Humor Outreach Program

Read University students teaching children to “have a chuckle.” in the San Bernardino Sun.

Performing arts programs often get the first cut when budgets get tight. University of Redlands students have decided to respond to cuts made locally with a bit of community service and a laugh or two.

The University Humor Outreach Program (UHOP)—an improvisation and acting group—performs and works with children in the Redlands communities who attend schools where performing arts programs have been affected by district budget cuts.

Through interactive improv workshops, students learn to have a sense of humor, work together and take initiative.
“If you’re laughing, you’re learning—even if you don’t know it,” says Matthew Morisset ’10, who founded the program in the fall of 2009 to teach children and young adults important life skills through laughter.

“Our main goal,” says sophomore Hannah Mitchell, who is the current student director of the program, “is to teach kids in the community life skills through improv without them realizing they are learning.”

Hannah first got involved in January to complete her community service requirement, but soon realized that she loved the program and the people. “I was hooked after my first UHOP practice!” she says.

Hillary Chambers, graduate management intern for the Office of Community Service Learning, says “the performing arts are an imperative aspect in a child’s life. Performance teaches valuable life skills such as public speaking, self-confidence, trust, creativity and patience.”

UHOP is a new service club officially now through the Office of Community Service Learning. Practices are from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and no experience is necessary. At practice, students learn how to work with children while developing their improv and acting skills.

UHOP is having a Barnes and Noble Fundraiser on Nov. 19. The program will receive 10 percent of the proceeds from any purchase made using voucher number 10343945—in store or online.

To learn more about the program or get involved with UHOP, please contact the Office of Community Service Learning (x8467).

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