TORONTO — Naiomi Bielak is just 17 years old yet she has been volunteering most of her life with her mother by her side.
Her mother Pamela Bielak created Crafting For A Cure more than a decade ago, bringing crafting supplies to hospitals to help young patients pass the time.
Naiomi used to help her mom design and deliver the crafts. Now, all grown up she’s changing lives one pirouette at a time.
“What I do and what Smiles for All is, I, as a ballet dancer go into the hospitals and I perform,” Naiomi says.
Smiles For All started two years ago and today Naiomi and her friends from the Victoria Ballet Academy perform at different hospitals whenever and where ever they can-whether it’s a child’s bedside in the hallway or in the playroom.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your child wanting to give back,” her mother says.
The goal for Smiles For All is to get children and their parents to relax and forget — if only for a moment — why they’re in hospital.
The benefits of the program, according to Humber River Hospital child life specialist Alexandria Christofides is that it “reduces anxiety, reduces stress, and I would say making the hospital experience more positive and special.”
But the smiles go far beyond the children, spreading to the parents, the nurses, and everyone they meet along the way.
Niaomi says “I want to give them some peace, some sense of quiet and just freedom.”