Launched in 2018, The Hood sought to include children from the Salt River neighbourhood we are proud to call home.
Through this programme we engage with children, aged 6 to 17 years, on a weekly basis, teaching various circus disciplines in a novel, safe and fun environment – at the Zip Zap Academy right on their doorsteps! The programme aims to develop physical skills, improved self-esteem and self-confidence, and to teach the value of teamwork. It allows children to have fun and to meet other children from the neighbourhood, forge new friendships, and create a sense of kinship and belonging. Parents also welcome the opportunity for their children to attend a free after-school activity that removes them from the day-to-day dangers prevalent in the area. The much-anticipated “Show & Tell” event at the end of each year showcases previously hidden talents and greatly enhanced confidence.
The Hood programme started later than scheduled, on 17 March 2021, as a direct result of COVID-19 restrictions, with the country being on risk-adjusted Level 3 until 28 February 2021. The planned schedule was interrupted, and the programme was suspended with the imposition of adjusted risk Level 2 effective 31 May 2021, followed by adjusted risk Level 3 effective 16 June 2021 and adjusted risk Level 4 effective 28 June 2021. The programme recommenced on 18 August 2021. The effects of the pandemic had a significant impact on consistent attendance at the programme throughout the year. Despite the demands of school, extra-mural activities and family responsibilities the programme still had an attendance rate of 70%. The retention rate, 82%, was also a very positive indicator, and there were a numbers of new participants who joined during the year. Both of these underpin the therapeutic value of circus to help the participants cope with the restrictions and feelings of isolation experienced during the pandemic.
A Rising Star
Joanni Bakola joined Zip Zap’s The Hood programme in 2019 after having been introduced by friends who already participated. Through the programme she gets to do things that she did not know she could do. She admits that things seem hard until you try doing them, then it seems much easier. Even though she describes the aerial scarf as being quite difficult, she is a budding aerialist and has progressed very well on the trapeze. She also likes juggling.
Joanni pushes herself to do the best that she can and always perform at her best. She aspires to be successful in life. Joanni was the recipient of the Shining Star award for her outstanding performance in skill, talent and technique in The Hood programme. Her instructors highlight her amazing progress which enabled her to perform her first solo trapeze act on stage at the 2021 Show & Tell performance. She is very modest about her achievements.
“Facing the fears that I had, challenged me to overcome them.”
– Joanni Bakola