Hopewell - Mental Health Award
Hopewell was originally founded in 1999 by three Ottawa mothers who were determined to find support for their young daughters who struggled with anorexia. It is dedicated to the memory of Ottawa’s Genevieve Gagnon who, like nearly one in five young women, lost her battle with a serious eating disorder.
The centre is committed to helping people understand eating disorders and the importance of healthy attitudes towards body image, eating and physical activity.
The centre meets the urgent needs of those affected by offering accessible, helpful support and information services from early intervention through to recovery, to anyone affected by eating disorders.
In 2009, over 800 students contacted Hopewell for information about disordered eating, body image and prevention and approximately 250 contacted Hopewell’s telephone and email helpline. Hopewell’s partnerships have led to two prevention programs that help build positive body image and self esteem.
Hopewell is also actively promoting prevention through community outreach. In 2009, their prevention presentations to schools and youth about body image reached over 19,600 individuals. The centre has also invested and consulted on the production of Teen Truth, a multimedia production presented to 1000 Grade 7-12 Ottawa students with the goal of challenging them to think differently about body image and empowering them to be the difference in their community.
As a grassroots charity, Hopewell has become accustomed to “making much of little.” The centre receives no ongoing government funding and relies entirely on private donors, foundations, service clubs, corporations and fundraising events for its operation. The majority of staff are volunteers who understand what people affected by eating disorders are going through because they too have lived experiences. The centre has become a community of hope that supports young people on their path to recovery and plans on continuing its hard work and success.
“Our daughter was only nine when she experienced sever signs and symptoms of anorexia; you gave us the most valuable help, advice and support in our hour of need. You made an enormous difference in our lives at that time.” – A Hopewell client.
Energize, Eastern Ontario Health Unit - Obesity Award After the Canadian Community Health Survey in 2005 showed that 65% of our men and 49% of our women are overweight or obese, which is well in excess of the provincial average, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit was inspired to develop ENERGIZE Now for Tomorrow.
The ENERGIZE program works with kids aged 6 to 18 years in Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Prescott Russell – helping to improve their eating habits and, increase their daily physical activity.
One of the program’s main challenges is to persuade the community that the time to act is now.
To address this challenge, Energize has partnered with local schools and school boards to implement a whole-school approach (staff, parents, students and community members) to create healthier environments. Schools are asked to develop health action plans targeting improved healthy environments and policies. Active Living and healthy eating initiatives are implemented to create social and physical environments that support healthier lifestyle choices for children and their families, organizations and communities throughout Eastern Ontario. These priorities directly contribute to enhancing the quality of life, self-reliance and health of our community. Activities include the implementation of 4 Good Food Box initiatives, an Energize newsletter, implementation of low cost afterschool programming, implementation of free physical activity programming, implementation of food skills development programming for parents and children, healthy food policy in schools, youth sports information programs and more.
Lunch Box Program by The Grocery Foundation - Poverty Award The Grocery Foundation has set up “The Lunch Box” program -- a one year pilot project with community shelters geared towards ensuring that kids in need are able to bring a healthy lunch with them to school each day. This is critical to learning and school success.
The Lunch Box program enables shelters to buy food and help kids make their own lunch. Over the course of the year several thousand lunches were made for kids in need.
The Grocery Foundation’s core members are people who occupy Senior Leadership roles in Food Retail, Food Manufacturing and Food Sales via Brokerages, within Ontario. Its core cause is fighting Child Hunger. The Foundation believes that feeding kids who are hungry leads to a reduction in systemic poverty and to a better overall society.
Over the course of the year several thousand lunches have been prepared. Because the program is administered using existing city shelters, such as the Carling Shelter, most of the funds are directed to food costs, maximizing the benefit to the recipients, which of course are the children.
So far hundreds of kids have been helped, reducing their risk of falling into a cycle of poverty. The foundation is confident that this initiative is sustainable and could be applied to other shelters and to other cities, ultimately leading to an even greater reduction in child hunger in Ontario.
Hydro Ottawa Electricity Safety and Conservation Program - Injury Prevention
Hydro Ottawa sponsors the informative and dynamic Electricity Safety and Conservation program that teaches children how to use electricity safely and wisely. The support for this initiative was inspired by the company’s long-standing commitment to the safe, reliable delivery of electricity to the 296,000 customers they serve. The goal in sponsoring the Electricity Safety and Conservation program is to help ensure that no child in Ottawa is injured because they are unaware of the dangers of electricity.
Hydro Ottawa believes that all injuries are foreseeable and preventable. By educating children about electrical safety at an early age, Hydro Ottawa strives to give them the valuable injury prevention knowledge that will last a lifetime.
Trained Electricity Safety and Conservation specialists offer two age-appropriate presentations, in English or French to schools in their service area. Last year, the training was delivered to more than 18,000 children in 47 local schools – with such kid-friendly features as “Wires” the safety puppet and a pickle that gets zapped, showing the impact of electricity on the human body.
To build on these successful initiatives and meet the increasing interest from teachers for electrical safety presentations, Hydro Ottawa expanded the scope of these initial programs in terms of age group, content and reach to introduce a new Electricity Safety and Conservation program in 2005. Hydro Ottawa now offers Electricity Safety and Conservation presentations to all of the 197 elementary schools in their service territory on a four-year rotational basis. On average, the program is delivered to 18,000 children in 47 schools each year. The program is overseen by Hydro Ottawa’s Community Relations Officer and is promoted directly to schools, on their website and also through special events.
In 2009, more than 90% of teachers rated the “Safety Message” as excellent and almost three-quarters rated the overall program as excellent. More than 95% of teachers also asked that the program return to their schools in the future.
Walk This Way - Teddy Bear Award Walk This Way is a walk training program for inactive, weight-challenged school-aged children. The program was inspired by the life work of Dr. Sean Egan, a professor of Human Kinetics at Ottawa U, who passed away at age 66, while attempting to summit Mount Everest. His summit quest was motivated by a desire to draw attention to, and reverse, a disturbing trend towards sedentary living and poor diets amongst Canadian children.
Gavin Lumsden was part of Dr. Egan's Everest expedition and had the opportunity to document the professor's concerns first hand. The messages resonated deeply and Gavin was compelled to action on his return from Nepal. He decided to launch “Walk This Way.” The program targets overweight and inactive children from 8-18, and challenges them to do something they probably never dreamed of: register for and complete an event at the Ottawa Race Weekend.
Walk This Way specifically targets underprivileged children because they often face the most obstacles in maintaining healthy diets and active lifestyles. Low-income families often lack the resources to register children in physical activities such as sports, recreation, dance and more. They often face additional challenges with respect to nutrition, because, for many families, it remains cheaper to eat poorly. For these reasons and more, low income children are among the most vulnerable to obesity and its associated health risks.
Walk This Way is also about empowerment, leadership, leveraging self-esteem and community building. During each week of the training, the children actively plan and prepare their training routes. The goal is to assure that each child completes there training and designated event. Walk This Way has seen more than 25 children cross the finish line at 2, 5, and 10k events - and one participant completed an entire marathon! But, the true impact of Walk This Way is measured not by notches in a belt buckle or number of pounds lost. Instead it is measured in the number of teeth visible in the smiles of the participants when a shiny medal is placed around their necks after achieving a goal they never thought possible.
In a pilot project in 2006, previous award winners included: