My Magic Hands Celebrates 9 years at Holland Bloorview!

It is hard to believe that  My Magic Hands was originally launched nearly a decade ago.

Magicana applied for funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation(OTF) to develop a pilot program version of  “Magic Hands”.  In 2004, the program was designed and tested during the year in four different at-risk communities around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Canada’s top children’s rehabilitation hospital, now known as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. The response to the pilot program was excellent and Trillium agreed. Magicana was then awarded a multi-year grant to expand  My Magic Hands program (and, to simultaneously develop Senior Sorcery – a program designed specifically for the senior population). My Magic Hands continued to evolved and developed through funding from private foundations and donors. Today, this program is funded solely by the Slaight Family Foundation.

All the way, My Magic Hands has been working side-by-side with Holland Bloorview, specifically in occupational therapy and speech therapy programs. The magic program is recognized and acknowledged by occupational therapists, staff and parents of clients as a unique, successful and motivating tool assisting clients to reach their therapeutic goals. Session after session, we are continuously motivated – and inspired – by the hard work our participants give to the program. It’s all about The Big Show where the children really do become magicians as they stage and star in their own production. The show never fails to marvel – never a dry eye in the house!

It’s hard to believe that we just wrapped up our 2013 summer session at Holland Bloorview marking our ninth year at the hospital!

None of this would have been possible without dedicated volunteers and hard-working staff from Holland Bloorview. The program only works because of the one-on-one attention volunteers give each client.  The communal effort between Magicana and the Holland Bloorview team is what makes our program so unique and so special.

We hope that our collaboration continues to evolve and we look forward to resuming our sessions with the hospital later this fall.

Congratulations to our latest graduates! May the magic continue in your magic hands!

 

 

Magic at SickKids

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Before we dispersed for the holidays, we had our first My Magic Hands workshop at SickKids with the adolescent medicine program.

The mission of SickKids is, “to inspire our communities to invest in health and scientific advances to improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the world”. Using our My Magic Hands program, we hope we successfully used magic as a teaching vehicle to improve the quality of life of young adults by building up their self-confidence and public speaking skills.

We received positive feedback from both the participants and their coaches/supervisors and look forward to future outings together in 2013.

 

Winter Wonders, The Graduates of My Magic Hands Winter Sessions

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! 

 

As Julie Eng states:

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!

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

Summer Wrap Up for My Magic Hands at Bloorview

We just finished yet another round of My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation and we are proud to say, that as always, it was an amazing experience for both our instructors, volunteers and participants!

We had a particularly big and lively group this time round, the last group before summer ends. We are so proud of our junior magicians and of their magic coaches as  they carried out their performances for The Big Show. The hard work and dedication each participant contributed, clearly showed in the delivery of their magic tricks and scripts, along with the help and generosity that their magic coaches graciously gave them.

This wraps up our ninth year of summer sessions at Holland Bloorview–and we’re proud  to say, that we had a great and unforgettable summer learning and teaching magic and wonder, and look forward to our fall session.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters AND BIG MAGIC!

Magicana held a magic day camp for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Torontothis past Weekend, Saturday, August 18.

We salut the BBBST’s philosophy of mentoring and its life-changing effects to empower and motivate youth to reach their full potential.  The mandate of My Magic Hands has always been to use magic as a metaphor in problem-solving and creative thinking while, building self-confidence and self-esteem.

As a result, we find that our volunteers, or “magic coaches”, really are the secret ingredient in success for  participants as they learn magic feats throughout the day. The one-on-one attention, focus and encouragement is educational but most of all the bonding that is built between Bigs and Littles is what this day was all about.

Congratulations to all our participants and to their Bigs for sharing wonder with their Littles!

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The Wonder Behind the Magic

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!

 

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Magic Healing at Holland Bloorview

It’s a busy summer for My Magic Hands!

We currently have two specially focused sessions with Holland Bloorview called, Helping Hands and Hand 2 Hand.

These summer programs focus on strengthening the client’s less dominant hand by restraining the dominant hand, on and off throughout the camp. Naturally in this conditions, magic becomes increasingly difficult to perform – especially when clients naturally want to use their dominant hand for fine motor tasks, such as shuffling a deck of cards.

However, the staff and volunteers in the sessions act as magic coaches for the students (magicians) and encourage magicians and assist them on a one-to-one basis, providing children a nurturing and positive experience. It is incredibly rewarding to see progression emanating from our current participants in this accelerated summer session. We congratulate magicians and their ‘magic coaches’ for such an outstanding job!

Thanks to the generous donors and sponsors of our My Magic Hands program, we can continue making a difference in our community and keep in our pursuit in sharing wonder.

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A Thank You to our Amazing Volunteers

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!

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 !

Magical Medicine

Magicana has been delivering My Magic Hands to clients at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital since 2004. And, as the program’s lead instructor, it has been one of the most rewarding personal experiences I have encountered in my career as a magician.

For most recent round of My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview (held during May and June), clients participated inside of our partnership with the Luminato Festival’s Outreach and Education program. Clients from a wide range of ages from five to sixteen, were challenged to learn how to perform magic over the course of four weeks in preparation for A Big Show, which was held during the Luminato Festival. As always, the show was spectacular but what is even more rewarding was watching clients flourish over the course of the program. Clients pushed past barriers, often surprising themselves at how much they could do. It was also very gratifying to hear how our magic program gave clients a new perspective:

“It has been great watching our daughter over the last couple of weeks practicing all of the tricks which has bolstered her fine motor skills. She  realizes that if she makes the effort on a daily basis to use both hands she will continue to see improvement on her left side.  To us as parents this is invaluable.”

– M & A Cairns

This program, however, relies on other kinds of magicians – the occupational therapists, speech therapists and  dedicated volunteers at Holland Bloorview. Without this level of support, where clients are encouraged to bring their magic to speech and therapy sessions – and where they are given such incredible encouragement and coaching by volunteers – the program could not flourish. But as a team, it’s clear there is real magic at work and we congratulate all our new gradutes of My Magic Hands.

Julie Eng

 

See My Magic Hands in action!

During the program, we were visited by CBC who broadcasted this clip on The National.

For more information about our program visit: www.mymagichands.com