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Woodland Park Resident Takes Clowning Seriously

Ginnie Testo, as Foxy Roxy, performs at St. Joseph's Hospital. Photo Credit: Ginnie Testo
Call Us Clowns after a show at the New Jersey Retired Firemen's Home in Boonton in honor of International Clown Week, in August 2015. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — Balloon sculptures, singing and dancing are part of borough resident Ginnie Testo's act as Foxy Roxy, one of 40 volunteers with Call Us Clowns. So is keeping her composure.

Every couple of days, Testo slaps on a pair of red suspenders, knee-high yellow socks and her clown name tag before heading to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, or St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, to entertain sick children.

"I can be drawn to tears in a very short period of time with some of this stuff," said Testo, who joined Call Us Clowns a year after retiring as an IT project manager in 2005.

Testo, a member of the organization's board of directors, recalled a particularly moving moment when she performed at a school for disabled children in Jersey City several years ago.

Her troupe was setting up backstage when a young boy in the lobby asked for her.

"He was so excited to see me and he told me how he would be graduating and wouldn't be there anymore," Testo said. "He insisted on taking pictures.

"It was so emotional for me," she said. "That's the kind of thing we run across."

The nonprofit Call Us Clowns was named "Alley of the Year" for the third time this past May by the World Clown Association.

Still, Testo's greatest reward is the sound of the youngsters' laughter.

"It’s not what you say that they’’ll remember," she said. "It’s how you made them feel."

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