The Wandering Clown from Nurse Lulu's Clowning on a Budget

In my last post I mentioned how the children’s hospital I performed in when employed by The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit did not require our services during the week of Christmas and the week of New Year’s Day.  Fortunately, this was not due to anything negative, it was due to the overwhelming generosity that people showed the little patients every year.  It’s a time of year when people seek to help the less fortunate and putting smiles on children’s faces, especially when they are stuck in a hospital, is an ideal situation for a huge number of philanthropists.

It was wonderful for us to have a break, but we were also going to be missing the pay for that period of time.  Clowns have a heart too, however, and maybe this would be a great time to volunteer at another hospital.  Alas, we were unable to do such a thing due to a clause in our contracts forbidding us to perform in any capacity {even as volunteers} at any other facility.  They didn’t want us to do any similar work for anyone else if it was unauthorized by them.

If you are not bound by any such agreement, however, you may want to offer your services at a children’s facility which might not be able to afford any kind of outside entertainment. Be a wandering clown, going about your city spreading some joy! If they are willing to offer a stipend, so be it, but it would be a great gesture to volunteer even just a few hours at a place that could use some cheer.

Be prepared to explain what you do and how you would dress (maybe show some pictures). Find out if they have any restrictions like no balloons or bubbles.  Have proof of vaccinations in case they require them. Contact someone at the site ahead of time in case they require a background check or fingerprints because it may take some time to process these.

Giving toys or monetary donations is great and most facilities always welcome them, but if you can give of your time and talent to make someone happy, go for it!  Merry Christmas!


Lucy E. Nunez is an LPN and has been a theatrical performer since 2002. She created Nurse Lulu for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in 2014. She was a resident clown there and at Baptist Children's Hospital. For more information please visit:

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