Humans of McMaster: Holiday Letters with McMaster Crafters and Seniors with Skills
The Silhouette: Please introduce yourselves.
HL: I'm Hannah Laycock and I am President of Mac Crafters.
KD: I'm Kelly Deeth and I'm the Vice President Finance for Mac Crafters.
AS: I'm Amr Saleh and I'm the VP Finance of Senior with Skills.
ZA: I'm Zoe Ang and I'm one of the VP Events for Senior with Skills.
Can you elaborate on your Holiday Letters event?
ZA: We wanted to host a collaborative event where we could make holiday cards for seniors and then eventually donate them to senior homes. We were in a Zoom call making the cards together. We have a drop-off box on campus so whoever made cards can drop them off and then we'll send them out to a senior home. We're going to be scanning some of the physical cards and making them into a book so we can reach more homes as well.
AS: From the point of view of Seniors with Skills, one of our main missions is to combat senior isolation, especially during the pandemic. When Mac Crafters reached out to us, we thought this opportunity just perfectly aligned with our missions and goals.
What were your goals for this event?
AS: We just recognized that during this time, especially during the pandemic, a lot of seniors can feel quite lonely, especially due to things like COVID restrictions; maybe they might not have the same number of guests [or] maybe they just can't see their family as often. Hopefully, through these cards, we can say that people are thinking of them and we hope they can feel a little bit more included in the community.
HL: We really also notice that the holidays don't really feel the same on campus, especially with the restrictions. We really wanted to do something that could unite the fellow crafters.
Do you have a favorite memory from your club experiences?
AS: This event has been my most memorable experience so far just because our mission is all about trying to tackle the senior isolation that many in Hamilton might be facing. Putting together an event and seeing a tangible end outcome of the cards that we can then give to the seniors was something I found really, really rewarding.
KD: This event was so fun. It was a great chance to meet people from other clubs and meet general club members, seeing that even in an event that seems rather simplistic such as making holiday cards, everybody really does bring something different to the table. People can show that by doing something virtually or being good at art or hand lettering, as Zoe mentioned. It just showcases that even with something that seems simple and straightforward, everyone brings something different.
Do you have any big takeaways from this event in particular?
HL: For Mac Crafters, it's definitely the importance of giving back to the community. Really being able to see that in action was great, especially since we haven't been able to do that much from an online environment for such a long time. It's really an impactful thing. It's just such a warming feeling — it brings people together and, especially at this time of year, it's a wonderful thing to do.
ZA: I think that this event has opened my eyes up to more volunteering opportunities. Even though we haven't given the cards to the seniors yet, just the event itself and people coming together for the reason of helping others made it really nice to be in that call with everyone. It was amazing to be with everyone working together and taking time out of their days to help out. Hopefully, when the seniors get the cards, we can also see what they think and see their reactions.
AS: Just how much of a difference small actions can make. Taking an hour out of your day to make cards [for] seniors who might be feeling socially isolated can make a really, really big difference. I'm really looking forward to seeing the reaction from seniors once they do eventually get the cards.
KD: A lot of times with Mac Crafters, a lot of our focus can be on our own students, our own club members and mental health. That's such an amazing and really important cause in and of itself. But it was really nice for this event to shift the focus to something outside of the McMaster community and to the senior community, which is also so important.