We thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with My Magic Hands and the comments from the children afterward spoke volumes of the success of your program.
— Michael Brown
Artist In Residence
I LOVED Magic Hands because it was so cool to learn magic. You were really good teachers the best I ever had.
— Maya, Age 10
My Magic Hands is targeted for community centres in economically disadvantaged and culturally diverse areas in the GTA – centres and children who do not normally have access to much arts-related programming.
Schools and centres that have hosted My Magic Hands include:
Scadding Court Community Centre
Harbourfront Community Centre
Warden Woods Community Centre
Queen Victoria Junior Public School
Lawrence Heights Middle School
Valleyfield Junior School
The program transcends race, religion, language, and gender. We work closely with local partners (hospitals and community centres) to fully appreciate the unique needs and priorities of each community. We empower centre coordinators – those who are more familiar with each potential participant’s financial and domestic situation – with registration duties to ensure successful class fulfillment.
Making Art Accessible
We have conducted My Magic Hands successfully with inner-city communities at Jane and Finch, Lawrence Heights, Regent Park, Bathurst/Quay, Queen West and Bathurst West/Dundas West. These areas often face the challenges of poverty, malnutrition, and negative social integration and adjustment – especially for newcomers to Canada.
We engage community participation by developing partnerships with community centers, their staff and their constituents in presenting the program. We also reach the greater community through the production of The Big Show. Children are asked to invite friends, family and teachers to their final presentation. Children are always so excited to see the results of their invitations with familiar faces in the audiences. Guests are always gracious in relaying praise to performers even after the program has finished. This positive feedback only reinforces confidence.
Building Stronger Communities
My Magic Hands also brings family and community together. For example, one parent remarked that she took time off work to attend The Big Show because she had seen all the practice and rehearsal that her daughter conducted at home prior to the show. Her daughter simply lit up when she saw her mother in the audience.
Another single parent made an extraordinary effort to rearrange his work schedule to come from the opposite end of the city to attend his daughter’s performance after seeing her work briefly in class. His daughter was completely touched by his presence. We were later informed by the centre coordinator that this was a significant effort since the girl’s parents were recently separated and that the daughter had much less interaction with her father as a result.
“The Magic Hands program gave the children this opportunity and so much more. Under the guise of learning a cool new trick to show their friends, the children improved their listening skills and their ability to follow directions and focus on the task at hand.
We saw quite a difference in the children over the weeks. At first Nick, one of our shyest performers refused to perform on stage. But, despite his personal fears and thanks to the encouragement of his peers and facilitators, he stood up and found his voice. He was able to tap into his stage persona and literally came out of his shell. We were witness to this transformation in each session of Magic Hands. Children found the courage that they did not know they had, thanks to the structure of the Magic Hands program and the patience and support of Magic Hands facilitators and volunteers.”
St Felix Centre
“All the children learned new skills but one child in particular expressed how much she learned from the experience. She expressed that since English was her second language she felt intimidated to perform her magic for an audience. After all the work she did throughout the sessions, she was able to gain the confidence and overcome her insecurities. Her parents were there to see her perform and were so proud of her. This is just one example of how much this program offers children.”
Children’s Program Supervisor
St. Christopher House