Zachary Hohnstein

Zachary Hohnstein

Arts and crafts brings Nanoose Bay family closer together

Family rallies together to support one of their own.

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c.parentNode.insertBefore(cp, c); })(); Powered by Cincopa Video Hosting for Business solution.Emily’s Angels A Nanaimo News Bulletin photo gallery of the Hohnstein’s home-schooled children working on arts and crafts.Zachary Hohnstein, 3, assembles bracelet made out of beads alongside his siblings Jenna, 15, and Byron, 10 at their home at Nanoose Bay.

Photo by Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletinoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 600height 400Emily Hohnstein, 7, assembles beads inside her Nanoose Bay home.

Photo by Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletinoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 600height 400Jenna Hohnstein, 15, looks on as her brother Byron assembles some beads along with educator Jessica McIntyer.

Photo by Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletinflash 16cameramake Canonheight 2856orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 5/14/2015 4:39:53 PMwidth 4284cameramodel Canon EOS REBEL T1iThe Hohnstein siblings show off their dreamcatchers.

Photo by Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletinoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 600height 400

At a home nestled in Nanoose Bay, a group of children come together once a week to create beautiful works of art.

They string together beads, arrange ribbons and organize feathers to create dream catchers.

For Carrie Hohnstein’s seven home-schooled children, it’s a break from their weekly routine of therapy sessions and homework assignments.

“It is fun,” Hohnstein said.

It’s all part of Emily’s Angels, a fundraising effort turned home-school program that began last year as a way to help Hohnstein’s daughter, Emily, 7, who was born with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy.

As a result of her condition, Emily, who had surgery to repair her hips in January, has a difficult time walking and could not accompany her family on hikes or walks in areas with uneven terrain.

“A lot of trails we weren’t able to bring Emily, so she would always have to stay back,” said Jessica McIntyer, an educator who works with the Hohnstein family.

That’s when the Hohnsteins rallied together and began making angels and Christmas trees, which they would then sell at craft fairs.

“We started making angels out of shells … and we raised $5,000 from September until February,” Hohnstein said.

The money was used to purchase an all-terrain stroller in February for Emily.

“She’s now able to go out with us now,” McIntyer said.

Despite achieving their goal, Emily’s Angels have not faded, but instead, evolved from creating angels and Christmas trees to creating colourful dream catchers.

The children are continuing to raise money in hopes of either supporting a child in need or providing Emily with a hot tub or other equipment that she might need.

“Now that we have conquered our first goal, we would still like to continue to collect, if it is not for her [Emily], for other special needs children,” Hohnstein said.

The dream catchers, which feature a sand dollar as the centrepiece, are made out of recycled materials as a way to encourage reusability.

“So they [the kids] are looking for the materials,” Hohnstein said. “That teaches them to be resourceful because when you make crafts it doesn’t mean that you have to go to the store and buy everything.”Emily’s Angels is not just about creating art and selling, but also about providing Hohnstein’s children with valuable skills and experiences that can be transferred into other areas of their lives.

“They have to follow the instructions and then we go to the craft fairs they get the reward of the money that they have made,” Hohnstein said.

The program has not only brought the children together, but the entire Hohnstein family together.

“I was actually pretty proud of a lot of the kids because we would go out and look for our resources together as a family,” she said

Hohnstein could have easily sought out a charity for assistance, but she instead opted to use Emily’s Angels as a learning opportunity.

“People always asked us why we didn’t go to a charity … but that doesn’t teach our children anything,” Hohnstein said.

Hohnstein said she believes that government grant money can be left for those who cannot raise money themselves.

“Those grants, some of the pools are only a certain amount per year and we would rather other families have it,” Hohnstein said.

She explained that she doesn’t want her children to have to rely on government grants and funding.

“They are being taught that they don’t have to go to a charity to get what they need,” Hohnstein said. “I don’t want my children to grow up and fill out and application and get whatever they want … that is not the life skill I want them to learn.”

For more information, including inquiries on how to purchase dream catchers, on Emily’s Angels, please visit Follow @npescod on Twitter.

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