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Christmas Clown Therapy in Hamano, Japan

Florence McNair

On December 19th, 2007, The Family International in Hamano visited the Chiba Hospital, bringing a group of clowns and balloons, a children’s show group, Santa Claus, and presents for the patients. Our clowns and several volunteers (eight in all) went from room to room, encouraging and making friends with the patients, fashioning hats and animals out of balloons for the children, and bringing Christmas cheer to the otherwise somber wards. We were able to spend time with the children in the cancer ward, as well as the ICU. Among the presents that we brought to the children were 170 new children’s picture books, sponsored by Activated Ministries. The book entitled “The Garden” has an encouraging message and giving one to each child helped to make the whole program something for the children to remember each time the book is read. Parents, doctors, nurses and hospital staff were also encouraged through the children’s happiness.

In addition to the visitation program dubbed “Clown Therapy”, our clowns performed in the hospital’s annual Christmas show in the spacious lobby for a large crowd of children and their parents, with our talented children’s group, who sang songs and danced to famous Christmas tunes. After our performance, other volunteer groups who were also participating in the show, approached our clowns and asked them to help with their performances also. They assisted the others (various groups of doctors and nurses) by adding energy and humor to their presentations. Then the clowns spent time making balloons and playing with the children in the lobby long after the show had ended, while Santa Claus went around shaking the children’s hands and cheering them. Parents, doctors and nurses expressed their appreciation for our Clown Therapy, enthusiastically and repeatedly requesting that we return to assist in various projects throughout the year.

Although visitations to the Chiba Hospital have not been possible until recently, (This hospital only takes more serious, long term, and terminal cases and has strict visitation rules, which they finally wavered to receive us last year) we have been visiting retirement homes, orphanages, hospitals, and various other facilities, with our Clown Therapy project and performances for three years now. We find that sharing happiness, hope, and encouragement with those that we visit brings us great fulfillment as well. We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for everyone who has helped to make our dreams, and the dreams of the many who are touched through our programs, come true. We know that every bit of love that you afford in the way of sponsoring goods or finances for these projects goes a long way in the hearts and lives of the people of Japan.