Enjoy this heartfelt story about our circus and the work we do. The circus is a true labor of love and a city wide effort. Park Advisory Council Members, Community Groups, Volunteers of all shapes and sizes from all over Chicago make this happen.
Meet founder Jeff Jenkins in the first of WGN's online series #FacesOfChicago.
It was such a special opportunity to share our performance to make a real difference.
We know there are a lot of worthy organizations to support this Giving Tuesday, thank you for considering ours. Your donation will keep this Chicago institution going and help make Midnight Circus in the Parks affordable & accessible for all Chicagoans.
Come join the circus on Giving Tuesday!
LaTanya & The Youth of Englewood is an after-school program in the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood.
Melvin Diggs’ strength and athleticism is beyond amazing. Picture doing a pull-up while holding yourself horizontally half way up a pole. Yes. Melvin can do this.
Joyce Chapman was born in Japan to an African American dad and Japanese mother. Her father, a soldier with the Army, met her mother while stationed in Japan. Joyce’s early years were that of a typically ‘Army brat’ living in various places throughout the world. In June of 1968 when Joyce was twelve, her parents settled in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Pullman was a bit of a shock to Joyce and her brother. They had never lived in a solely black community before.
Sidney ‘Iking’ Bateman is not only an extraordinary circus artist but also an extraordinary human being. Sidney was born in North St. Louis, an area he describes as worse than Ferguson – the neighborhood brought to national attention by the protests that followed shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. Sidney is one of eight siblings who grew up doing flips in their back yard – a family tradition he shared with his brothers and uncles.
Regina Meirmanova was born to be a circus star. Her father Nourbol, from Kazakhstan, studied at the world-famous Moscow State Circus School. When he graduated in 1980, his first professional gig took him to Orenburg, Russia. There, he met Svetlana, Regina’s mother. As Svetlana tells it, she was working in a store. It was her first day on the job after graduating from college. Nourbol walked in, pointed to her and said, ‘she is the one.’ A year later, they were married and touring the world as circus artists.
Asiaha Butler (pronounce Ay-Sha) has a positive energy that’s infectious. She saw a problem in her community of Englewood and wanted to make a difference. She didn’t know where to start, at first, but that didn’t stop her. Until recently, she was working downtown at the Institute of Real Estate Management, an association for property managers, as the supervisor for Education Services. Anyone who meets Asiaha knows she’s a natural leader. Plus, from her years in the business, she understood real estate and development. Butler felt she had the capacity to make an impact, the question was how.
The park had an amazing neighborhood advocate, Tom Cunningham, who basically served as a one-man advisory council. He pushed for the new playground that was installed ten years ago and the new roof on the field house. When Tom passed, I felt compelled to get involved to help continue his work.