The gentlemen who work away in the basement woodshop in The Village of Tansley Woods do so as much for the sake of camaraderie as they do out of a love of sawdust and power tools. All year long, they regularly get together to fashion a variety of products out of wood, most often to be donated for sale in the annual Christmas bazaar, and they’re proud to contribute to the event’s success.
They were also proud to learn this year that one of the small doll cradles they made became a gift of a different sort, brightening the eyes of a group of Grade 1 pupils from Oakville’s Brookdale Public School. The doll that was included was given the name Lily by the class. Jacqueline Philipson, whose parents live in Tansley Woods, was at the Christmas Bazaar in November and found herself in conversation with general manager Joanna Gurd. Jaqueline mentioned that she teaches English as a Second Language at the school supporting children new to Canada. Almost immediately, Joanna offered to donate one of the cribs made by the woodworking residents as a possible fundraising idea for the program.
The class had a better idea, however, and the children now love playing with their new gift and the teachers have found a new opportunity to teach language skills through the power of imagination.
“We have quite a few students who struggle with reading,” says Corrine Furtney, the class teacher who works alongside Jacqueline, “so if they read to Baby Lily it builds their confidence.” They also learn concepts like empathetic caring, Corrine adds, and they are extremely grateful to The Village for the gift. “It has made such a wonderful impact on my students and we really appreciate the opportunity to have this in our classroom,” she says.
Bob Milley is one of the regular word shop stewards, and he says he and his friends are happy to know something they built is bringing joy and knowledge to young neighbours in the community. “We get a lot of satisfaction out of doing things that we know will be beneficial for somebody,” Bob says, noting the cradles are always well received at the Bazaar; the six they had available this year didn’t last long, he says. The profits from the annual event are funneled directly back into The Village for resident experiences and everyone who contributes is happy to be part of that success.
Knowing the children at Brookdale are also reaping a reward is an extra point of pride this holiday season.