My name is Robert “Woody” Wilkins, and I am the founder/executive director of the Dances With Wood Program and all the programs that we offer for children and adults with cancer and veterans with PTSD.
The origins of the Dances With Wood program date back to my childhood, when working with wood and art helped restore my creative spirit when I was faced with a serious illness. I have always loved working with wood and was trained in England as a cabinetmaker and wood-carver. I also love sharing the joy of working with wood and later trained to become a teacher. I have taught in inner-city schools, colleges, and in special education. As my work as a teacher evolved, I began to design and create programs to empower and enrich the lives of those with special needs.
I began working with children who have cancer and other life-threatening illnesses in 1988 when I left England to join the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in CT. My time with the camp spanned nine wonderful years and included positions of program director and camp director. (See letter below.)
I left the camp to work directly with hospitalized children and founded Dances With Wood in 1998. The DWW program has served over 40,000 children in 40 states, and the work has been expanded to serve men and women who are battling cancer.