Playing ‘pass the parcel’ is a lot like dishing out your best smile. It ripples into an endless steam of delight and wonder (and the layers are endless!) The power of a single smile can really change the world. This is something that the lovable team from The UPliftment Programme know all to well.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s something that we all know and yet, we’ll wave our wands, and forget just how simple it really is. It’s an aphrodisiac, a pick-me-upper, an answer, an appreciation of admiration. A magical spell. It’s the beginning of a life changing event …

Nicola Jackman, Founder/Cheerlady of The UP says;

“Our organisation’s volunteers are proud to be “yay sayers” and support the transformation of humankind, from serious, problem-focused people – to inspired, solution-orientated and joyfully active community.”

The UPliftment Programme is a Joy Movement that was established in 2003 by the fantasical Nicole Jackman, with the support of Lucille Greef.

8 years ago, on the 16th December, The UP saw the first ever Care Clowning Session at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Claire Verstrate – aka Goldie – Care Clown since 2009 explains “ Care Clowning is truly transformational in every way, Building a generosity of spirit that is infectious and uplifting for all, from the moment I arrive at the boom gate and feel the welcome of the familiar friendly face of the security guard to the moment I leave and blow my last bubble through my car window…and beyond and beyond…”

Mariano Garrido – aka MARIO – Care Clown since 2007 adds “I find difficult to put in words how incredible humbling and rewarding these last  few years  of Care Clowning have been for me. How much joy I feel each time the children laugh with us. How much love I’m given each time a child extends a hand towards us, or looks at us with smilie eyes. How happy I feel each and every time I finish clowning and how thankful I am to them for letting me in their world and accepting me unconditionally. The children have changed me. Their love has changed me.”

The UP comes from Nicola Jackman’s dream to experience a more loving and joyful society. There is a need for lightness and a fun-loving approach to transformation. When we laugh together or boundaries, judgements, barriers disappear.  We connect with the one-ness, the essence of who we really are.

8 years have passed and the UP continues to grow the possibility of joy through training UP volunteer Care Clowns & JOY ACTIVISTS nationwide. These Delights, then in turn, follow their smiles to their local hospital/homes and inspire ripples (& joy bubbles) with the children, parents and staff. Currently there are over 75 volunteer Care Clowns across Southern Africa. Within the space of a month they are able to spread JOYful UPliftment to approximately 3500 people.

When asked to define her biggest JOY moment, Nicola shrugs “There are so many – I guess what has touched me the most is the wonderful volunteers and the profound effect sharing joy has had on their lives – it has given me reason to trust a theory I have “that great bliss is found when we share joy with another”

Just like the corners of a smile, THE UP is heading UP & UP. Not just figuratively with joy growing at pace – but also literally with the founder Nicola Jackman embarking on a 2012 joy tour (20countries 12months) of her UPlifting family show MAfrika. She will be travelling with a joy team who will help document and support workshops of joy and create a joy movement through out Africa.

The UP will be hosting a FREE Community show on the 16th December 2011 as part of their FREE FAMILY FUNDAY Birthday celebration. Here’s your chance to experience the magical sensation of a smile and help UP to spread the joy.

When I asked Nicola what her one UPlifting message would be – she replied with

“Joy and Love – reminding us all of our humanKINDness”.

For more about Nicola and The UP see

http://scenicsouth.co.za//2011/07/nicola-jackman-actress-voice-artist-joy-activist/

 MAfrika - Nicola Jackman's one woman show

For more information on UP :: visit theup.org.za