Bringing joy to those who need it most
The Dr. Clown Foundation brings joy to the most vulnerable people in our community. Since 2002, the Dr. Clown Foundation has been developing its personal relationship approach that is focused on improving the quality of life of hospitalized children, students in specialized schools, hospitalized patients of all ages and seniors in care facilities.
The Foundation runs two separate programs: Dr. Clown, designed for schools and hospitals, and La Belle Visite, intended for seniors. Both aim to create caring and respectful relationships that bring a breath of joy into environments where sometimes little exists.
Making meaningful connections, breaking isolation, providing friendship and comfort, helping to humanize healthcare settings and upholding a person’s dignity by treating them with kindness and respect are just some of the observable benefits of the interventions of our therapeutic clowns. The positive impact of our programs is recognized by both medical practitioners and educators, who integrate our therapeutic artists into their care plans and educational objectives.
The Dr. Clown Foundation’s work is supported by corporate partners, hospital and private foundations, and donations from the general public.
The Foundation was created in 1999 through the chance encounter of four visionaries: a dynamic businesswoman named Germaine Gibara and clown enthusiasts Melissa Holland, Olivier-Hugues Terreault and Florence Vinit.
The first Dr. Clown program was implemented in the fall of 2000 at the Résidence Paul-Lizotte, a residential centre for seniors in Montreal. Following the success of the project, Dr. Clown was officially registered as a non-profit organization on June 20, 2002. Five years later, Dr. Clown opened an office in Quebec City, integrating Clown à Cœur, a company founded by Anik Farley and Nathalie Côté, into its operations. Since then, Dr. Clown has continued to grow and provide services to society’s most vulnerable clienteles. The services are free for beneficiaries and their families, and the presence of therapeutic clowns greatly facilitates the work of staff in the various facilities.
Today, the Dr. Clown Foundation boasts a team of about 50 professional therapeutic artists. Before being able to work in a hospital setting, they must each undergo specialized training to prepare for their interventions. They are required to understand the different environments they visit, to adapt their clowning interactions according to the physical and psychological state of the individual, and to respect hygiene, safety and confidentiality rules, among other things.
THERAPEUTIC CLOWNS AROUND THE WORLD
To continue to be able to perfect its methods and share its expertise, the Dr. Clown Foundation also belongs to a worldwide network of therapeutic clown organizations, including Le Rire Médecin (France), the Gesundheit! Institute (United States), Docteur Clown (France), Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit (United States), Hearts & Minds - Clowndoctors (Scotland), Aide psychologique sans frontières (Quebec) and Therapeutic Clowns Canada (Canada).
Photo : Eric Naaman