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Holland Bloorview’s sensational sister act

Helping kids at Holland Bloorview through music has really struck a chord with three sisters.

Orli Silverberg and her younger sisters, Arielle and Eden, have used their violins to make the kids of Holland Bloorview smile, laugh and even dance.

And most recently, they’ve put bow to string to raise funds for the hospital.

Volunteering beyond the violin

Orli’s connection to Holland Bloorview extends well beyond music. She has been volunteering at Holland Bloorview for the past three years.

Having worked as a camp counselor, she first volunteered at the Spiral Garden and loved the experience.

“Every day was super fulfilling,” she said. “By the end of the day, I was totally exhausted, but it was a good kind of exhausted.”

For the past two years, she has volunteered with Holland Bloorview’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team (BIRT) and with the Specialized Orthopedic and Development Rehab (SODR) program.

She found working with the kids at Holland Bloorview calming.

“Whenever I was busy, I would always want to come here,” she said. “It made me feel me better somehow. When I left, I was always in a much better mood than when I came.”

From solo to duet

As if that wasn’t enough, Orli also worked with her school, Havergal College, to hold music concerts at Holland Bloorview. That’s where 15-year-old Arielle joined her.

The concerts filled the hospital’s atrium with beautiful music, most often classical, with a few popular Disney movie soundtrack tunes thrown in. They also brought in instruments for the kids to try out.

Arielle loved seeing the kids’ genuine reaction to her music.

“You can see how it changes their moods,” she said. “You see the smiles on their faces, you see them enjoying themselves, dancing along, or some of them start to sing. You can tell that it makes them happy and that’s a great feeling.”

“It got me thinking about volunteering here,” added Arielle, who starts Grade 11 this fall.

The sweet sounds of three siblings

Last fall, Orli went off to university to study medical sciences at the University of Western Ontario. While she loved her first year of her post-secondary studies, she missed Holland Bloorview.

So this summer, Orli, Arielle, and Eden (just nine-years-old), picked up their violins and put on a fundraising concert at their family home with all proceeds going to Holland Bloorview.

The trio played a collection of classical tunes to an audience of more than 60 family, friends, neighbours, classmates and music teachers, raising over $6,100.

Back to the books

The school bell has rung once again and all three sisters are back in class. But Orli and Arielle plan on making Holland Bloorview part of their curriculum.

Arielle plans on continuing her sister’s work, exploring new opportunities for the hospital to partner with Havergal College.

Orli plans on returning next summer to continue volunteering with the BIRT and SODR programs.

Transforming from shy to social

Orli can’t wait to see the progress of the kids she’s come to know.

During her time at Holland Bloorview, she’s seen kids who were practically non-verbal become able to communicate. She has watched kids with next to no mobility learn to walk on their own.

She has also watched their personalities come to life. “Kids that were once shy are now super social,” she said. “They seem so happy, so confident, it’s incredible what Holland Bloorview is able to do for them.”

What these sisters have done for Holland Bloorview is just as remarkable.

Looking for a way to give back like Orli? If you would like to learn more about how you can host an event to raise funds for Holland Bloorview, contact Paige Cunningham, Development Officer, Community Partnerships at pcunningham@hollandbloorview.ca or at 416-425-6220 ext 6037.