Wise Fool New Mexico awarded $15K grant for youth programs - Albuquerque Journal

Wise Fool New Mexico awarded $15K grant for youth programs

Eric Peters takes part in an aerial rope act during the Virtual Wise Fool Teen Circus Performance. (Courtesy of Eric Peters)

It’s summer break and Wise Fool New Mexico continues to offer programming for teens.

Because of this, the Santa Fe-based organization received a $15,000 Aim High Grant form the New York Life Foundation.

It is one of 20 youth development organizations to receive the money.

This funding will build middle school youth’s resilience through circus arts by advancing their physical strength and exposing them to social justice issues, including racial and gender equity, health and diet culture, and inclusive community engagement.

“We feel honored to be chosen and among so many prominent youth organizations. Wise Fool New Mexico is a social circus organization, and our programs offer equitable access regardless of age, gender, ability, body size, or income, and service the LGBTQ+, disabled, and disadvantaged communities alike,” said Alishiya Kapoor and Kristen Woods, co-executive directors, in a statement.

Kapoor said the grant will specifically grow the two middle school youth programs — Teen BUST! and Teen Troupe.

“(The grant) will help teens regain their resiliency after these testing pandemic years. And, while learning how to walk on stilts or hang upside down from a trapeze, Wise Foolian teens will leave our studio more aware, a bit braver, and willing to become socially engaged,” Kapoor said.

Teen Troupe, is a year-round circus intensive, meets weekly to train, work together on acts, and plan performances while building a supportive peer group. Middle School youth enter an exploratory phase of life when peer pressure can dominate their decisions.

The coaches support this transition and coach youth as they navigate their options.

Many members advance and become camp counselors and paid assistant coaches, thus building time-management and leadership skills.

Teen BUST! is a two-week summer intensive program for middle school-aged girls, trans, and gender non-binary youth, a community that supports taking risks, pushing boundaries, and becoming physically bold.

Each year, teachers and counselors nominate “at-promise” teens to participate in this two-week intensive summer program free of charge.

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