costume, prop and makeup tips, would-be clowns learn
practical communication tips and how to entertain
various audiences. As well, during the workshop, a
professional therapeutic clown discusses the sensitivi-ties of working in different facilities and with different
types of patients, residents and families.
“The workshop is really good,” says Elaine Gill,
who has donned a bright wig and red nose as Ducky
the Klown for four years. “You can learn a lot about
being a clown.”
“The whole atmosphere changes when they’re
here,” adds Leanne Brusegard, the volunteer resources
co-ordinator at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre,
who works with clowns Ducky the Klown, Sunshine
and Dapper Doo. “The way they interact with staff and
with patients leave so many people smiling, they’re just
wonderful volunteers to have.”
The clowns make regular bedside visits and attend
special events such as birthday parties, socials and
Dapper Doo, aka Leo Belanger, started clowning in 2009 in Ponoka. Like his clown colleagues,
he says the reward is in the smiles he receives from
patients and staff.
“I just love it,” Belanger says.
Health care is a serious business, but Alberta Health Services’ volunteers in the Red Deer area know a little clowning around has its place.
During the past eight years, about 80 volunteers
have taken workshops from Caring Clowns to learn
how to deliver smiles and laughs to patients and
residents in hospitals and community care centres in
the Central Zone.
“We may look a little silly, but visits from a clown can
let people forget the bad things for a while” says Laine
Dahms, the volunteer resources co-ordinator in Rimbey,
and a clown herself. “It makes them smile or laugh, and
On top of clown etiquette, simple magic tricks and