LINDSAY MEWHINEY, For the Independent
The Grade 11 woodshop class at EDSS has been hard at work on the wooden toys they will be donating to Anselma House in time for Christmas.
Anselma House, founded in 1978 and located in Kitchener, is a shelter that houses abused women and their children, until they are able to secure stable jobs and housing for themselves.
“[The class] does a research project where they find out what charities they might want to deliver the toys to,” says woodshop teacher Alex Derma.
Derma has organized this toy drive each year with his woodshop classes since his arrival at EDSS, in September of 2009.
“This is my favourite project that any of my classes do,” says Derma, “As soon as [the students] start building it, they get more engaged in it, and they seem to really enjoy it. They put more care into it, because they know it’s going to somebody else. Their standards go up.”
The students are looking forward to finishing the toys that they started building in mid-November, and to seeing them go towards a good cause as they now add the finishing touches.
Emily O’Connor, who brought forward the suggestion to donate the toys to Anselma House, is working on a fully functioning wooden xylophone she will be contributing to the toy drive.
“It’s been a little difficult, finding the pitch and stuff,” says O’Connor, “But I’ve definitely been working harder on this project than I have for any other, because I know where it’s going.”
Jordan Soehner, who has been working hard on his project that doubles as both a storage box and a tic-tac-toe board, is also proud of what the class is accomplishing.
“It’s great to present these kids with toys,” says Soehner, “It’s really good for the time of year, and I’m sure it’ll make them happy.”
Derma enjoys seeing the effort that his students put into the projects, and notes that the skills students gain as they begin to pay attention to the finer details in the construction of their toys become apparent in projects students complete later in the course.
“They can always look back on these, and I can say, ‘Remember what you did on your toys, now apply those same principles to your final projects,’” says Derma.
Ideally, Derma would like for the class to be able to take a field trip to the Anselma House so that the students are able to personally deliver their toys to the shelter, but is not sure that this will be possible, due to the bus fees that would have to be paid for such a small class size.
Despite the possibility that they may not be able to personally deliver their creations to the Anselma House, students in the class agree that their projects are an important contribution to the community that they are happy to be involved with.
“It’s fun to do, knowing that it’s going to go to a good cause,” adds Soehner.
An exact date has yet to be determined for when the toys will be delivered to the Anselma House, but the hard work of the class will directly benefit families in the region this holiday season.