Dominic and his mom, Jenyffer, are all smiles before a performance.
Dec 23 2015

Boys enjoy ‘clowning around’ with Mom

Dominic and his mom, Jenyffer, are all smiles before a performance.

Dominic and his mom, Jenyffer, are all smiles before a performance.

Some parents might get annoyed when their kids act like clowns. But for Jenyffer, seeing her kids “clown around” brings a sense of pride.

Jenyffer and her family live in Guatemala. Her husband, Henry, a truck driver, is away much of the time. The family can’t get by on one income, so with three sons to provide for, Jenyffer decided to go back to work.

That decision was not unusual, but the job Jenyffer chose was. She became a professional clown, entertaining at parties and community events. It was a path she’d been preparing for most of her life.

“I’ve loved clowns since I was a child,” Jenyffer said. “Then, as a teen, you could say I was always a clown at parties and at home.”

In high school Jenyffer met friends who were in a clown club. They got together to learn from each other, and some were already professional clowns. They invited Jenyffer to their club and that’s how she learned the art.

Jenyffer was serious about honing her craft and earned a certificate in clowning from the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture. Still, she had some anxieties about taking the leap into doing it for a living. Her fears soon went away.

“I remember my very first presentation during a Children’s Day celebration at a church,” she said. “I was nervous but I did it and I made many people laugh. Now I have made many people laugh for the last two years that I’ve been a clown.”

Jenyffer and Dominic get ready for a show.

Jenyffer and Dominic get ready for a show.

While Jenyffer loved her new job, there were challenges. The biggest was that her three boys were still young and she needed to take them with her when she worked. But she quickly learned that having her sons at performances was an asset.

“At first I was concerned about taking my kids on shows because I thought customers would not like it,” she said. “But, fortunately, they have been a plus for my show.”

The boys dress up like clowns and help with jokes and tricks. Kevin, 8, helps organize activities and makes suggestions. Daniel, 7, helps hand out gifts and prizes.

Her greatest help comes from her oldest son, 10-year-old Dominic, who is sponsored through Unbound. Using a computer, he mixes music for Jenyffer’s act and provides sound effects during the performances. He’s also learned some magic tricks that he works into the act.

Dominic has grown closer to his mother by working with her.

“I am proud of her,” he said. “I like her shows and I like how she makes people smile. I like to see her happy.”

While Dominic enjoys entertaining audiences, he envisions a different future for himself.

“I want to be an electrician,” he said, adding a note of appreciation for the Unbound sponsorship that has made that ambition realistic. “Thank you, sponsors, for your love. May God bless you.”

Jenyffer is also grateful for Unbound and the educational and economic opportunities it has opened up for her family. She’s especially grateful that the support Dominic receives eases the family’s financial burden and helps make it possible for her to do what she loves.

“Growing up, I had a rough life, many difficult circumstances,” she said. “So, Sonrisas (Smiles, her clown character) is what I’ve always wanted to be — joyful, playful and happy. When I dress as a clown I put on my outfit, makeup and wig, and I go and make people smile.

“That is the best feeling in the world.”

Learn how you can open a world of possibilities for a child by becoming an Unbound sponsor.

Larry Livingston

Larry Livingston
Senior Writer/Editor

Larry has been with Unbound since 2005. He has a background in theology, pastoral ministry and Catholic education, and has written for several national publications. Larry holds a bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College and a master’s degree from St. Meinrad School of Theology. He lives in Shawnee, Kansas with his wife, Kristi, and their son, Ben.

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