Life is a Circus for Sponsored Athlete and Aerialist Mel Fernandez

Posted by: Garden of Life on Monday, April 14, 2014
While my training and performance schedule keeps me relatively busy, I have made sure to set aside a portion of time to an NPO that is very close to my heart. Last October I had the opportunity to visit Cape Town, South Africa for a brief internship with Zip Zap Circus School. Zip Zap is an organization that teaches circus disciplines to youth of all walks of life, for free. In addition, Zip Zap is involved in numerous outreach programs working alongside the South African community. These programs range from teaching children living with HIV/AIDS a mix of ground-based circus training, to rehabilitating street children and reintegrating them into society.  

While in Cape Town, I saw first-hand the positive impact this organization has on the youth. The children are inspiring with their work ethic, their determination, and their dedication to Zip Zap. Watching the kids train, play, and work with others to achieve a collective goal is heart warming and motivating to say the least.

Since my visit to South Africa, I have since brainstormed ways I could continue to help and support Zip Zap while I cannot physically be in Cape Town. With the help of the Amaluna cast and tour members, and the aid of Cirque du Soleil Headquarters in Montreal, I've been able to donate a number of circus-related items to Zip Zap. I will continue to support Zip Zap as much as I can and visit when tour breaks allow. 

Additionally, Amaluna will have a benefit performance where all proceeds from tickets sold via Zip Zap USA will go towards Zip Zap. The show is Thursday, May 15 at 7:30pm. You can get your tickets at http://zipzapcircususa.org/ It's a wonderful opportunity to see the circus & help Zip Zap's initiatives in South Africa and the USA!

This entire experience has led me to really understand the following quote: 'Realize how fortunate you are to be in a position to help.' Although we live hectic and busy lives, it's important to always offer help when you can. We must help one another to make the world we live in a better place. 

If you're in the area, I'll be performing in Queens, NY next to Citi Field under the Blue and Yellow Chapiteau until May 18. Come run away with the circus for a night! 


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