LEARNING + FUN = MAGIC
Since 2004, we have run hundreds of session for thousands of children in different centres throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) engaging and performing for community members.
My Magic Hands is an eight-week community outreach program developed by Magicana to introduce children in hospitals and at-risk communities to the unique and creative process of performing magic for a live audience. This process results in an overall feeling of accomplishment, increased self-esteem and first-hand experience of a performing art. During the process, the sessions also teach children the basics of public speaking, digital dexterity, mnemonic tricks and improvisation; thus providing each participant with tools for tapping into and guiding their own creative powers.
This program is also a cost-efficient way of providing the tools and the experience for children to learn about the arts in communities that do not normally have access to quality arts-related programming. By partnering with community centres and children’s agencies, such as Camp Oochigeas and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Toronto, we are also able to guarantee an enriched, fun and safe environment.
We also harness the power of group participation. First, we have “magic coaches” who are effectively volunteers who are trained to provide each participant encouragement and support. In some cases, these volunteers are high school students seeking meaningful volunteer placement position. The high-school aged coaches also provide role modelling for young and impressionable participants.
In other situations, we work with camp councillors and or third party partners like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto, Camp Ooch or Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital who provide screened, trained and committed volunteer participants, who have significant experience and volunteering hours.
And then finally, we have the participants themselves. Older participants coach and support the younger ones to encourage both empathy and leadership within the participant peer group. Since each participant must also perform during the session in preparation for the final Big Show performance recital, the children see and feel, first hand, what it is like to be in the” hot seat” as a performer, and as an audience member. Peer support has become an important part of the bi-products from our program and has become highly effective for groups.