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RCC's Community Education Woodworking Class Builds Toys for Critically Ill Children

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This past week, RCC Community Education intermediate and advanced woodworking students delivered heirloom wooden toys to critically ill children at Loma Linda Hospital.

This marks the fifteenth year that RCC “wood elves” have measured, cut, shaped and assembled hundreds of toys for the kids during the holidays. Production time takes the entire class one semester to complete, which equals 54 hours of class time. Toys are made 18 to 30 at a time to create a small production run.

“Everyone gives to someone or something, and we just happen to have the talent to make beautiful toys, so that’s what we do,” said woodworking instructor Stephen Youngerman who launched the charitable effort in 1997.

“Students like seeing the joy on the children’s faces and the overwhelming emotion in the eyes of their parents when they realize that their children are gifted with a toy designed to be handed down, generation through generation.”

A Loma Linda Hospital Children’s Critical Care Nurse, whose name is anonymous, said, “Many groups donate toys to children, but the RCC toys are the ones Loma Linda loves to receive most because of the subliminal message that says: “You have a future!”

Many of the class participants, ranging from home schooled high school students to retirees, return year after year to craft the toys, volunteering time and money to make sure the toys are ready for delivery in time for Christmas. The toys are unique and not made anywhere else. The woodworking class makes their own plans, patterns, and templates using a variety of wood.

“Making and delivering toys to kids is why I continue to pay registration fees,” said Dennis Smith, a fourth-year participant.

The hol iday project and the woodworking classes align perfectly with Riverside City College Community Education’s mission to enrich people’s lives through vocational or avocational learning opportunities and programs.

“The students become better people for their spirit of giving and the recipients become better because of the encouragement they receive in the form of a ‘forever’ gift,” said Cyndi Pardee, Community Education supervisor.

Woodworking classes are held in the evenings in the woodshop at Matthew Gage Middle School. For more information on Community Education classes, log onto: http://rcccommunityed.com

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