|OTTAWA – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) announces the winners of the 2011 “Let’s Keep Kids Out of Hospital” awards -- a program developed to recognize and honour those who contribute meaningfully to the community and help make a difference in the lives of children and youth.“Today, CHEO recognizes several organizations and individuals in the community who have gone the extra mile – who are actively working to help keep our kids healthy and safe,” said Don Hewson, chair of the hospital’s Board of Trustees’ Advocacy Committee. “We applaud them for their passion and commitment. And we actively encourage others in the community to look at these fine examples and ask what they, too, can do to help keep our kids out of the hospital. Together we can make a difference.” This year winners were selected for doing exceptional work in the areas of Mental Health, Poverty, Injury Prevention and Active Living. The 2011 winners are:Team Lionheart
‘Team Lionheart’ is a student-driven group at Madawaska Valley District High School that works to increase kindness and reduce both bullying and the bystander effect in their school community. Last February was declared ‘Have-a-Heart Month’ and Team Lionheart got their fellow students pumped about their cause by bombarding the school with posters, announcements, video clips, and assemblies. When students were asked in a survey ‘What is good about your school?’ many of them mentioned Team Lionheart and the reduced amount of bullying going on at school.“If we can teach young people that tolerance, inclusion, and kindness are the building blocks for successful lives on a number of levels, we will absolutely keep some of them out of hospitals later in life,” said Madawaska Valley District High School principal, Lauren Wilson. “What has made this initiative so successful is the fact that students are the drivers and have set the agenda for this initiative. They are making inroads into kindness being cooler than bullying”.SMARTRISK No Regrets Live SMARTRISK No Regrets Live is an emotional one-hour presentation for high school students which combines fast-paced video-clips of youth taking risks and a live presentation by an injury survivor who talks about how the injury affected his or her life. “The objective is to help youth to see the risks in their everyday lives and to manage those risks in the smartest ways possible so they enjoy life to the fullest, injury free,” said Phil Groff, President and CEO of SMARTRISK. After the presentations, participants have consistently shown a greater understanding of risks and changes in attitude towards their personal responsibility for risks taken. Ottawa Good Food Box
The Ottawa Good Food Box is a non-profit, community-based initiative where neighbours come together to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Anyone, regardless of their income, can place an order for a $10, $15, or $20 box, and pick it up from their neighbourhood Good Food Box site. It is coordinated by the Centretown Community Health Centre to improve food security and raise awareness about nutrition and healthy eating habits. The Good Food in the Schools project is a special initiative that brings together families with school-aged children to share nutrition ideas and learn new cooking skills. “The workshops are hands-on and engaging for everyone in the family” says Natasha Beaudin, Program Coordinator at Ottawa Good Food Box. “Parents can break out of the isolation of their homes to exchange ideas with nutrition experts and other parents, while kids learn about nutrition, cooking and food skills through stories and fun activities.”Sens@School
Sens@School encourages children in Grades 1, 2 and 3 to get more active – using interactive activities related to the Senators’ own training regime or an exercise demonstrated by a Senator in a video, which adds variety and excitement to daily physical activity requirements. ”The goal of the program is to inspire students in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec to eat healthily and partake in daily activity like their Ottawa Senators heroes,” said Emily Knight, the Coordinator of Fan and Community Development. Since the program’s launch last September, over 730 classes have registered to participate, and this number is expected to continue to grow.Make Play Possible
Making Play Possible strives to provide children and youth with the opportunity to play regardless of income, geography, or mental health difficulties. It works under the belief that increased social interaction through participation in recreational activity will help to boost a child’s overall mental health – and helps more than 500 children and youth each year.
“Making Play Possible goes above and beyond the average recreational support program by not only addressing the financial barriers but also the prohibitive physical, mental, and social barriers” said Kevin Kapler, Executive Director. “
Special ‘Teddy Bear’ Award
Each year one special award – the “Teddy Bear” award – is given to a group or individual that really embodies the spirit of the award.
This year CHEO would like to recognize Luke and Stephanie Richardson for their strength and courage in sharing their story as parents of a young teen who committed suicide. By openly talking about suicide and sharing their tragedy with the community, they helped bring visibility to an issue that affects so many children and teens in our community, and reduce the stigma associated with it.
“CHEO has seen a significant rise in the number of children, teen and families looking for help and we hope and believe it is partially because people are now more comfortable talking about suicide, depression and mental illness then they were before,” said Michel Bilodeau, president and chief executive officer. “We’d like to recognize the Richardsons, and other families like them, for their strength and courage.”
CHEO is proud to honour these people programs that have gone that “extra mile” to make a difference in the lives of children, families and youth.
The ‘Let’s Keep Kids Out of Hospital’ award program will accept nominations for the 2012 awards in the spring. Individuals and organizations will be invited to submit their nominations or self nominate via the nomination page on the CHEO website.
For more information contact: Marie Belanger, CHEO Media relations (613) 737-2343