Local Dollhouse Builder Brings Joy to Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Kids

Jon Greenleaf (center) builds dollhouses and donates them to Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation for children with cancer

A long-time Santa Barbara resident, Jon Greenleaf painstakingly trims, sands, paints and hand-applies each tiny component to complete intricate dollhouses, which he has donated to various charities over the years. But his focus changed to primarily supporting the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation after learning of the nonprofit’s mission to advocate for families with a child with cancer by providing financial, educational and emotional support.

“The girls’ faces light up as if it’s Christmas when they get one of Jon Greenleaf’s custom-made dollhouses,” said Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Executive Director Lindsey Leonard. “The houses are an amazing morale booster for the whole family.”

“Being able to bring joy to children at this terribly difficult time in their lives is very meaningful to me,” said Greenleaf, a retired business executive. “So whether it’s a two-story or three, Victorian, Colonial or farmhouse-style, as long as there are children I can help, I’ll be building dollhouses for them.”

Greenleaf got an early start in woodwork, receiving a small workbench with a vise when he was 6 years old. Since then, he’s put together everything from large decks and bookcases to small model aircraft.

He built his first dollhouse for his granddaughter, got hooked on the process and kept going. Using complicated miniature wooden pieces, he works with tiny components, such as bannister parts and roofing shingles.

“Although I have other hobbies and interests, there’s something special about working with one’s hands as part of such an important cause,” said Greenleaf.

Greenleaf labors over each dollhouse for about three months. Hours will fly by without Greenleaf noticing, even though he had standing on his feet in an unheated garage with no music or television on. However, as a perfectionist, Greenleaf isn’t done until each dollhouse is “move in ready,” complete with stained wooden floors and painted or wallpapered walls. 

To learn more about Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and how you can support families that have a child with cancer living in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura County, please contact their office at 805-962-7466 or info@teddybearcancerfoundation.org. The non-profit organization’s mission is to advocate for families that have a child with cancer by providing financial, educational, and emotional support. Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation projects they will help 190 families in 2019 and relies on the support of the generous community through financial donations and volunteer support and encourages you to contact them today!

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