Andrea Nasser, Health Information Specialist II, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
Each weekend in October 2019, the Fern Street Circus brought joy, smiles and fun to the San Diego community through its annual Neighborhood Tour.
This year's show, "Tales From Friendship Park," featured professional circus acts, musical artists and students from Fern Street's After-School Circus Program in City Heights.
Over 2,137 people attended nine shows which were open to audiences of all ages and provided free-of-charge to the community.
The success of Fern Street's Neighborhood Tour is built on a foundation of partnership and collaboration. The organization worked closely with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department to host free performances at nine parks across the communities of City Heights, North Park, Golden Hill, Mountain View and Chollas View.
Additionally, for the first time this year, the events featured a community health fair two hours prior to every performance through a collaboration with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Central and South Regions.
“We want to enhance the power of the circus to create healthier communities by collaborating with agencies who can help families find access to the healthcare they so vitally need,” shared John Highkin, Executive Director of Fern Street Circus.
Many of the people who attended the health fairs before the show were connected to health services and resources. “The health fair was helpful, and I picked up a flyer on who to call when I need services,” shared one participant.
In addition to the annual Tour, Fern Street Circus provides an After-School Circus Program that teaches both circus and life skills to an average of 50 students each year. The majority of these students perform alongside their teachers and peers during the annual Neighborhood Tour. It's a great way to help students build confidence and strengthen the skills they learn.
“It’s nice to see the kids grow as performers but also as people. It’s been good for the community and good for the kids,” shared Shawn Rover, Chief Technician with Fern Street Circus.
Fern Street Circus provides opportunities for participants to engage with their community, connect with their neighbors and participate in civic life. They energize public places like parks, schools and recreation centers, in an effort to have the circus serve a greater good by bringing communities together one laugh, one tumble and one acrobatic aerial flight at a time.