Like to laugh? Meet people? Put more fun in your life? Put fun in others’ lives? Maybe try some vol-FUN-teering? Then a new course starting at Mollie Nye House may just be what you’re looking for.

Unlike most classes, this program not only allows, but encourages, students to clown around.  Instructor Amanda O’Leary combines magic, performance, humour, skits, balloon twisting and painting to teach participants how to be a Caring Clown – then she sends them out into the community to put their new skills to good use.

“Everyone has talents to offer to their society,” says Amanda, who is the Caring Clown Director of the World Clowning Association. “Yet most people don’t know they have them, or have the opportunity to practise them. But imagine spreading joy, creating smiles, or sharing a moment with a person you don’t know – that is the joy of being a Caring Clown.”

Amanda explains that clowning doesn’t have to be “loud and in your face.” Especially when you are visiting people in hospitals, seniors’ homes and preschools, you need to learn how to do “the clowning small, with lots of love and fun.”

 “Being loud and obnoxious isn’t an art form; creating a connection is,” says Amanda. “People think clowning is loud costumes and make-up and a big nose and shoes. I believe that you don’t need all of that. The clown needs to be in your heart, looking for the fun, connecting with people and letting them shine.”

The three-part course has never been taught in the Lower Mainland. Beginning with Basic Clowning, which begins Oct. 19 and runs to Nov. 23, it helps people find a way to unlock the fun inside of you. “Just like at Halloween, people find it easier to assume a persona when they have a costume and outside trappings,” Amanda says.

The second part, beginning in January, teaches the subtler aspects of being a Caring Clowning, and the final component in the spring offers you the chance to practice your new skills out in the community.

Amanda is an experienced teacher, and brings to the table an extensive acting background along with years of clowning and performing magic for crowds of all sizes and ages.

To meet Amanda and learn more about the Caring Clown program, come out to a free information session at Mollie Nye House on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. Please call Mollie Nye House at 604-987-5820 to reserve a spot.