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“I didn’t want it to end!”

Jill West is a Licensed Clinical and School Psychologist at Ochsner Health System and we are honored she volunteers as a Board member for Funny Bones Improv. Below is Jill’s story about the first time she saw our show. Enjoy!

I learned about Funny Bones from a friend a few years ago.  Instantly, I loved the idea – improv? for kids in the hospital?  What a brilliant combination!  As someone who has worked with children in hospitals for the past several years, I am overwhelmed and impressed by the number of people who are willing to donate their time to help children doing things like improv shows.  So when I joined the board of Funny Bones Improv earlier this year, I didn’t think it was possible for me to admire the organization any more than I already did.  Man, was I wrong!  I attended my first Funny Bones show at Ochsner in April 2016, and I was brought to tears by how powerful the experience was.  The children were glowing.  The parents were beaming.  And the players were incredible!  Let me say that again – the players were amazing, spectacular, outstanding… INCREDIBLE!!!  Their ability to meet the needs of the children in the audience, who varied dramatically in terms of their ages, abilities, and attention level, was breathtaking and admirable.  I could not believe how patient, inclusive, and successful they were in appealing to their diverse audience, in managing the sometimes challenging behavior of participants, in being comfortable with the chaos… and all the while keeping smiles on their faces and obvious joy in their hearts.  I did not want the show to end!  I was sincerely moved by the whole experience, and I could not be more thrilled to be a small part of this remarkable organization.  Please help us keep the children of New Orleans and Chicago, the ones who need laughter the most, privy to this wonderful organization by making a donation.  Believe me, your heart will swell as soon as you do!

Our week of storytelling is over and if you missed any, there are links below. As you consider your year-end gift giving, please think of us and Happy Holidays!

And thank you Jill for sharing!!

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And this…

Closing out this week of stories with one from Jill, our Program Director in Chicago. Jill is a champion of so many! In addition to the hours she dedicates to Funny Bones Improv, she is the founder and producer of Storytown, a fully improvised, interactive story for children 3-10 years old and their families. If you are in Chicago and have children, go see this show! And if you see Jill out and about, tell her thanks for making the lives of so many a bit brighter. (That’s Jill, 2nd from the right, in the photo above)

The other week, I taught a workshop in partnership with Waterford Place in Aurora. I drove from class in Glenview hoping to make it in time. Workshops are a great pleasure of mine because families have a time to focus on working together and creating comedy together. Family members come out of their shell and shine. Moms and dads are bold and silly as an example to their children to at least try.

I always try and make it a habit to be the last person to leave. Yes, I have to drive back to Chicago late, but that’s not important in the grand scheme of things. So I linger. I thank everyone for letting me be part of their event. I applaud children for giving it their all. I answer questions about my training. I field questions about Saturday Night Live.

As a father and I are about to leave, he shakes my hand and thanks me. Then he stops. He asks if he can hug me. He thanks me again. He reminds me that the shortest distance between two people in a laugh and that I brought those laughs with me.

Those families now have this memory of sharing a laugh together. I will fade from that memory and that is as it should be. It’s about bringing them together and bringing a happy memory for them to share and remember. We do it for this dad who now has improv games to play with his family. It’s for the mom of the boy who swore he was having the worst day of his life and then laughed his tush off for an hour. It’s for the little boy who was excited that this would be his last show because he now got to come home but would teach his family all the fun things he learned in the hospital.

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know us better this week and please know how dedicated the whole team is to Funny Bones Improv.  Now is the time for you to join us with a contribution. We are looking to the communities we serve to let us know they value and support our efforts.

Please help us continue to bring laughter and joy to some of the most vulnerable children and their families by donating today.

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And this…

And for your Thursday insight into Funny Bones Improv, read here why Susan loves being a player. She is one of our players that has been a member in both New Orleans AND Chicago and we love her back for sure. That's Susan 2nd from the top in both the photo's above.

I love Funny Bones Improv for several reasons, but the one that keeps me coming back is the fact that every show is a moment where everyone involved is happy. I love being a part of that. I love being silly with others for silly’s sake. Especially, since it is for families and children who need it most. My last Funny Bones show in New Orleans is something that I will never forget. (Don’t worry I’m with Funny Bones Chicago now! They can’t get rid of me! I’d like to see them try!) We visited a little girl in the ICU unit. She was too sick to come to the show, so we went to her. We all pretended she was princess, and the smile on her face is something I’ll never forget.

Caroline, Chelsea and Susan ARE a Three Headed Expert for sure.

Each of our games begins with the spinning of the "Wheel of Improv" and from there, we're off! Two Headed Expert is a game we play that usually has 3 players - one serving as the 'interviewer' and two as the 'expert' (one expert with two heads!) The players playing the 'expert' speak in unison. Not an easy task, as you can imagine...there's no script, it's all made up on the spot. So adding a 3rd head to the 'expert' THEN asking that expert to sing the answers in front of an audience sounds like an anxiety nightmare to most people, but not to our team! Check out our three headed singing expert (Caroline, Chelsea and Susan) video below.

THREE headed expert...singing, no less.