Kids become the show when Jason Kollum performs

mkt-170523-facebook-slide-jugglerEvery kid should get a chance to find their talent and become a pro. Jason Kollum does his part, encouraging them to be original and creative.

On a whim 20 years ago, Kollum joined a juggling club at his high school. He started with little of the how-to, but slowly built his skills and now makes a living at it. The Illinois-based performer will be coming to Elkhart Public Library on Thursday, June 1, for two soaring shows.

“To me, it’s not enough for kids just to see the show. One of the best ways to learn something new is to become involved in it,” Kollum says. “… I can’t teach them to juggle in a short period of time, but they can try and balance a feather on their nose and move up from there. It’s great, high-energy fun.”

The performances mark the start of the library’s 2017 summer reading program, “Build a Better World.” Kollum will perform at 4 p.m. in the atrium of the downtown location, 300 S. Second St., and at 6:30 p.m. outside the Dunlap branch, 58485 C.R. 13.

Both shows are free.1

“We were looking for something exciting to bring the kids in and get them pumped for summer reading. You could just tell from the videos Jason brings that energy,” says children’s librarian Chuck Pieri, who helps organize Elkhart Public Library’s summer activities.  “Parents and kids will be highly entertained.”

Going outdoors at Dunlap provides some unique challenges, as Kollum says he’ll have to adjust for the wind. Performing in the downtown atrium will give him two stories of height he needs.

“Every show is different, but the one thing that stays the same is giving kids the chance to be in the interactive workshop. They get to try some of the things they see – it’s a lot of fun,” Kollum says. “Summer is always a big time for me, working seven days a week and traveling to lots of different venues. I’m all over the Midwest and keeping busy.

“I’m excited for the Elkhart shows because I’m not in your area all the time.”

Summer reading program is a staple for libraries, encouraging students to keep literacy skills sharp during vacation. This year, each of the five Elkhart locations will offer prizes, which range from $50 Amazon gift cards to Minecraft LEGO sets and DUPLO building blocks.

Summer reading goes for eight weeks and concludes July 29.

“A lot of kids have so many distractions during the summer. We just want to pump up reading and get them enjoying books they want to read,” Pieri says. “Then, when they get to the next grade level, they’ll have kept up those skills and be ready.

“We want them to love the written word … and maybe look at something besides a screen. Now that’s exciting stuff!”

(Originally printed in The Hart, publication of the Goshen News)

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