Although they have caring hearts and a desire to help others, the similarities between Shore Memorial Hospital’s Bumper “T” Caring Clowns and the hospital’s regular volunteers end there. The Bumper “T” Caring Clowns are a lively bunch of individuals whose main goal is using gentle humor and therapeutic clowning to promote healing and well-being in patients, family members and employees.
The Bumper “T” Caring Clowns recently received the 2008 Governor’s Volunteer Award in the Most Innovative category. This award recognizes an individual or group that applies non-traditional and innovative approaches that significantly enhance volunteerism and that can be replicated and adapted by other agencies. Over 100 Bumper “T” Caring Clowns also volunteer at hospitals throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Bumper “T” Caring Clown founder George Edwards has been sharing the medicine of laughter for 30 years. He accepted the award on behalf of all the individuals who volunteer their time as a Caring Clown. He encourages anyone interested in clowning to participate in the program and not to be intimidated by the aspect of being funny or feeling obligated to joke around all the time. “You don’t have to be funny. You just have to be yourself,” he says.
In order to become a Caring Clown at Shore Memorial, individuals undergo a six-week training period where they learn special sensitivity training for working in a hospital setting and how to be good listeners. Graduates of the program receive their honorary degrees as funnyboneologists and a new clown name.
“Our Caring Clowns are a very dedicated group of individuals,” says Lisa DiTroia, volunteer director at Shore Memorial. “They are always willing to share a hug or a laugh with everyone they meet. Their positive, upbeat attitude is contagious.”
The Caring Clowns are looking to add to their numbers at Shore Memorial. If you have a few extra hours each week, and a desire to make others smile, contact the Volunteer Office at (609) 653-3543.
Top: Bumper “T” Caring Clown founder George Edwards accepts the 2008 Governor’s Volunteer Award in the Most Innovative Category on behalf of all the Caring Clowns who volunteer at Shore Memorial Hospital and hospitals throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Bottom: The Bumper “T” Caring Clowns stand outside Drumthwacket, the Governor’s mansion. The Caring Clowns, a lively bunch of individuals who use gentle humor and therapeutic clowning to promote healing and well-being among patients and their family members at Shore Memorial Hospital and other hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, received the 2008 Governor’s Volunteer Award in the Most Innovative category.