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College students clown around with anti-bullying message to kids

Nov 9, 2017

The Next Idea

Bullying in Michigan and around the country is a serious problem – one that parents, educators and others are striving to solve. One Michigan college is offering a unique approach to this serious problem.

Mott Community College’s Honors College is home to a group of students who transform themselves into clowns and reach out to school children with an anti-bullying message. 

Brian Ivory, director of Mott Honors College and the founder of the Mott Campus Clowns, joined Stateside to discuss this idea.

On preparation

"They start the first day of class learning about the history of clowning and that rich tradition that goes with it,” Ivory said. “They learn how to apply makeup, they learn how to tell jokes, how to interact with the public, take photographs, but most importantly they train for a show which is called, ‘Turning Frowns Upside Down One Smile at a Time.’ Over a seven and a half week period, they transform themselves from regular college students to members of a clown troupe making a difference in the world about the topic of bullying."

On the show

Ivory describes the routine as "an anti-bullying comedy magic show."

"We mix both comedy skits along with an anti-bully message,” Ivory said, which he calls, "a nice contrast."

"Obviously bullying is a very serious issue,” Ivory said, “and we bring humor to that issue so it engages the students."

On the students

"My students experience being a clown and serving the community in a really unique way for a very important mission, and the rewards they get out of that experience, even though it's a lot of hard work and dedication.” Ivory said. “It just expands their hearts, it expands their life experiences, and it expands their commitment to wanting to make a difference in the world."

Click here to learn more about the troupe, and keep an eye out for them in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit.

The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

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