NECCA receives outreach grant from Cirque du Soleil

NECCA received international funding for its programs. Photo provided.

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – Things are looking up at NECCA, and its not just the aerial acrobatics and laughter that echoes through the bright space!

It was announced that NECCA is one of a handful of international organizations that has been awarded a Cirque du Monde grant from the prestigious Montreal based entertainment company Cirque du Soleil. The goal of Cirque du Monde is “to positively impact people, communities and the planet with what we know best: creativity and art.” The program supports social circus outreach projects around the globe.

NECCA was chosen to receive support to develop a new community outreach project that artistic director Serenity Smith Forchion says aims to address the needs of young people in Brattleboro’s underserved areas. “Addiction and hunger are very real challenges for our young people, especially in the summer when school based support is not available. Though Cirque du Monde usually supports inner city programs, we have some very real urban style challenges in our community,” Forchion said of the project. “Our goal is to connect young people in low income housing with the empowering, active, and uplifting activities NECCA offers, influencing positive social development while providing exercise and nourishing meals.”

Circus is uniquely a broad art form that can be inclusive of diverse physical and social needs – NECCA offers partner acrobatics to teach communication and how to ask for permissions; juggling is fun and helps brain function for those with learning disabilities because it activates both sides of the brain; human pyramids embrace all body types as circus needs strong, big people to stand on and small people to fly; presentations on location bring together families and neighbors and encourage individual and community pride.

At the main trapezium – where a radiant heating system in the floor powered by a wood pellet boiler keeps the space cozy and inviting despite the cold outside – an international roster of expert coaches offers classes for adults and youth where anyone can grow stronger, fly higher and become more agile. It’s a community where truly anyone can belong – on Friday as the news of the grant was announced, a retiree old enough to be his grandmother was taking a trapeze class alongside an aspiring young professional who had moved from Florida to train.

“I would like this spirit of inclusion and positivity and joy in physical expression to be something that we bring out, into the community, to share with those who might otherwise not have access to the benefits of activities we offer,” Forchion adds. “NECCA is a not-for-profit charitable organization and we rely on the generosity of organizations and individuals to support us. I am pleased to bring this funding from an international source to add to our local resources.”

For more information about NECCA, visit or call for more information at 802-254-9780.

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