, which also impart confidence, self-esteem and discipline, the classes improve etiquette, manners and positive interactions between youth of disparate backgrounds and their instructors. That’s the social part of Social CirKish. Inner city youth, LGBTQ youth, and youth of a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds all come together to train in circus arts and acquire more social skills.
Social CirKish at The Center is enjoying continued success as a vehicle for empowering youth in a variety of ways. Andy Ros and Salem Lyles are both longtime members of The Center’s youth program called QVolution. Both have gained part-time employment with Social CirKish. Lyles is a seasoned circus arts performer and works as an assistant to the CirKish instructors. Ros is the de facto youth artist in residence at The Center and creates set pieces for the program’s performances.
Many people know The Center provides services, programming and special events designed to promote the well being of the local LGBTQ community. What many people are unaware of is that it’s also in The Center’s mission statement to provide services for low to moderate income residents of Southern Nevada. For neighborhood youth who live near The Center, Social CirKish is often the first introduction to learning a whole new skill set with the value-add of empowering social skills that will last a lifetime.
Contact Hektor Esparza at Hesparza@thecenterlv.org for more info on class schedules and times.