Story by Jessica Goldstein
Lori and Steven Klinghoffer have been friends of JSDD for many years and very active leaders in the MetroWest community. At a recent socially distanced birthday party they were introduced to a former Ringling Brothers Circus clown, “Krazy Kevin” Kraft. Sidelined like many others during the pandemic, Kevin was looking for a way to create some positive moments in these most unsettled times and his juggling, balancing act and humor proved to be just the prescription to help loved ones connect (at a safe distance) in a way that many have not been able to for months.
The Klinghoffers offered to bring that joy to the residents of JSDD’s homes and WAE Center members and Krazy Kevin was eager to participate and entertain. Four shows were coordinated at different sites.
At our first performance, 14 residents and staff enjoyed a truly special moment as many had not seen each other in months and there was cheering and distanced hugs. One resident, Daniel, assisted Kevin as he did juggling tricks with bowling pins. Daniel proved an excellent assistant and expressed particular pride, saying he believed this was something he could never do. A popular, friendly neighbor dog ran over and joined the show, as well.
In Whippany, a staff member, Gus, was thrilled that the residents were able to participate in something totally new and different outside with others. A volunteer from the home, Ralph, was nervous to help Krazy Kevin but did a great job and kept everyone laughing while Kevin call him “the best volunteer ever!” The unicycle was popular with residents and staff alike.
At the West Caldwell home, WAE center members joined and the reunion with staff was touching and special. The Livingston residents expressed similar excitement at seeing friends from West Orange for the first time in months at their performance.
The Klinghoffers’ generosity enabled us to make new memories and bring new experiences to all who participated, and we thank them for their thoughtful and meaningful gift.