Students from Westmount Collegiate Institute in Thornhill have taken on a special project – create a board that fits under an IV pole for a child to sit on or to carry around their belongings.
“My son was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2014,” said Shield Initiative founder Ilan Danjoux. “Once my son went through the process, one of the first things I wanted to do was give back to the many individuals and organizations that helped us.”
The project known as the Shield Initiative gives children the freedom to move and explore whether at home or in hospital.
“I came across a story in the United States about these platforms that were used in hospitals,” said Danjoux.
“I thought this might be a useful sort of beneficial thing. Many of our students are extremely talented in our art department and our tech department so the idea was to bring the two together as a way to give back, sort of pay it forward to parents and children who may not realize this is something they need.”
Each shield is hand cut and sanded. This process takes about three days. Then it’s time to prime and paint.
“It started off as an after school program,” said Noam Citrin a student at Westmount Collegiate Institute. “Bit by Bit the project grew a lot with the help of Mr. Danjoux, who is our teacher/Instructor. Mr. Danjoux managed to get it into the art and tech curriculum at Westmount Collegiate.”
“They’re one-of-a-kind productions and they usually reflect the child’s interest,” said Danjoux.
Each shield is a gift to a child when they need it the most without any cost to the family.
“We fundraise in order to pay for the shields, to pay for the wood, pay for the art,” said Danjoux. “We’ve had tremendous support from the school board, from the community, from the students.”
“It’s one of the most amazing feelings out there knowing child is going through a really tough time – I can’t fix that, but maybe I can put a smile on their face even for a second,” said Citrin.