What is the point of this activity?

With a Thousand Cranes is an initiative aimed at creating hope, belonging, and connection amongst both receivers and volunteers. According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes brings a person happiness and good luck. In some versions of the story, the person may be granted a wish by the gods. Gifting these cranes to an ill person is considered a symbol of compassion and a wish for their recovery.

Our volunteers are working toward a collective goal – to make a thousand cranes for someone in need. We hope that by donating this gift, the receiver feels loved and acknowledged. There are many charities that raise funds, but sometimes that is not enough. We need to look holistically at a person’s situation. Human beings strive on belonging and connection. In certain times of our lives though, this may become difficult. We hope that whenever the receiver looks at this gift, he or she knows that there is someone out there who cares. We hope that the receiver can feel connected with the community.

As for the volunteers, each member is collaborating to achieve this goal. Whether volunteers work individually, or work in teams with their friends and family, each person is important. We hope volunteers have a fun time in the process!

Who do these thousand cranes go to?

We will be donating every holiday season (December) to different groups such as paediatric patients, the elderly in old age homes, and people in mental health facilities amongst others. Our first donation has gone to Credit Valley Hospital's mental health facility. The origami crane sets were received by recent suicide survivors and those suffering with mental health issues. If you have a specific organization in mind to whom you want to donate your thousand cranes, do let us know! We can try and arrange it upon your completion of the project!

Is there an age limit for participants?

There is no age limit. Everyone can participate!

How do I make an origami paper crane?

Please refer to our website’s origami crane tutorial page. Alternatively, there are many YouTube videos you can browse! If you are still having difficulty, please contact us and we can help you!

How big should each crane be?

We are not picky with sizes, but keep in mind that you will have to make a thousand of these cranes! One poster board for each crane is not the way to go! Hahaha! Standard origami paper is around 3 x 3 inches, but can also be 6 x 6 inches or 10 x 10 inches. If you are concerned about the size of your paper, please contact us!

Do I have to make a thousand cranes to participate?

You don’t necessarily have to make a thousand cranes to participate. For instance, you may choose to make 200. We will assign volunteer hours (if required) accordingly. It would be desirable if you can team up to create a thousand. It really gives a sense of achievement! Otherwise, we will try and find more cranes that we can use to complete your thousand.

What should I use to make a paper crane?

Paper is the key word here! But it can be any type of paper; it doesn’t necessarily have to be origami paper. You can use normal white sheets, lined paper, newspaper, construction paper, certain types of wrapping paper etc. Scrap paper works too! You can use a mix of all these as well. Just remember, you need to have enough paper to create a thousand cranes. You want to ensure that the paper folds well. As a side note, don’t use money (in case you had any such ideas). Your parents would not be happy!

Can I get volunteer hours through this activity?

Absolutely! Once you have completed your cranes, we will sign your hours. You don’t necessarily have to complete all thousand cranes. For instance, you may only choose to do 500. We will give you volunteer hours accordingly! Also, if you have worked in teams, we would allocate hours based on your specific contribution. Please note, for us to ensure that you have, in fact, completed the volunteer hours yourself, we request step-by-step photos or a video showing your involvement. The purpose is simply to supervise and sign off on your hours.

How can I donate?

Donations can be in the form of paper, boxes for storage, display materials, and funds. If you would like to donate, please contact us. Your donations are invaluable, and they would be used entirely for the project.

How are the volunteer hours allocated?

Everyone makes origami cranes at different rates. It includes many factors such as the type of paper you use. Also, not everyone would each make a thousand cranes. Your hours would be allocated based on the number of cranes you have made and the time you have spent. Generally, we assume that it took 3.5 minutes to complete an origami crane. This means for 1000 cranes, the participant would receive about 58 volunteer hours. We take the word of our volunteers in hopes that our volunteers themselves let us know how much time they have truly dedicated, whether that be less or more than our estimate.

Do I need to use my own paper?

Currently, we are not handing out paper to our volunteers, but we may do so in the future. Note that you can use any form of paper to complete the project. You can use normal white sheets, lined paper, newspaper, construction paper, certain types of wrapping paper, random scraps etc. You can use a mix of all these too.

Can I volunteer as a team?

Absolutely. While the traditional Japanese legend requires one individual to make a thousand cranes, we recognize the sheer amount of time that would be involved in this. Making a team is a fun way to reach this goal. We would encourage collaboration because it would help the volunteer develop a sense of belonging too.

How long do I have for completing the activity?

You have whatever time it takes. Some people can do it in a week. Some people do it in a year. We hope that when you join us, you can provide a rough timeline in which you would complete the activity. This would allow us to keep a general idea of the project logistics.

What should I do after I complete the thousand cranes?

After the origami cranes are completed, we ask that they be put in a garbage bag or box of some sort (i.e. gift box, cardboard box with no lettering, painted box). When you finish, follow these steps:

(1) Let us know that you have completed your project by contacting us on our email: In this email, indicate your name, the number of cranes you have made, and the number of hours you have spent making the cranes. We understand that the time it takes to make the cranes varies from person to person so it might not be like our estimate!

(2) If you worked in a team, and others in the team also worked on the hours, we would request that these individuals come in-person to get their hours signed. Please make sure that each team member is signed up with our project and has received an acceptance email.

(3) To drop off the cranes, you can meet us on one of our monthly drop-ins. Details will be posted on our website and emailed to members! Alternatively, we can decide a time that is mutually available on another day if there is undue difficulty making it to the meeting. (4) You will be meeting a supervisor for this activity who will sign off on your hours. Before they sign, he/she will ask to see some proof of involvement. This proof can be in the form of photos of the process/videos/logs. The purpose of this proof is simply to ensure that it is in fact you, making the cranes!

What should I do if I have questions/concerns?

Please email us at

Where can I find the volunteer form?

You can go to the Get Involved page on our website or click here.

Where can I work on the cranes?

Anywhere! You can work on it at home, during breaks, and even in the washroom!

Are there other ways to get involved?

We like to call our volunteers THE WINGS because our project could not fly without any wings. Each wing is important. You can get involved by spreading awareness, promoting within your community, organizing teams, and donating!

How do I display the thousand cranes?

There are numerous ways to display a thousand cranes. Some are elaborate while others are simplistic. The cranes can be strung together to make a curtain. They can be glued to a photo frame or a fake tree. They can also be put in a glass jar, basket, or flower pot. If you would like to spend time on the display, you will be able to receive volunteer hours for this as well! Most simply, we ask our volunteers to provide the cranes in a box. This can be a gift box or a plain cardboard box with no lettering. Alternatively, you may also use a garbage bag and then we will create a display appropriately.

I want to gift cranes to someone in need through this project. How can I do this?

Sometimes, volunteers have a cause that they are specifically passionate about. For instance, if you wish to provide the cranes to cancer survivors in specific, you can do so! We would ask that you indicate this to us when you provide the completed cranes. If a thousand have been completed, we will try and coordinate with your desired group and let you know the outcome!

I don’t have enough paper but would like to participate. What should I do?

Note that you can use any sort of paper to complete the project. This can be scrap paper too or a mix of whatever you find. Look around for old newspapers, magazines, post-it notes, notebook pages etc. Ask your friends and family if they have any paper lying around!

I am not artistic. Can I still participate?

Absolutely! Not everyone is good at everything. But to be interested in this project is a sign of your affection for others. That is all we need. Your cranes don’t have to be the most intricate thing you have ever done! Your intention is most important here. If you can sort of do it, that’s good enough for us!

How will I prove that I, myself, worked on the cranes for volunteer hours?

Participants who want to get signed volunteer hours from this activity must provide proof of involvement. We suggest taking step-by-step photos or videos of yourself making the origami cranes. We also suggest keeping a log of the days you worked on the cranes and the number of cranes you made. These steps would help us supervise the activity and confirm your involvement.

I live outside of the Peel Region. Can I participate?

Yes, you may participate. We accept out-of-area participants as well as international participants. Usually, students have designated volunteer forms that need to be completed. These forms are signed in-person. However, if you reside outside Peel, we will sign these forms electronically. If you do not have a volunteer form, you can request that we send you a certificate of completion. You can then hand this to your guidance office so that they can document it.

To have your hours validated electronically, you must send us an email containing:

A. Your name and contact details B. Confirmation that you have completed your cranes project C. Number of hours spent on the project D. Number of origami cranes completed E. Proof of participation (e.g. photos/videos/logs, please consult our website or check the Welcome message for details) F. Volunteer form/Request for a Certificate of Completion (PDF format preferred) G. Whether you would like to be taken off the mailing list

The only difficulty that arises is that you won't be able to hand in your cranes; you will have to ship them. However, as an alternative, we encourage out-of-Peel participants to complete the donation of the cranes in their home location. This is because shipping internationally can be expensive for our volunteers. So, if you have a place in mind that you can donate to (e.g. elderly in old age home, cancer survivor/patient, pediatric patients etc.), you can complete the donation in your home state. However, prior to your donation, you must inform us who the donation will be going to. We will also send you an email with a short message that you must print and attach with your completed cranes so that the recipient understands the intention.

Can I receive a reference letter?

Please note that reference letters are not the same as supervisor reviews. Supervisor reviews are completed with no restrictions.

Reference letters are issued upon request. We typically assess the significance of your contribution to the project and determine whether it would be appropriate to write a reference.

If you would like a recommendation letter, please email us with the following details:

A. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

B. Your Role within the Project (e.g. I led x students to complete y cranes. I did a and b…)

C. Who the recommendation should be addressed to (if there is no one in particular, we will address the letter to a generic person i.e. To whom it may concern)

D. If the recommendation is for a university or college program, please indicate to us the following:

- Name of the Institution

- Name of the Program

- Expected Graduation Date

E. General areas of strength where you would like us to focus

After we receive this email, we will review your participation and determine if writing a reference would be appropriate. If so, we will issue a letter. If not, we will indicate our reasoning and let you know promptly.

Can I still participate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, you can still participate.

Note: Given the COVID-19 situation, we have put all origami in-person submissions on hold. Nonetheless, we are still validating volunteer hours digitally. Thus, if you require your volunteer hours signed on an urgent basis before our monthly drop-in’s resume, please indicate this to us in an email and include the following details:

A. Your name and contact details B. Confirmation that you have completed your cranes project C. Number of hours spent on the project D. Number of origami cranes completed E. Proof of participation (e.g. photos/videos/logs, please consult our website or check the Welcome message for details) F. Volunteer form/Request for a Certificate of Completion (PDF format preferred) G. Whether you would like to be taken off the mailing list

You will submit your completed origami cranes once the monthly drop-in’s resume.