WCS kicks off events, helping the community return to normal

For families looking for something to do this summer, Woolwich Community Services (WCS) has you covered.

Given that the agency has events planned Monday to Saturday every week, including live performances every Wednesday, WCS community engagement coordinator Leigh-Anne Quinn said she hopes families will spend more time outside than the previous, lockdown year.

“The intention with the events that we’re having is about social inclusion, and getting people out in the community. It’s been so long since we’ve been able to do anything,” said Quinn. “The point is bringing [the] community together. Trying to create a sense of normal again.”

As WCS looks to instill a sense of normalcy again in the community, juggler and children’s performer Simon Zenker’s act is anything but normal. Zenker was the first performer to be featured during WCS’ Wacky Wednesdays, which aims to provide families with an hour of free activities to break up the day.

“I love to perform,” said Zenker following a performance July 14 in Bolender Park. “The type of performing that I really picked up was doing shows like this, live in person and interactive shows.”

The Elmira resident said he’s excited to get out and perform in person again. During the pandemic the performer had to adapt his act to suit the digital space, something he did successfully after having more than 110 virtual bookings. But for Zenker, the real enjoyment comes from giving back to the community he lives in through his performances.

“Last year I did tons of shows for the Elmira group homes. And I’ve been very involved with lots of community festivals,” said Zenker. “I love helping out and entertaining the community.”

Ten-year-old Carson Towns had seen Zenker perform digitally before, but being able to witness his death-defying, machete-juggling, balancing act in person brought out a different experience.

“I’ve seen [Zenker] at school,” said Carson. “I didn’t recognize some of the stunts – I liked it.”

Don’t fret if you’ve missed out seeing Zenker, who can be found at facebook.com/SimonZenkerJuggler, WCS has more acts lined up for the week involving yoga, police activities and even a falconer. Also every Thursday those with an empty stomach can visit 5 Memorial Ave. at noon for a free hotdog.

A full list of weekly activities can be found on the WCS website at www.woolwichcommunityservices.org.

The overall goal for WCS is to foster more connections between members of the community. Something that was lost during the lockdowns and social distancing of the pandemic.

“It’s a great way for people to make connections with one another. You may meet someone that you don’t know or you may meet somebody you’ve never had the opportunity to meet and chat with,” said Quinn. “I think it’s just a very positive social inclusion program for our community.”

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