December 10, 2020
Alex shares why he volunteers at RMHC Toronto
Woodworking is one of our most popular and longest running programs. For 30 years, Alex has volunteered to run the program by creating handmade wooden objects for families to paint and have as a keepsake.
As we look ahead to our 40th anniversary in 2021, we are looking back on the people who make RMHC Toronto special – starting with Alex. We believe his legacy as a volunteer is a testament to his continuous energy, creativity, and compassion for families in need. Our programming is going through some changes as we migrate to virtual platforms and we look forward to resuming our woodworking program soon. In the meantime, we talked to Alex to hear about his experiences and memories.
How did you start the woodworking program?
I was completing an internship at SickKids, and a Child Life Specialist I worked with asked me if I was interested in sharing my woodworking with the kids at RMHC Toronto. I visited the first House on Dundas Street to run the program for the first time and I loved it.
What are your favourite memories from the first House?
All 13 families staying at the House attended woodworking every week unless they were with their child in the hospital. It was a small house, so it was fun to have all the children and parents piled into the combined living room, dining room and kitchen. Everyone was together and having a good time.
What keeps you involved year after year?
The big smiles on the children’s faces. In the current House, I can see the kids running down the hall to the programs room. They get so excited to see what I have created. Coming to RMHC Toronto is the best day of my week and I am looking forward to returning to the House when it is safe to do so.
You have created countless wooden pieces over the years. What have been some of the family favourites?
The kids love the wooden acrobats and carousels. Also, last year I made a wooden MRI machine for the teddy bear clinics with the Child Life Specialist. Kids will take their teddy bear back and forth on the wooden MRI, and it helps make it less scary. Special projects like that make an impact for the families and they are a lot of fun for me too.
Alex’s MRI machine (photo taken before COVID-19).