The Trenton Circus Squad brings together teenagers in trouble and students at private schools in the area around New Jersey’s capital. The squad has 35 members while scores more attend workshops.
The squad was started last summer by Tom von Oehsen, who serves as admissions director at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, where he ran a Clown Academy, and Zoe Brookes, president of Isles, a civic organization in Trenton. The program has already been recognized by the American Youth Circus Organization as a “social circus” program helping at-risk teenagers.
The teens practice juggling, tightrope walking, clowning, and other circus skills in an old Roebling Wire Works factory. Brookes and von Oehsen hope to expand the program, the only one of its kind in the state, to other New Jersey cities.
on WHYY NewsWorks, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.