(14 Total References)
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(Tic Toc) has been happily clowning with the troupe since 1999.
grew up watching her
father, a professional magician who clowned at area hospitals, only to discover her
clown after training with Jeannie Lindheim.
Having a background in early childhood education and special needs, Cheryl has been a workshop facilitator in these areas for over 15 years.
She has worked as the Executive Director of Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe since July 2005 and recently become the Artistic Director.
Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe - Boston, MA - Message from Artistic Director
Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe
P.O. Box 920570
Needham, MA 02492
Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe - Boston, MA - Board of Directors
Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe - Boston, MA - Clown Bios
Cheryl Lekousi (TIC TOC):
Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe - Boston, MA
Cheryl Lekousi was dressed as a clown when she traveled to Otis Air Force Base earlier this fall to provide some relief in the form of humor to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
But when she
was with the children and families who had lost their everything in the natural disaster, she
was only 10 percent Tic Toc the clown, and 90 percent herself, she
" I sat there, and I listened, and I really gave them all of myself," the Needham native said.
heard stories of unimaginable loss from families who had no idea where they would go or what they would do next.
tried to answer questions - such as those about what the local schools systems were like - to help them make plans.
It was a different experience from the sort of clowning Lekousi, a member and executive director of Jeannie Lindheim's Hospital Clown Troupe, normally does.
" When I'm in the hospital room, I'm Tic Toe," Lekousi
said, referring to the character of the little clown girl she
impersonates to lighten the burdens of sick children.
"Cheryl's in there, but I'm mostly the clown.
I'm 90 percent clown."
Sitting with hurricane victims may have been a first for Lekousi
, but that doesn't mean she's
a stranger to pain or to people who have lost most control over their own lives.
As a hospital clown, which is volunteer work she's
been doing for the past six years, she's
worked with children with mild childhood illnesses, but she's
also worked with those who have HIV or advanced forms of cancer.
" I've sat with kids who I know wouldn't get better," Lekousi
And, while at Otis she
could be more helpful by simply being with people as herself as they sorted through the practicalities of their lives, in the hospital, her
clowning is integral to helping sick children laugh and just be children.
" Their childhood is not the focus of the hospital.
Their health is," Lekousi
said, explaining the uniqueness of her
clowning is also integral to helping helpless children feel empowered.
As a clown, Lekousi
doesn't perform for the kids.
, like the other clowns in Lindheim's troupe, improvises, all the time encouraging the children to give her
directions or help her
out of make-believe dilemmas.
feet might "get glued" to the floor or she
might get "stuck" to another clown, and the child helps her
figure out how to get "unstuck.
That's much more empowering for the children, Lekousi
explained, than having someone simply perform in front of them.
never goes into a child's room without asking first.
" If they don't want us, we don't push ourselves on anyone," Lekousi
said, explaining that for the most part, these children have no control over whether or not a doctor or a nurse comes into their rooms.
has also devoted her
entire professional life to working with children.
been a daycare provider for more than 20 years and currently runs a service out of her
In it, she's
come across a number of children with various illnesses and disabilities, and, she
said, "I know how it affects their development."
The mother clown just knew that Lekousi
would make a great clown.
" I'm good with kids and I'm quite silly," Lekousi said, guessing why her new acquaintance suggested she joined the Troupe.
remains devoted to her
knows and has always know when to step out of her
role, even when in the midst of a routine, just as she
did at Otis Air Force Base.
made a similar call, years ago, when, as Tic Toe, she
used to make house calls.
That's how she
met now Southborough residents Banu and Kripa Sundar, who have a child with severe medical needs.
came to our house and she
would spend one to two hours entertaining our son," Banu said.