Coaching Kids into Life and Magic


Getting a new perspective on how our workshop affects lives inspires us to continue evolving My Magic Hands so that it can reach and benefit those who need it the most. We believe our workshop is therapeutic not only to its participants but to our volunteers as well. My Magic Hands gives magic coaches a sense of purpose and community: they have become part of great change in the lives of others, and have become crucial to their growth and development. In addition to this, My Magic Hands is an effective starting point to those who want to enter the rewarding career of Occupational Therapy, or health studies.

With mutual benefit stemming from both sides of our program, we are pleased to see the ripples of effect our program has started. We hope Aneesha’s testimonial, another committed volunteer from our past session at Holland Bloorview, will encourage our readers to volunteer and support My Magic Hands.

Aneesha states:

“Magic is, believing in yourself.  If you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

These words by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe echo when I look back on the wonderful weeks at Magicana’s workshop and one-on-one sessions.

After the ‘My Magic Hands’ workshop at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital ended in March, our team of ‘magic coaches’ embarked on yet another journey, of one-on-one magic sessions, in April. With the leadership of Julie Eng, our multi-faceted magic instructor and Salma Kassam, our exceptional occupational therapist, we ventured into comfortable zones of therapy, to help the kids develop their magic skills, with the intention of developing their fine motor, speech and cognitive skills. Therapy, usually described as ‘boring’ by the kids, became fun and exciting.

During the one-on-one sessions, while the kids were thrilled about the magic tricks, our team focused on trying to achieve individual goals, as well as improve their sense of social interactions and growth. The team leaders, working in unison, aim to unlock each child’s true potential and help them create a future of possibilities. Each session comprised of working on one or two magic tricks with practise and attention to detail. Every one-on-one session ended with a little magic performance that allowed the participants to showcase their developed skills. Witnessing the transformation of a child (who in normal circumstances would shy away from displaying his abilities) into a confident performer was remarkable.

When I first joined the program I did not know what to expect. But after the completion of these sessions I have come to experience senses beyond description. Laughter, mischief, innocence, friendships all became important elements in every session.  With our team leaders, other members of the hospital’s staff and Aletheia,  a wonderful co-volunteer (and friend), I truly had a remarkable experience and wonderful memories to look back on. Thank you. I look forward to future interactions with Magicana and their work. I started this testimonial with a quote and would like to end with one too.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting, for our senses to grow sharper”- W. B. Yeats




From a Magic Coach’s Perspective

Teamwork makes it happen. L to R: Salma Kassam, OT, Volunteers Aneesha Nair and Aletheia Chiang and magic instructor, Julie Eng.


We have just finished two amazing sessions with Holland Bloorview, with the help of the hospital’s staff and two incredible volunteers, Aletheia and Aneesha. Magic Coaches are truly the essential element that contributes to the success of our workshops. The mentorship and encouragement participants receive during their sessions are certain to endure beyond the performance of their Big Show. These are relationships both participants and magic coaches carry  as they continue their journeys in life and magic.

We had the pleasure of learning about the experience of two magic coaches, Aletheia and Aneesha, summed up in a blog entry. We are proud to share Aletheia’s writing and hope it inspires others into volunteering.

Aletheia writes:

Following the success of Magicana’s 4-week My Magic Hands workshop at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in March, our team of “Magic Coaches”, program leader, and Occupational Therapy staff, continued with another set of 4-week one-to-one sessions in April. Our aim was to provide individual one-to-one support to a smaller group of young participants–(some new, some returning!)–as they learn new magic routines and tricks, and in the process, develop and apply many fine motor, cognitive, speech, and interpersonal skills.

In these one-to-one sessions, participants learned the various components of new magic routines at a comfortable pace customized to their skill level and ability. Our team worked to create a quieter, more focused environment where more attention was paid to each participant’s developmental and therapeutic progress in the learning and performance of the magic routines. Furthermore, they developed interpersonal growth through peer-to-peer interaction, group support, and mutual encouragement.

At the end of each session, our young magicians had the opportunity to perform the magic trick of their choice to a warm audience that consisted mostly of family members and fellow peers. The art of performance is an important component of magic, and touches on key life skills such as self-confidence building and public speaking. For some of these participants, who would otherwise shy away from public performance in a larger group, these one-to-one sessions gave them the chance to perform for those closest to them, in an intimate and small setting they could be comfortable in.

With many new, young magicians of April’s one-to-one sessions now becoming graduates of our program, we look forward to the next opportunity to share the wonder of magic within the community! Many, many thanks to the special tutelage of the program’s lead instructor, Julie Eng, and Salma Kassam, Occupational Therapist staff at Holland-Bloorview, as well as to the focused coaching of dedicated volunteers, for making this unique opportunity possible for our friends and family at Holland-Bloorview!