Circus Service to Families





History Logs

Project Description

Country: USA

Location: San Diego, CA

Total Budget: $3,500

Area of Focus: Economic and community development

Activity Type: Community Development: General

Summary: Fern Street Circus provides free-of-charge circus education and performance to families in low income neighborhoods.

REQUEST. Funds will be used to pay for youth and family participation and preparation in the annual Neighborhood Tour.

BACKGROUND & PROGRAMS. Founded in 1990, Fern Street Circus (FSC) through its parent 501 (c)(3) for-purpose organization, Fern Street Community Arts (FSCA), has been serving needy children, teens, and families across San Diego County. Fern Street Circus believes that artists must be paid and supported in order to facilitate the most effective circus performance and teaching.

FSC's core programs include:

1) the year-round, twice weekly After-School Circus Program, offered free-of-charge at Mid-City Gym in City Heights. The program for youth ages 6-17 is taught by professional, paid circus artists from around the world. Students can learn tumbling, clowning, juggling & hoops, unicycle, tightwire, and contortion. To be added in summer 2018: trapeze and trampoline.

The organization was one of 8 nationally to participate in a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) study by the renowned Weikart Center for Quality Youth Program. The Weikart report, published in January 2018, is the first comprehensive SEL study on circus education, and showed that uniformly, the circus arts programs meet or exceed Weikart standards for model after-school programs, and have a positive, life-long impact on student learning.

2) The Annual Neighborhood Tour. The anchor of FSC's production year each October, the Tour brings high quality professional circus performance to parks in low income neighborhoods. The show features a bilingual (English/Spanish) ringmaster, live band, and San Diego's finest circus artists playing in a set created by prominent local visual artists. The show also integrates After-School Program students performing alongside their coaches in a multi-generational circus show. Performers come from Guinea, Colombia, Canada, the U.K., and the United States.

Local social service agencies create concurrent events, so that they may take advantage of FSC performance to attract people to their own service celebrations. The Tour is supported entirely through grant funding and is free to families in neighborhoods.

3) Year-round education and performance projects include in-school residencies in Title I schools in the Diamond neighborhoods and fee-for-service performance in neighborhoods and for special events.

Project Contact Person

District: 5340

Rotary Club of: San Diego Downtown Breakfast

Primary Contact: John Highkin

Email: johnhighkin@yahoo.com

Project Status

This project is "Paid". This means that the funds from the district have been issued. This project is now being ready for implementation. When this is done, a report needs to be uploaded on the project page and the "Reported" button needs to be clicked, then the status of the project will be changed to "Reported".

Project listed for the 2018-19 Rotary Year.

Proposed Financing

Existing Contributions Towards This Project





San Diego Downtown Breakfast (5340)









Project Supporting Documents

Project Photos

History Log Entries


System Entry

System Entry: Creation of project page.


by John Highkin

System Entry: Project reverted to "Published".


by John Highkin

System Entry: Project is now "Fully Pledged".


by Mike Whitehurst

Grant needs to be signed by two club members.

Add names to history log of second signers, including

in box below, add names and email for distribution list.

Go to description page click "start signature process".


by Mike Whitehurst

Please select a second club member to sign this.

Go to the History Logs tab of the administration page and add them to the distribution list (second section of the page). Then go back to this page to start the club signature process again.


by Mike Whitehurst

Please add a second club member.


by Mike Whitehurst

System Entry: Project sent for club signatures.


by John Highkin

System Entry: Project signed by John Highkin.


by Mike Whitehurst

System Entry: Project reverted to "Submitted" - Lynn Hamilton added to the list of signatories.


by Lynn Hamilton

System Entry: Project signed by Lynn Hamilton.


by Mike Whitehurst

System Entry: Project approved by the District Approval Committee.


by Mike Whitehurst

Please go to the Documents tab and print/complete/upload the Bank Information form. WHEN UPLOADING PLEASE CHECK THE BOX FOR RESTRICTED ACCESS. If the information is the same for both grants, you only need to submit this form once.


by Scott Carr

System Entry: Check for DDF payment issued by Foundation Treasurer.

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