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Plenary Address
Thursday, July 13th, 2017 - 9:30 am


 

SoCirC (Social Circus Circle)
SoCirC (Social Circus Circle) is a Toronto based charitable organization that uses the social circus modality to provide social development and support for young people on the margins, 14-29 years old. Trained social circus facililtators (and circus artists) facilitate the workshops in partnership with community workers, counselors and social workers. Workshops are participant based and tailored to the specific needs and interests of each individual and group as a whole. We incorporate the artistic and physical skill participants have, or desire to learn, into our exercises while encouraging new creative forms of expression and the discovery of unique skills. We use a progression based learning style to allow for moments of success, to build self-confidence, as well as develop risk management skills.

We create a safe space for participants using the principle of voluntary participation and by integrating dialogue in circle, trust exercises, and social games. The circle is an integral part of Social Circus, and all of our workshops begin and end with participants gathering in a circle. This provides a way for us to see and acknowledge each other in a space where no one is in front of or above anyone else. In a circle, we are equal and connected to one another and can share openly.

SoCirC works in partnership with several community-based agencies and specialized alternative secondary schools that service youth with a variety of needs. Our community partners include SKETCH: a Toronto program bringing arts to street involved youth and Kensington Pedestrian Sundays where our group has an opportunity to perform (supported by the Toronto Arts Council). As well as the Art Gallery of Ontario's free programming for young people: Free After Three. In addition, through the support of the Ontario Arts Council, we bring programming to TDSB public alternative secondary schools, including The Triangle Program, Oasis Alternative: Arts and Social Change Program, Heydon Park, Contact Alternative, Quest Collegiate & Addictions Recovery Program, and the Aboriginal Education Centre Secondary School program. As such, we access and build relationships with a diverse range of participants in our programs, primarily young people dealing with mental health issues, street involved youth, LGTBQ youth, aboriginal youth, youth coping with addictions, newcomers, youth with intellectual disabilities, youth with complex needs or any young person who can really benefit from an inclusive and safe space.