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CHEO and OCTC Joining Forces

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One of many things that tie CHEO and OCTC together is the incredible work that both organizations do with youth in our community.

From organizing Paint Nights, Yoga 4 Youth, and youth discussion groups, to creating a brand new transition project for youth with disabilities, it’s clear that both organizations work hard to bring youth-centered programs to life.

Continue reading to learn more about just two of the great programs that CHEO and OCTC offer our youth.

Group Picture team members with youth groupProject B.L.O.O.M.

Youth are no strangers to transition. From graduating high school to moving out and attending university, it’s no easy feat for anyone. But imagine navigating this tough transitional age with the added challenges that come along with having a disability. This is why OCTC created Project B.L.O.O.M., a transition project designed for youth 16-18 with disabilities. Project B.L.O.O.M. ran earlier in July, and allowed participants to learn valuable life skills and gain independence. All participants shared in Building, Learning, creating Opportunities, taking Ownership and being Motivated (B.L.O.O.M.)!

Thanks to a grant from TELUS Ottawa Community Board, OCTC got the green light for this one-time overnight transition project for youth with a variety of disabilities. In partnership with Carleton University, Project B.L.O.O.M. allowed participants to learn and practice independent living skills while having access to 24 hour access to support if needed. Campers directed their own care, were encouraged to make their own decisions, and learnt valuable skills in independent living, cooking, grocery shopping, navigation, and even driving. Project B.L.O.O.M. also featured guest speakers with disabilities, allowing participants to learn from those with similar experiences.

Project B.L.O.O.M. only received funding to run this past summer, but OCTC staff are working to secure funding for next year and hope that they will be able to provide a new year of campers with this great experience.

“The camp represented a huge stepping stone for camp participants and their families,” said Project B.L.O.O.M. Clinical Coordinator Lisa-Marie Loeffen, and it allowed participants to gain experience and confidence in day-to-day activities. It is Lisa-Marie’s hope that these skills and newfound independence will transition back home with the participants and be carried forward in their lives.

YouthNet RéseauAdo

Like OCTC, CHEO has a large number of youth patients who need our support. That’s why YouthNet RéseauAdo (YNRA) was developed – to help our youth patients receive the best possible care. YouthNet is a bilingual mental health promotion, intervention, and alternative support program run for youth, by youth. Housed at a CHEO satellite location, YouthNet supports youth aged 13 to 20 through programming run both in-house and throughout the community and helps them develop independence, wellness, and coping skills.Group of youth at a long table painting

Based on a body of research conducted by CHEO's own Dr. Simon Davidson and Dr. Ian Manion, YouthNet was created in 1994. Their research suggested that adolescents are much less likely to talk to adults (over 30 years old) about mental health and much more likely to talk to their peers (aged 20-30) about mental health. Being run for youth, by youth allows them to better serve the needs of adolescents in our community, and provide exceptional mental health care that youth respond to.
YouthNet helps our community by providing a number of programs related to wellness, mental health stigma-reduction, intervention and coping. Their programs include:

  • Pens & Paint - art/writing based activity + facilitated conversation
  • Take a Hike - hiking activity + facilitated conversation
  • Winter Wellness - winter sports activities + facilitated conversation
  • Girls Talk - discussion group for young women
  • Guys Talk - discussion group for young men
  • Yoga 4 Youth - yoga activity + facilitated conversation

To learn more about YouthNet and their programs, click here.

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