Clown group seeks volunteers to help at Wolfson Children's Hospital

Published On: Mar 11 2013 04:13:55 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 08 2013 06:24:15 PM EST
Gator Clowns of Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A local group of clowns who offer their services for free to Wolfson Children's Hospital is looking for more volunteers.

Gator Clowns of Jacksonville wants volunteers to go to clown school to learn how to become one and help sick children.

"I think we get more out of it than the kids do because we always come home fulfilled and we talk for days about the events we're at," said Shortee the Clown, who's been clowning for two years.

Not very many people know it, but the Clown/Magician program at Wolfson is run by volunteers. The numbers are dwindling, that's why the community's help is needed.

"There's just something about a smile and laughter that you can't be mad, you can't be upset, you can't do any of that when you're laughing," Shortee said. "And if we can make someone smile and laugh, they forget their burdens."

Gator Clowns of Jacksonville needs people to come to its clown school to ultimately help with the events it does as a nonprofit.

Toe-Knee the Clown, president of Gator Clowns, has been performing for more than two decades. He recalled one memory he had while clowning around at Wolfson. He played a prank on a mother in hopes of cheering up her sick child.

"This child just started breaking out laughing, and she goes, 'You know what? I should be angry at you, but this is the first time my child has laughed in months,'" Toe-Knee said.

The clowns say that's what it's all about. Shortee and Sprinkles, who are husband and wife, say it's the best thing they've ever done together.

"Did you ever think 27 years ago that we would be putting our makeup on together?" Shortee asked Sprinkles.

"Not at all, but it is so fun and so rewarding," Sprinkles said.

You too can join in the fun and help make someone smile. Gator Clowns of Jacksonville performs at all sorts of events, not just at Wolfson, and you can pick and choose which events you want to go to.

Clown school starts April 11. Class is once a week for eight weeks, and the ninth week you graduate. For more information on clown school, go to GatorClowns.com.