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Carving because they care

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Students at John G. Stewart School got crafty for a cause.

Shops instructor Robert Unik led a group of students who carved and airbrushed two signs for the Children’s Hospital Foundation — one with the foundation’s Dr. Goodbear logo and the other for the Dream Lottery for Kids, which benefits both the Children’s Hospital and the St. Boniface Hospital. The project took about three months to complete.

Unik said he has always done a similar project for a non-profit organization that works with children during each of his 13 years at the North Kildonan School, located at 2069 Henderson Hwy.

"We just started on it, we didn’t even approach the hospital – we just did it because we like to design," said Unik, noting the school has designed for Koats for Kids, as well as for the bulk of other schools in River East Transcona School Division. "We know all non-profits will accept our work."

John G. Stewart student Montel McKay added detail to the signs with his carving work, etching the stars onto the Dream Lottery sign and bringing life to Dr. Goodbear on the logo.

"I made the fur so it looks like actual fur," said McKay, who hopes to continue with woodworking.

Fellow students Melissa Grantham and Gabbi Richard helped with the painting of the signs, beginning with three layers of priming, then painting by hand, then airbrushing detail on the signs.

"I feel so proud of myself right now," said Grantham. "We see the finished project and how it looks, and think of how many people might be able to see it. Wow!"

"Mind blown," added Richard.

Grantham acknowledged being a little overwhelmed to start, but saw her confidence grow as the project came along.

Children’s Hospital Foundation community development co-ordinator Tania Gauthier said the signs would be used in the community as much as possible, as members of the public don’t often drop into the office.

She said the work will be visible at the Dream Lottery house in the late summer and early fall, as well as at the Teddy Bears’ Picnic this summer.

"We will bring it out to events so lots of people can see it, and then when it’s not out at events, we will find a place in the hospital so that it can be displayed," she said.

Gauthier said the foundation was "floored" when it received the school’s offer.

"We were so impressed with the craftsmanship that went into these," she said. "It’s so impressive that students put all the work into this."

Unik invited any non-profit organization that serves children is welcome to contact him at the school if they would like to be considered for a similar project in the future.

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