Volunteering

Reassuring Message Helps Young Patients

This article was published in The Toronto Star on Saturday July 28 2007

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Photo: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star

Meet the people behind Tails-A Fairy Tale on Furry Tails, a comedy musical about being different. Tails is directed at and created for children in hospital and their families.

By: Miriam Porter Special to the Star

WHAT: Koren created Tails–A Fairy Tale on Furry Tails, a comedy musical about being different. Tails is directed at and created for children in hospital and their families.

WHERE: Every Thursday evening since July 6, 1992, in the Bear Theatre at Sick Kids.

WHY: Ami Rokach, who at York University in the psychology department, has studied the impact of the play. He says children who are sick and in hospital “are often perceived by their peers to be disadvantaged, weakened and dependent.” Tails counters this by helping young patients realize their potential, he says. It also transforms the hospital into a place where “good people try to create fun for hospitalized children.” In 1994, the U.S. Association of Paediatric Hospitals gave the play its award for innovation in pediatric care.

HOW: Tails relies on volunteers. The five characters are played by a rotating cast – Koren himself has performed each of the five roles numerous times – and crew positions include helping with sound, props, costume maintenance and working with the children and their families.

SUCCESS SO FAR: Tails has been put on at least 750 times in Toronto and is also regularly performed at Miller’s Children’s Hospital in California and Schneider National Children’s Hospital in Israel.

QUOTE: “Tails is a healing experience for me and my colleagues on and off the stage,” Koren says. “Thursday evening is the highlight of my week. Touching the minds and souls of children through Tails fills me with immense joy – as a doctor, writer and human being.”

FIND OUT MORE: www.sickkids.ca/tails

2 super team 2010Supergirl and Superboy Volunteering in Toronto – 2010

Photo: Miriam Porter