Twelve-week mentorship program to culminate in live performance at Ontario Improv Comedy Club to benefit Aspiranet, June 1
Online PR News – 06-May-2013 – Ontario, Calif. – (ONTARIO, Calif.) – Laughter truly does prove to be the best medicine, a motto comedic pro Eric Blake has learned over the past several years working with youth in need. With an impressive body of work, which includes making crowds roar in laughter on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” HBO’s “Bad Boys of Comedy” and BET’s “Comic View,” he has spent the past several months mentoring a group of former foster youth that recently aged out of the state’s child welfare system.
Blake teaches “Transitions through Comedy,” a class offered to Transitional Age Youth (TAY) of Aspiranet, one of California’s largest and most innovative providers of child, teen, family and transitional foster care programs. Through Aspiranet’s Transitional Housing Program, TAY youth, ages 18-24, are provided a safe living environment while learning life skills to help them become self-sufficient. Aspiranet works with emancipated youth, pairing them with mentor families as well providing job placement assistance, educational advocacy and emotional counseling services.
Through Aspiranet’s “Transitions through Comedy” course, Blake underwent extensive training to be able to work one-on-one with his students, following a curriculum that not only focuses on the fundamentals of comedy, but one that also incorporates a therapeutic healing component established by one of the organization’s highly-qualified professionals.
“Comedy is the most beautiful medicine of all,” Blake explains. “Everyone loves to laugh, and when they laugh they are able to release a lot of the stress and pressure that may have been bottled up. Comedy can bring you that energy you’re looking for – you can do it with love, you can share it with people. There is no greater gift than love and laughter.”
The 12-week course kicked-off in February with a group of eight students and will conclude with a live stand-up performance to follow at the Ontario Improv Comedy Club on Saturday, June 1, for a “Transitions through Comedy” stand-up when the students take to the mic alongside Blake and a small lineup of professional comedians. “Transitions through Comedy” will deliver an arsenal of jokes while highlighting clean comedy at its best, providing a blend of energy, fun and variety, which the students-turned-comedians share stories of their struggles in their past that they were able to share in a comedic manner.
“This is the second year we’ve worked with Eric. His constructive, motivational style of teaching, in conjunction with the curriculum, has been very impactful on the students,” said Jamie Cooks, district director of Aspiranet San Bernardino. “Most of the students leave with a new outlook on life and a newfound confidence they’ve never had before. To be able to see them be able to comfortably talk about their past struggles in front of a room of strangers, put a comedic spin on it and make others laugh is a powerful thing.”
The students are not the only ones to benefit from the “Transitions through Comedy” course as Blake has recognized the students have also left a lasting impression on him.
“Comedy has been my profession for as long as I can remember, but sharing my passion with youth who have struggled in life as a way to overcome adversity has made me look at comedy in a different light. It feels great to be able to give them this gift – to help them heal, to take the pain away and make it funny. My hope for these kids is to always recognize their self-worth and for great things to continue in this new chapter of their lives.”
What: Transitions through Comedy
When: Saturday, June 1
Where: Ontario Improv Comedy Club, 4555 Mills Circle Ontario Mills, Ontario, Calif. 91764
Cost: $15 per person for patrons ages 18 and over. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Aspiranet’s THP and Aftercare programs that help foster youth with the transition into adulthood.
Tickets: Tickets may be purchased at http://www.aspiranet.org/improv or by calling Aspiranet at (909) 890-9022.
Aspiranet, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity, supports foster children, siblings, families and the community with 35 core programs offering specialized services throughout 45 locations within California. Some of Aspiranet’s programs include: treatment foster care, transitional housing, residential care, mental health counseling, family services, inclusion services for children with developmental challenges and therapeutic behavioral services and school based behavioral and educational supports.
Founded 37 years ago as a six-bed group home for young boys in Moss Beach, Calif., Aspiranet is one of the most diverse nonprofit social service agencies in the state. With a statewide network of innovative services, Aspiranet serves more than 10,000 families each year. For more information, please visit www.aspiranet.org.