CHEO recognizes programs for children and youth with Healthy Kids Awards

by DaniGirl on March 27, 2014 · 0 comments

in Life in Ottawa

It’s no secret that I’m an Ottawa fangirl. I love our community for exactly that – it IS a community, filled with kind and courageous people who work to make it a better place to live.

Last night I had the honour of attending the CHEO Healthy Kids awards ceremony at Funhaven with the boys and Beloved. I was curious about the awards, and I knew the boys wouldn’t say no to a free couple of hours to run wild around their favourite indoor fun park.

The CHEO Healthy Kids awards were established in 2010 with the goal of promoting wellness for children and youth. MC for the evening, and also CHEO president and CEO Alex Munter, mentioned that (sorry if I get this wrong, I’m going from memory) 24 per cent of our population is under 21, and the Healthy Kids initiatives underscore that preventing illness and injuries is a far better prescription for health than having to treat them.

In addition to Alex Munter, Mayor Jim Watson and Laureen Harper were on hand to help present the awards.

Listening to the descriptions of the winning programs reminded me that we are lucky to live in a city with these kinds of resources available. Here’s a little bit about each of the award categories and the winner in each category, courtesty of CHEO:

Youth for Youth Award: Awarded to initiatives or programs that are created by youth, for youth

Recipient: Take Action Parkwood Hills

Take Action Parkwood Hills (TAP) project provided opportunities for local youth to learn how to create and edit films, their end result being ‘Parkwood Hills, The Documentary’. By using each youth’s community as a subject , TAP empowered youth to become proactive, contributing members of their communities. Many are now using themes from their films to affect real change locally. TAP fosters cross-cultural relationships, stressing the importance of combating current stereotypes found in Canadian society.

Community Champion Award: Awarded to an individual who has proven themselves an exceptional advocate of childhood mental and physical health.

Recipient: Steven Thomas – GoodGuysTri

GoodGuysTri (GGT) is an Ottawa based non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for many charities. GGT has fully dedicated itself to engaging in a variety of great causes and to inspiring others to be active. Steven Thomas, nominated by fellow co-founder Mike Herzog, has worked tirelessly over the past two years. Steven has also been a major catalyst of End Kids Cancer.

Community Program Award: Awarded to a corporate, non-profit or organizational program/initiative that promotes the healthy development of children/youth.

Recipient: Christie Lake Kids STAR (Skills Through Activity and Recreation) – Craig Mackie

The Christie Lake Kids STAR program serves underprivileged families by providing recreation and skill-building programs, free of charge, for young adults. They seek to remove the barriers that economic disadvantages set in place so that all youth have equal footing in life. With over 30 years of dedicated service and a 70% retention rate, Christie Lake Kids STAR program builds character and instills life skills in the youth they teach.

Help for Special Needs Award: Awarded to a project/program that works to enrich the lives of children/youth who are developmentally delayed, medically challenged, technologically dependent or who require complex/palliative care.

Recipient: Gloucester Association for Children with Special Needs

The Gloucester Association for Children with Special Needs (GACSN) has improved the physical and social development of special needs children by providing fun weekend activities. Each Saturday, those involved in GACSN are invited to an afternoon of swimming and crafts, giving parents and caregivers a few hours of respite. Praised for its consistency, GACSN offers both group and one-on-one sessions with the youth and young adults enrolled in the program. For more than 20 years, GACSN has been helping children with special needs make friends, improve physical fitness and develop new skills so they may excel in their adult lives.

Connected Care Award: Awarded to partners that have worked together to promote healthy development in youth, furthering their success from that partnership.

Recipient: Paediatric Complex and Chronic Care Clinic, Iqaluit

The Paediatric Complex and Chronic Care Clinic (PCCC) is an intra-disciplinary team of experts who work to keep the youth in their community – Qikiqtani, Nunavut – connected to the health services that they require. In a region where poverty, criminality and suicide rates are high, the passionate and committed experts in the PCCC work to enhance delivery of required services, facilitate knowledge sharing and aim to become a regional team so that they may serve more youth.

Health Advocacy and Public Education Award: Awarded to an individual or organization that is raising awareness and providing public education on a key issue impacting the health of children/youth, or influences a change in public policy that will benefit youth and their families.

Recipients: Community Suicide Prevention Network and Building Capacity for GLBTTQ Youth Mental Health

Building Capacity for GLBTTQ Youth Mental Health provides counselling for GLBTTQ youth and young adults and their families. They provide support for the nation’s capital by offering workshops for service providers and educators and free services to GLBTTQ youth. With a focus on exploring sexual orientation and gender identity, Building Capacity for GLBTTQ Youth Mental Health aims to build resilience and capacity for GLBTTQ youth.

The Community Suicide Prevention Network (CSPN) is a group of partner associations who are committed to the prevention of suicide in Ottawa. By sharing resources and expertise, CSPN has made a collaborative effort to make mental health services more accessible in the Ottawa region. They have recently launched their “Know What To Do” guide, information outlining what to do and where to go for help. They continue to work together to make Ottawa a suicide safer community.

That’s impressive, isn’t it? Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to CHEO and all your supporters for the fun evening out, and insight into these programs. I’m more proud than ever to be raising my family in Ottawa.

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