Groh, circus entertainer, trains bodies and minds, giving youngsters confidence;
then he puts them on stage.
A locally-based volunteer, Stephen
Groh, is an experienced circus performer who runs a programme for street
kids and the boys and girls living at Mercy House.
"I train them in circus arts
, gymnastics, tumbling, unicycling, acrobatics, clowning. We do shows
around the city."
In fact they did a show recently
for Jackie Chan who took off his jacket and did a few back flips with
them. Then he helped them with a three-tier pyramid. One of the kids from
the group even had a bit part in the movie being shot here.
Stephen explains the purpose
of his programme: "Circus is a tool, not a goal. I do what I do to give
the kids a positive self-image, to engage the mind and body in the learning
process. They assess their own achievement, they police themselves and
they are part of a group, which is also important. And they have a lot
of fun and that's really a celebration of life."
Stephen also chooses kids who
do well in his programme, and in school, and at Mercy Centre and forms
teams. He then enters them in adventure races in mountain biking, running,
swimming, jungle-trekking, sometimes competing against professionals.
And they do well.
"Isn't that cool?" chimes in
Father Joe. "Our kids have been in public. They've got a lot of social
We did a poi routine,
gymnastics routine, and a human pyramid. Jackie Chan took off his
jacket and even did some acrobatics with us. I even gave him
a set of poi. He then gave a donation to the circus program. He
was a very nice guy and the kids had a blast!
Thanks to Cassandra and Stephen for pictures and
allowing us use of above article.