Performing Life has been kind enough to send us a description of their work, which we include here. For information on volunteering, click here.
Performing Life is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the US that helps youth who are working and/or living on the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia. We empower these children by teaching them creative activities such as artisan crafts, and performing and visual arts as healthy alternatives for avoiding drugs and delinquency, while also improving their economic well-being. We believe that with these skills that are recreational, creative, safe, and profitable, and a new outlook on life they will eventually be able to make the choice to leave the streets and/or not need to work on them anymore, realizing a more vibrant future. The core group of approximately 15 youth have established their own savings accounts and are developing business plans for investing in personal goals to achieve self-sufficiency. Performing Life was founded in 2005 by John Connell when he was 18. Projects are youth-led and managed.
Youth participants in Performing Life are street and working kids who are supporting themselves or contributing to the support of their families. They are primarily from indigenous communities and outlying areas of the city. Performing Life programs help participants improve their living and economic conditions in order to realize a better future for themselves and their families.
Performing Life programs are designed to:
o Support youth in their economic endeavors in a creative form that is the least draining and the most economically advantageous and recreational for them.
o Work with youth on their self esteem, trying to help them recover their childhood, taking away some of the responsibilities which are unsuitable for their age.
o Provide youth with a safe environment where they can feel safe, cared for, grow, and stay away from drugs, sickness, and other degenerate aspects of street life.
o Form a group of youth who can relate with one another, form work/support groups, and create an environment of inclusion, friendship, and learning.
o Create opportunities for youth to demonstrate their abilities in public and help them find positive voices for self-expression and self-awareness as part of society.
Performing Life program activities include:
o Help to provide basic necessities such as shelter, food, medical attention, education, and clothing.
o Help participants without a home to find a safe place to live.
o Help youth get registered for school or skills classes and provide tutoring.
o Give free classes on performing arts, including juggling, diabolo, and poi, that the youth can use to increase their income and thereby have more time for school and studying.
o Teach youth how to make bracelets and send them to the United States to be sold, where 100% of the profits are theirs, thus providing an extra source of income while learning business skills.
o Help youth save their money and develop personal goals for self-improvement.
o Design projects with the participants to invest their saved money in some type of small business that they can take over and manage.
o Help participants construct a future of hope for themselves as well as their families.
WANT TO HELP? We can always use donations (spiritual, monetary, and in the form of performance toys for the kids, clothes, etc.), as well as voluteers (background in arts, children) and professionals (background in psychology, medicine, education).
US donors can make tax-deductible contributions through our sponsor, Hope for the Children Foundation (www.hopeforthechildren.org ), a tax-exempt 501c3 organization. Donations can also be made directly to Performing Life, a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of New Mexico. For more information visit our website at
or please contact us and we will be happy to get you any information you may need (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We have embedded several of the videos produced by Performing Life on the linked pages: