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July 06, 2017 What began as a conversation between two sisters in the back of their parent’s car, has sparked the growth of creative arts programs at the Donald and Elaine Rafelman Creative Arts Studio at Baycrest.

While on route to visit their grandmother, Fern Mednick, a resident at the Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged, Rachel Mednick, 9, told her sister, Amy Mednick, 5, that she wanted to raise funds to help their Bubbie do more arts and crafts with them over the weekend.

“I wanted to raise $50 or $100. Our Bubbie has always loved knitting, needlepoint, and making crafts with our family,” says Rachel. “Since coming to Baycrest, she has made ceramic bowls, bracelets and water colour paintings at the art studio during the week, but we wanted to help her and other Bubbies and Zaides do more arts and crafts over the weekend with their families when they come to visit.”

With the help of her mother and father, Jessica Leinwand and Avi Mednick, Rachel decided to host a swim relay called “Swim for Bubbie” in June with her family and friends at a local pool. Together, they hoped to swim a collective total of 10 km while raising funds for Baycrest.

“Swimming is in our family’s blood,” says Avi. “My mom was a swim instructor and her love for swimming has been passed down through the generations.”

Relying on emails to friends and family, word-of-mouth and social media to share the news about their event, Jessica and Avi said they were thrilled with the response. “On the first day, we raised more than $400 and the fundraiser gained momentum each day as we led up to the swim event,” added Avi.

On June 25, more than 100 friends and family members came to the North Thornhill Community Centre to swim, cheer on and support Rachel’s fundraising efforts. In total, the group swam more than 16 km and raised an incredible $8,800 for the creative arts programs at Baycrest.

All funds raised at this event will be used to support the creative arts studio at Baycrest and a pilot weekend arts and crafts program, which will be open to both Apotex residents and their families.

“Through the art programs at Baycrest, our visits with my mom have become much meaningful and memorable for our entire family,” says Avi. “This donation will make a direct impact in the art studio and help families enrich their time with their loved ones at Baycrest.”

Donations are still being accepted. To support Rachel’s “Swim for Bubbie,” please visit her fundraising page by clicking here.
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