Mall at UTC hosts the Circus Arts Conservatory.
Callahan Harchuck, a fourth-grader at Ashton Elementary School in Sarasota, focused intently as she walked across a wire Tuesday at the Mall at University Town Center on Tuesday.
Harchuck was performing as a member of the Sailor Circus, which is under the direction of the Circus Arts Conservatory.
While Harchuck understands how hard it is to walk the wire, she probably doesn't realize that nonprofits like the Circus Arts Conservatory walk a wire when it comes to funding.
From noon Tuesday to noon on Wednesday, the Circus Arts Conservatory was hoping to raise $50,000 through the Giving Challenge. The money would be dedicated to its Circus Science Program, which has impacted more than 20,000 students since 2012.
The show at the Mall at University Town Center was called "Marvelous, Miraculous Circus Science Machine" and was being performed to raise awareness about the Giving Challenge.
Callahan and six other Sailor Circus performers showcased their skills as part of the program. The Sailor Circus trains students aged 8 to 18 and is part of the outreach education program funded by the Circus Arts Conservatory.
For Karen Bell, the outreach education manager for the Circus Arts Conservatory, the Giving Challenge is critical.
"Right now, we are going into schools in Manatee and Sarasota counties, mostly Title I schools, and teaching them about force and gravity with our "Marvelous Miraculous Circus Science Machine," Bell said. "With this money, we'll be able to reach even more schools and allow them to learn in a fun environment."
Palm Aire's Dick and Connie Callaway stopped to watch the circus acts and they admitted they hadn't heard of the Giving Challenge. After watching the performances, they thought a donation would go toward a good cause.
"I think it's great what they're doing to educate kids like that," Dick Callaway said. "I thought it was a worthy cause."
To donate to an area nonprofit during the Giving Challenge, go to givingpartnerchallenge.org.