Several people packing food into cardboard boxes.
Several people packing food into cardboard boxes.

Volunteerism & Community

Our goal is to mobilize the Esh community to support positive change – we hope you’ll join us!

About Our Community & Volunteerism Initiatives

Esh is a big-hearted circus community, full of passionate folks who care about the people and world around them.

Through our volunteerism initiative, we aim to give our students and staff the chance to lift up our neighbors and support our planet by sharing their time, energy, and resources.

Our community initiative focuses on partnering with groups that are working to bring about positive change in and beyond the Esh community.

We know there are many, many causes that are worthy of support. After lots of conversations (with staff, students, and each other), we have chosen four specific areas to focus our efforts. These causes are particularly close to our hearts, and we believe they also reflect the priorities of many of our Esh community members.

Our four focus areas are:

  • Organizations that support LGBTQ+ people, with a particular focus on organizations that address the intersecting needs of LGBTQ+ and POC communities.
  • Organizations that focus on environmentalism and environmental justice.
  • Organizations that address food insecurity.
  • Organizations that expand access to circus arts education.

We also prioritize working with local organizations in our immediate communities. This doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t work with organizations that act on a regional, national, or global level, but we prioritize working with local groups whenever possible.

We welcome suggestions from our community! Do you know of an organization that you think we should work with? Tell us! You can reach our Community & Volunteerism Coordinator, Ari Green, at

Upcoming Actions & Events

Community Cooks

Ongoing opportunity

Esh is partnering with Community Cooks to bring home-cooked, nutritious meals to folks in our community who are facing food insecurity, and we need volunteer cooks! Community Cooks has been mobilizing individuals, businesses, and communities to provide vulnerable neighbors with prepared meals since 1990. Since February of 2021, the Esh community has been providing monthly meals to Wayside Shortstop, a transitional housing program in Somerville offering services to young adults facing homelessness.

Esh community members are invited to join our team of volunteer cooks! Volunteer cooks provide a meal on the fourth Wednesday of every month; individual volunteers can choose to cook each month, or rotate in and out as they are able. Each month, we need a minimum of six cooks to provide a total of two main/meat dishes, two vegetable/side dishes, and two pasta/grain dishes – each dish must feed approximately 10-12 people. Volunteer cooks can participate from anywhere in the Greater Boston area, but they must be able to bring their portion of the meal to Somerville to be dropped off on meal day.

If you are interested in volunteering to cook, have questions, or would like to learn more, please email Ari Green at

Learn more about Community Cooks

Black & Pink Pen-Pals

Ongoing opportunity

Consider signing up to be a penpal for an incarcerated person through Black and Pink Massachusetts’ penpal program! Black and Pink Massachusetts is an organization that promotes liberation and prison abolition with a focus on LGBTQ+ people and those living with HIV/AIDS. Black and Pink supports their incarcerated members through advocacy, one on one support, and organizing. Prison is an intensely lonely and isolating place, and having a penpal to write to can make a huge difference for those on the inside. One letter can change someone’s life! It reminds them that they have support outside the prison and sends a signal to them and those around them that they matter.

Join members of the Esh community to take part in this program. We have a private Facebook group for those taking part so that we as a community can support and hold each other accountable and have an opportunity to talk through the experience. Contact Ari Green at for more information or to join us.

Learn about the Pen-Pal Program

Check back soon for upcoming events!

Partner Organizations

We believe lasting change happens by building relationships. Our partner organizations are folks we work with on recurring or ongoing efforts.

If you’re interested in becoming a partner organization, let’s talk! You can reach our Community & Volunteerism Coordinator, Ari Green, at


NEBC is a Black-led group of circus performers in New England. NEBC’s mission is to support Black circus artists by connecting them with training, resources, and performance opportunities. Esh is proud to partner with NEBC to offer discounts and tuition assistance for NEBC members taking classes at Esh, and monthly Black-only open studio sessions.