Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text SizeFacebookTwitterYoutubeInstagramLinkedIn

CHEO 2013 Healthy Kids Awards Recognize Six Community Leaders
Ottawa, March 21, 2013—The 2013 CHEO Healthy Kids Awards ceremony, happening today, is the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s (CHEO) way of recognizing individuals, programs, and organizations for their exceptional work in helping to promote the healthy development of children and youth in the community. Awards will be given in six categories to those who go that “extra mile” and whose work is “above and beyond” other initiatives.

Promoting health and wellness starts long before children and youth walk through the doors of CHEO. It starts at home, in the community, and in partnership with people, programs, and organizations dedicated to making it happen.

The awards ceremony takes place TONIGHT (March 21, 2013) from 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM at the Funhaven Family Entertainment Centre (1050 Baxter Road). On hand for interviews will be award recipients, and CHEO president and CEO Alex Munter. Highlights of the awards and the celebration will be broadcast live by CTV Ottawa.

“Health care is about more than what happens inside the walls of a hospital. It’s about all the things happening in our community, in everyday life, and through people like the volunteers, students and professionals we are recognizing today,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO. “They are helping Ottawa’s children and youth to lead healthy, active lives, stay safe, and get services and support that can change the trajectory of their whole lives.”

CHEO established the CHEO Healthy Kids Awards in 2010 with the goal of promoting wellness for children and youth. Preventing illness and injuries is a far better prescription for health than having to treat them.

Laureen Harper continues to serve as the ceremony’s Special Guest and will be on hand to present the awards to recipients.

“Tonight’s award winners are models of innovation and inspiration for keeping kids healthy in Canada,” said Awards Special Guest Laureen Harper. “Developing healthy kids is about promoting healthy families, caring communities, mental health, physical activity, and so much more. The CHEO Healthy Kids award winners embody all of these, and I commend them on their work.”

This year’s award winners include:
  • The Mental Wellness Ambassador Program, All Saints High School
  • 21 year old Edwin Okoduwa Aigbojie, a tutor with Pathways to Education
  • The Police Athletic League of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa
  • Making Waves Ottawa, an organization providing swimming lessons to kids with special needs
  • The QuickStart program specializing in early intervention for autism, founded by Suzanne Jacobson and her grandson Alexander
  • The February Fostering Awareness Campaign of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa
More information on award categories and winners can be found below.

CHEO is grateful to media partner CTV Ottawa who are not only supporting the awards ceremony, but who also ran a 20-week series featuring CHEO Healthy Kids. Clips can be found here:  

CHEO is also grateful to the host venue Funhaven and its executive director Dave Ellis for their generous support. Since 2002, Ellis has raised over $124,000 for CHEO.


Media are invited to join CHEO at the Funhaven Family Entertainment Centre, 1050 Baxter Rd., starting at 5:00 PM. The presentation of awards will begin promptly at 5:30 PM. Kids and families will enjoy Funhaven’s climbing gym, laser tag, bumper cars and other games from 5:00 to 7:30 PM.

For information and to schedule interviews, please contact:

Marie Belanger
Media relations and event specialist

2013 CHEO Healthy Kids Award Recipients

Over the past three months, CHEO has received sixty-five nominations of individuals, programs and organizations–several of which received multiple nominations. Each of the six winners was chosen by a panel of independent judges. This year’s categories of awards and winners are:

Youth for Youth Award: Awarded to initiatives or programs created by youth for youth.

Recipient: Mental Wellness Ambassador Program (MWAP)
Accepted by Marie Arnal, Grade 12 student at All Saints High School in Kanata and Sylvie Lahaie, a former student leader and current student at Carleton University.

The Mental Wellness Ambassador Program (MWAP) is run by teachers and students at All Saints High School in Kanata and designed to give students the skills and awareness to better cope with anxiety and depression. The program organizes activities to help students address the stigma surrounding mental health and understand what they can do to decrease it. Arnal – accepting the award on behalf of all the Mental Wellness Ambassadors – is a 17-year-old Grade 12 student who transferred to All Saints H.S. last year. She joined MWAP as a way of making friends and to make a change. Additionally, Sylvie Lahaie who previously served as a student leader but who is now at Carleton University will also accept the award.

Community Champion Award: Awarded to an individual who has gone the extra mile to encourage the mental or physical development of children and youth.

Recipient: Edwin Okoduwa Aigbojie, Pathways to Education Volunteer Tutor

Edwin is a 21-year-old tutor who came to Canada as a landed immigrant from Nigeria three years ago. His nominator describes him as a hard working, kind, and humble tutor who incorporates strategies to help students break down complex subjects, understand their school work, and have fun in the process. On top of being a student at the University of Ottawa studying bio-medical sciences, Edwin has at times dedicated 3 to 4 nights a week at Pathways to Education to helping students from a variety of backgrounds.

Community Program Award: Awarded to a corporate, non-profit, or other organizational program contributing to the health development of children and youth.

Recipient: PAL (Police Athletic League) Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa
Accepted by Jerrett DeFazio, Program Director, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

PAL provides competitive sports leagues and tournaments for an average 800 children and youth from ages 6 to 16 who could not otherwise afford competitive sports. The program fosters skills and leadership development, and comes with all of the traditional expectations of an organized sports league–such as an awards night, uniforms, and trained officials. Police provide mentorship at awards banquets, games, and practices.

Help for Special Needs Award: Awarded to projects or programs that enrich the lives of children and youth who are developmentally delayed, medically challenged, technologically dependent, or who require complex or palliative care.

Recipient: Making Waves Ottawa
Accepted by Tiffany Lam and Emily MacKinnon, co-presidents of Making Waves Ottawa

This program is dedicated to providing water safety instruction to children with special needs between the ages of 3 and 18. Children receive one-on-one swimming lessons geared to each child’s abilities and needs. The 60 volunteer instructors are students from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University and help over 50 families across the city.

Innovation and Research Award: Awarded to an individual or organization that contributes to the meaningful data, indicators or approaches to improve how we care for children and youth in our community

Recipient: QuickStart—Early Intervention for Autism
Accepted by Suzanne Jacobson, President and Founder, QuickStart

The program—started by Jacobson and inspired by her grandson Alexander, who was identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder—promotes and funds pilot projects providing early intervention to autistic children, offers public awareness campaigns, and delivers two family respite programs. The program emerged from Jacobson’s experience when Alexander was born and the family’s struggle to identify and access early intervention programs. QuickStart has helped hundreds of children and families since its launch in 2008.

Public Awareness/Policy Award: Awarded to an individual or organization raising visibility for a key issue that impacts the health of children and youth, or influences a change in government policy that will positively benefit children and families.

Recipient: Children’s Aid Society—February Fostering Awareness Campaign
Accepted by Stacey Fragiskos, CAS Coordinator, Angela McKelvey, foster parent, and David Falardeau, CAS Youth Coordinator.
Media spokesperson, Barbara MacKinnon, CAS Executive Director.

The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CAS) has designated February as Foster Family Month to create awareness about the vital role foster parents play and to strengthen the foster care system. The goal is to increase the number of foster homes in order to meet the unique needs of children and youth. Foster care gives youth a sense of connectedness, a sense of belonging, and a better chance at achieving outcomes similar to their peers. Angela McKelvey and Patrick Griffin have been foster parents since 1997, caring for up to three children between the ages of birth and 18 at any given time. Angela has also dedicated her time and energy to supporting new and experienced foster parents.
2013 CHEO Healthy Kids Selection Committee
  • Chair: Don Hewson, Chair of Advocacy Committee and Trustee of CHEO Board of Directors
  • Gilles Lanteigne, Executive Director, Community Care Access Centre
  • Joanne Lowe, Executive Director, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa
  • Kathleen Stokeley, Executive Director, Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
  • Catherine Dubois, Executive Director, Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre
  • Michelle Ward, CHEO paediatrician Sharon Costantini, CHEO nurse

Youth for Youth Award Panel

  • Chair: Pam Aung Thin, CHEO Trustee and member of Advocacy Committee
  • Elysia Pan
  • Nishaan Brar
  • Chantal Lanouette
  • Izzy McLean
  • Josh Dannenberg
  • Claire Dawe
Take Action


 Kids Health Alliance logo

Improving access to coordinated, consistent, high-quality health care for children, youth and their families. 

Quick Links

Programs & Health Info
magnifying glass

Letter aLetter bLetter cLetter eLetter fLetter g Letter hLetter iLetter jLetter kLetter lLetter mLetter nLetter oLetter pLetter qLetter rLetter sLetter t Letter uLetter vLetter wLetter xLetter yLetter z
Zoomed image Close