Aiding Refugees through Circus

Hello All!
My name is Ashley Hunter. Those who know me know that I am passionate about sharing joy with others. Almost 7 years ago, I found a wonderful means to do that through hula hoop dance. Since then, I have found many opportunities to bring circus arts to my local community in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia through classes, workshops, festivals, events, private lessons, hoop jams, etc. It is something that I have seen touch individuals from all ages and walks of life, often in a very meaningful way. However, our community is rather small and I have been itching to be able to make a greater impact, specifically with those in need.

I began to research and, through my research, I was overjoyed to find Holistic Circus Therapy and Jill Maglio. As a certified occupational therapist and circus enthusiast, Jill has dedicated herself to training and sharing circus therapy with others. In 2016, after continuing to see the healing and empowerment that circus therapy brings, she founded CircusAid.

CircusAid combines occupational therapy and circus arts with a goal to positively impact the lives of refugees who have been displaced. Through her work in refugee camps, Jill discovered there was a great need to provide constructive ways for refugees to occupy their time. The refugee experience can be idle and uncertain, lengthy and trying. This stress and uncertainty contributes to mental instability and illness. When life is unstable and we have nothing to occupy our minds we worry, ruminate and fear an uncertain future. CircusAid provides an environment where the refugees' interactions promote trust, empathy, communication, and teamwork. The main goal is that, after CircusAid leaves, the participants feel empowered with the confidence and community strength to carry on learning new skills and working together in different leisure and occupational roles.

I am thrilled to share that I have decided (funding depending) to volunteer this August with Jill's wonderful circus group, bringing joy, laughter, community building, and an amazing skill share to refugees in and around Athens, Greece. This incredible work is truly a dream for me. The chance to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need will be a wonderful blessing.

There is so much that goes into this program, including this year's construction of a brand new circus tent that will provide shade and shelter from the hot summer sun. Donations also support transportation to and from the camps, housing for the volunteers, and materials to create hoops and props.

To be a part of the team, I need to raise a minimum of $2000 that will go entirely towards CircusAid. Any amount you contribute will go directly to helping me and the team work with Afghani, Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese, Eritrean, and Ethiopian refugees stuck in camps and awaiting relief.

I have never embarked on anything quite like this before. I am positive it will be eye-opening, and very likely life-changing for me personally, and hopefully for all involved. Feeling so much gratitude to have the opportunity, and monstrous thanks to you for supporting me and this amazing cause in any way you can.

For more information about CircusAid or to follow the journey visit:

Main Fundraising Campaign:

Social Media links: 

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Quick Summary
Who I am:
Ashley Hunter a (hopefully) soon to be volunteer with CircusAid from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Who I am raising money for:
CircusAid with whom I will hopefully be volunteering this summer.

Where your contribution will be spent:
*Circus equipment and transportation costs including building of a mobile circus tent.
It is very difficult to construct a permanent structure in a refugee camp. The mobile tent will enable continuity of our services to more people within camps throughout Europe.
*Additional funds would allow us to make our project more long term and serve more refugees throughout Europe.
*Funding service provisions (car rental, accommodation for facilitators and volunteers)

All funds raised on this platform will be directly transferred to the CircusAid Fractured Atlas fundraising account (link above.) 100% of proceeds go towards assisting refugees and enabling our project to take place.

Donations ()

  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 24 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 24 mos
  • Laura Degnon 
    • $500 
    • 24 mos
  • Friendly City Hoops 
    • $15 
    • 24 mos
  • Dr. How and the Reasons to Live 
    • $88 
    • 24 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Ashley Hunter 
Harrisonburg, VA
Jill Maglio 
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