Three-Ring Charity

A veteran teacher from Lawrenceville founds an all-day circus workshop called Juggling Life, to bring circus arts to ill and disadvantaged children.

Juggling Life’s volunteers and professional jugglers teach circus arts skill to ill and disadvantaged kids.

Growing up in Lawrenceville, Lou De Lauro learned about giving back by watching his parents volunteer at a Ronald McDonald camp. De Lauro returned to the camp as an adult to run an all-day circus workshop. Inspired by the results, De Lauro, a veteran teacher, founded Juggling Life (jugglinglifeinc.org), a vehicle for bringing the circus arts to ill and disadvantaged children.

These days, Juggling Life—which has applied for not-for-profit status—has grown to 60 volunteers, mostly college students. They include professional juggler Jennifer Slaw, a Nutley resident and executive director of the program.

For Juggling Life events, 10 to 20 volunteers travel to places such as Camp Quality in Blairstown and HomeFront New Jersey in Lawrenceville, and conduct juggling workshops that also involve dancing, singing and board games.

“It’s therapy for the kids,” says De Lauro. “You can’t play soccer if you’re not feeling well, but you can juggle.”
“Juggling, in a way, seems kind of silly,” Slaw admits. But the bigger picture, she says, is that the kids learn “things that they once thought were impossible, are achievable.”

De Lauro and Slaw hope Juggling Life will go national. For now, De Lauro is happy to have what he believes is the best hobby in New Jersey.

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