Tag Archives: Holland Bloorview

Winter Wonders, The Graduates of My Magic Hands Winter Sessions

10 Dec

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Congratulations to the graduates from our latest My Magic Hands fall session at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab.

My Magic Hands program develops each participant’s interpersonal skills: they learn how to interact with others, express ideas, team-build and speak in public. From day one, each child performs for the group. As they struggle with the challenges of performing – nervousness, shyness or difficulty in mastering a trick – they also learn to support and encourage each other. The struggle teaches the importance of listening, practice and preparation.

And so, with the help of our amazing volunteers, lead instructors and the wonderful staff from Holland Bloorview, we get to see each participant face the challenge of producing their own Big Show for their parents and friends and the satisfaction and confidence they derive when they see the results of their hard work executed! 

We are very proud of our students who raised their game and pressed themselves to become great performers for their “Big Show”.

As Julie Eng enthusiastically notes:

Thank you to all our magicians, our volutneers, our staff / team of Magicana and Holland Bloorview players who all came together to see these kids shine at the December6, 2012 show.

There is absolutely nothing more satisfying that seeing our students blossom on their own at their production of A Big Show. I am incredibly proud of these amazing kids and the entire team that helped them along their magical journey!

HUGE thanks to Greg Vanden Kroonenberg from AV to bring our show together; and to Brittany Boudreau for taking all these photos for us!

– Julie Eng, Executive Director / Lead Instructor

We hope the magic and wonder continues to grow within our graduates, so that they can share it to the community as well!

The Wonder Behind the Magic

1 Aug

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We like to view My Magic Hands as a communal effort, for the successful delivery of each session – especially at Holland Bloorview where the program’s fulfillment depends on the generosity of our sponsors and the dedication of  volunteers, therapists and participants.

As we’ve come to learn over the years, the beauty of magic lies in its flexibility and versatility. Since partnering with Holland Bloorview, we have observed how magic affects young adults in many ways. It has helped them regain confidence, become more vibrant, and practice control and discipline in order to perform their tricks effortlessly and with the confidence of a performer.  A thriving example of the benefits our workshops reap is the Helping Hands camp we have facilitated over the past three  summers.

What makes this program unique is that it is a modified constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) for clients with hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) secondary to an acquired brain injury or stroke. Participants are required to wear a splint or cast on their non-affected hand. They then engage in activities that promote the functional use of their hemiplegic arm and hand – such as magic!

Helping Hands aims to promote the use of each participant’s affected upper extremity through individually selected activities targeting specific movements and upper extremity function. Magic becomes a great tool as it can simultaneously challenge students to use their hemiplegic side while achieving the thrill of “getting” the magic trick to work. It can be a slow and laborious effort for the clients to try and hit each of the meticulous movements with their less dominant hand–but they do so because of the greater goal to “get” the trick. For an instructor, it can bring tears to one’s eyes!

The program is run by an interdisciplinary team of staff (occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, physiotherapists and social workers) and volunteers. Magicana is brought in to provide the magic component inside the existing frame work of the camp and leads the lesson in magic. What is wonderful is the near one-to-one support that each client receives at Holland Bloorview. We refer to the staff and volunteers present as the client’s ‘magic coach’ which shifts their perspective on the entire experience. Needless to say, it is a very heartwarming experience to see success in the smiles of both our clients and their magic coach.

Helping Hands is truly a program that requires group effort, and we would not have been able to deliver as efficiently as we did if it wasn’t for our magic coaches, our dedicated volunteers who generously donated so much of their time and hard work. Thank you to the recent round of volunteers / magic coaches who volunteered their time to be with these amazing clients: Sinthia, Maggie, Nicholas, Sarah and Pinky – the true wonders behind the magic!

We hope the therapeutic advantages of magic continue with each of our graduates, and may wonder be shared to other members of our community!

Richard Turner drives us Batty!

10 Jul

We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to the dazzling “card cheat”, Richard Turner, who generously donated his puzzle game “Batty” to our community outreach program, My Magic Hands, the children at Holland Bloorview and to the Toronto Public Library during his recent visit to Toronto for the sixth Luminato festival.

Batty is not only dangerously addictive, it is also sure to enhance brain activity while playing. It’s a game that can be played by a second grader, but can also drive a statistician mad with its varying levels of difficulty. Richard explains that this is a great logical thinking game that increases and promotes essential life skills.

What’s great is that Richard has also shared ways to play it in individually or in teams, which is perfect for our mentorship programs and volunteering partners. It’s a fun but challenging game that changes all every time, bringing out the magic in each of its players.

Thank you Richard, for giving us another way of sharing wonder.

For more information about this game or to play Batty, visit  this site: www.battygame.com

Richard Turner, “The Cheat” takes Toronto by storm

12 Jun

Image courtesy of Strut Entertainment

“The Morning Show” watched, astounded and amazed, as Richard Turner picked 38 cards from the deck within a second. One of the hosts then exclaimed, “You did it THAT fast?!”

Yes, he did! For as he mentioned during the interview, Richard’s finger sensitivity has escalated to the point where he is consulted by the United States Playing Card Company to test the flexibility and texture of their decks. But don’t just take our word for it, see it for yourself!  Watch Richard Turner on The Morning Show

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As if that wasn’t enough, Richard Turner then headed over to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital and presented a community outreach show, delighting children, staff and other members of the community with his charm, inspirational life story and unbeatable card manipulation techniques. CBC News stopped by to get in on the fun so check out (local) Channel 6 to catch CBC News early evening news tonight!

He is, indeed, pure magic!

Richard Turner will be presenting his show, The Cheat, June 12–14 @ 7:15 PM The RBC Lobby at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West as part of the Mind Over Matter magic series for the Luminato festival. This is a FREE 45-minute show for all to enjoy!

A Thank You to our Amazing Volunteers

11 Jun

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We are proud to congratulate, yet again, another set of My Magic Hands graduates from Holland Bloorview.

Our first session started on May 15 and ended with a blast on May 31 with their “Big Show”. Once more these young magicians entertained staff, friends, parents and other members of the community in Holland Bloorview as they showed off their new tricks, all the while displaying talent and confidence.

We’d like to take the time to say a heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers. We are very lucky to work with such amazing volunteers, who really took the time to focus on our participants at a one-to-one basis, and who were so dedicated in honing in their goals and achievements. We wouldn’t be able to accomplish half as much as we did if our volunteers weren’t as dedicated and patient, and for that, we thank you.

If you’re looking to make a difference in your community this summer, Holland Bloorview is a great place to volunteer. For more information you can visit their website or contact them at 416 422 7031 or e-mail at volunteers@hollandbloorview.ca.

Congratulations to our new graduates at Holland Bloorview!

18 Apr

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Congratulations to the latest group of graduates of  My Magic Hands hosted at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Our first class started on March 27 led by magicians, Julie Eng and James Alan, and their Big Show on April 12, after only 6 sessions, was a HUGE SUCCESS!

We had a wide range of participants in this session, a GREAT group, who all seemed to enjoy the learning process. It is always touching to see young faces light up when they learn the secrets of how to perfect a magic trick, and to help them realize that they are capable of doing more than what they thought they could do.

We hope our participants continue to explore the magical world and to enjoy every step of their journey !

Volunteers are magic

26 Nov

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There is nothing more inspiring that watching the children from Magicana’s My Magic Hands program. I have been leading this particular program at Holland Bloorview for six years now, and I still can’t get over how amazing it is to see a young student blossom into a confident and charming performer.

Today, we had about 100 people in attendance at the hospital to see The Big Show – a show by students to showcase their favourite magic trick from five weeks of training with our My Magic Hands team. Each performer overcame nervous “butterflies” and really impressed their friends, family and, of course, their magic coaches with stellar performances! Watching these little ones transform over  week by week at the hospital is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had  as a professional magician.

However, as impressive as these children are to me, I also marvel at the power of volunteering and how it impacts participants. We create a supporting role for volunteers in the program by calling them “magic coaches” – and the coaches at Holland Bloorview filled their titles to a tee. We had four volunteers work alongside staff and magic instructors from Magicana, to coach each child through the rigour of learning their magic tricks. Volunteers dutiflly gave their time, energy and encouraging attitudes each week to support their young wards.

Getting up and performing in front of such a large group is a daunting task for most. In fact today, one participant wanted to withdraw from the show. It was heartwarming to see how coaches immediately pounced into action. They rallied behind our wavering magician and quickly melted her nervous fears, enabling her to work through the stage fright and ultimately, to bask in applause. I could not have been more proud.

The secret to our program is the high-level of dedicated volunteers that we have the privilege of working with. To all our volunteers, thank you for giving the invaluable gift of your time –  and for sharing wonder!

Julie Eng,
Executive Director

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