AN amateur woodworker is hoping to build some joy into the lives of underprivileged children, as he races against the clock to make doll cots in time for Christmas.
Jason Kirkland, 51, of the inner south, has been making doll cots, which have been given to the charity Roundabout Canberra to meet its Christmas deadline.
It’s something he wants to continue into the New Year.
Inspired by his own daughter’s doll cot and his dad, who’s been making toy boxes for children and donating them for about 20 years, Jason decided he wanted to do something for charity, too.
“What inspired me was my dad and my daughter. My dad has been doing this for years, he’s in his 80s now, and my daughter, watching her play with her toys, has made me reflect on how fortunate some kids are,” he says.
Also, Jason jokes that he’s finally got his own shed, which is a great excuse to buy more tools – something he keeps telling his wife!
Backed with a business and IT background, Jason moved with his wife, Joanne, and three-year-old daughter, Mia, to Canberra from Melbourne about two years ago to take up a job with SAP.
Now, fortunate enough to have a shed, the full-time worker, part-time photographer, dad-of-one and, most recently, doll-cot maker, has been spending every spare moment he has – since October – in the shed working on the cots.
“It’s time consuming and subconsciously I’m thinking I should be spending this time with my daughter, but I still want to do stuff for other people and I think she needs to see that,” he says.
“I’m trying to show my daughter that leading by example and that giving is important without return.
“She also needs to understand that she’s very fortunate and, since starting the cots, she’s even said to me: ‘I want to give away some of my Christmas toys’.”
For many years Jason’s wanted to do something for charity and says being a father really made him realise how vulnerable children are.
“We all have a role to play in improving life for others, especially our most vulnerable,” he says.
The reason he chose to give to underprivileged children, through the charity Roundabout Canberra, which provides women and families experiencing hardship with essential items, was because a lot of parents and families aren’t as fortunate to provide for their kids, he says.
“Can you imagine a kid at Christmas time, not getting a toy?” he says.
“I just think that would be devastating for a kid and devastating for a parent not to be able to provide that.
“Our kids need to know that there can be happiness, joy, love and fun, even through the worst of times in their lives.”
Roundabout Canberra works with social service providers through its day-to-day operations and will work with them to decide where the cots will go.
Overall, Jason says he hopes the cots will bring fun, happiness and positive memories to children this Christmas.
His next challenge will be making cots that are boy-focused and he has ideas to make car-shaped ones.
The blankets and pillows can be customised, too, and Jason says he’s had a great response on Facebook with people wanting to help make them, with one woman making pillows and blankets for the cots.
Jason says he’ll prepare earlier so he has more to give next Christmas.
He has ideas to start a charity of his own, but in the meantime says he’s happy to accept any good-quality items to go towards the cots such as wood, paint, stickers, pillows, blankets, or if anyone is willing to make toys or cots, too, he’ll store them in his shed, ready to donate.
Contact Jason at email@example.com