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CHEO Healthy Kids Award Winners Announced

Ottawa, March 25, 2015 – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario hosted its fifth annual Healthy Kids Awards ceremony this evening.

Good life-long health begins with a healthy start. Tonight’s five awards go to individuals and programs that are passionately dedicated to the promotion of healthy development in children and youth.
Funhaven Family Entertainment Centre is hosting the awards ceremony. Following the ceremony, there will be a special CTV live broadcast.
CHEO’s president and CEO, Alex Munter, will be joined by Ottawa City Councillor Jody Mitic and Erin Crowe, Chair of the CHEO Board of Trustees, in presenting the awards.
Mr. Munter praises the work represented at this year’s Healthy Kids Awards: “Today’s award winners are helping to ensure children and youth can be their healthiest now as well over the course of their entire lives. They are also truly inspiring in their mission to be as inclusive as possible of people with special needs. I offer them congratulations, my sincerest gratitude, and hope they each will continue with their outstanding work.”

2015 Award Winners:

  • Helen Meinzinger
  • Osgoode Youth Association
  • Lanark Family Relief Program
  • KidActive
  • Carleton University Sign Student Society
See below for information on the awards and their winners.
CHEO established the CHEO Healthy Kids Awards in 2010 with the goal of promoting the well-being of children and youth. The hospital aims to empower families and community organizations to improve service, work together, and create a healthy environment for children and youth to realize their potential.
CHEO is grateful to media partner CTV Ottawa for supporting the awards ceremony, and also to Funhaven, and its executive director Dave Ellis, for their generous support and hosting of the event. Since 2002, Ellis has raised over $187,000 for CHEO.
CHEO invites media to join them at Funhaven Family Entertainment Centre, 1050 Baxter Rd., at 5:00 PM. The presentation of awards will begin promptly at 5:30 PM. Children and families will enjoy Funhaven’s climbing gym, laser tag, bumper cars and other games.
Please contact Eva Schacherl at 613-769-5553, to obtain more information and schedule interviews.


Community Champion Award
Awarded to an individual who has proven themselves an exceptional advocate of childhood mental and physical health
Recipient: Helen Meinzinger
Helen Meinzinger is this year’s winner of the Community Champion award. Helen’s son Kaiden was born in October 2009 and diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at just 8 days of age.
With the financial backing of the Kin Clubs of Orleans and Russell, Helen created Kaiden’s Care Kits to provide assistance to other local families dealing with their newborn’s recent diagnosis of CF. The kits contain nutritional information, resources and medical supplies specific to CF patient care. The kits won the Aviva Community Fund Challenge and were awarded $35,000 to help fund a National pilot project, which led to the kits being officially adopted by Cystic Fibrosis Canada (CFC). The project and CFC also receive funds from Kaiden’s Classic Fore Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament, which Helen helps organize with the help of the Kin Club of Russell. Helen is also the president of CFC’s Ottawa Chapter.
Community Program Award
 Awarded to a corporate, non-profit or organizational program/initiative that promotes the healthy development of children and youth
Recipient: Osgoode Youth Association
The Osgoode Youth Association (OYA) is a critical resource for rural youth who do not have many, if any, outlets for afterschool programing. With over 700 participants, OYA runs four key programs that include a Homework Club, Teen Drop-In Centre, day camps and community events.
The association has 4 part-time front-line staff and 120 volunteers, and is managed by a 6-member volunteer board and a director. These 131 OYA members keep this important program running for rural youth and families.
Help for Special Needs Award
Awarded to a project or program that works to enrich the lives of children and youth who are developmentally delayed, medically challenged, technologically dependent or who require complex/palliative care
Recipient: Lanark Family Relief Program
Since 1981, the Lanark Family Relief Program has offered respite care to families with children, youth or adults who have developmental or physical disabilities or are at risk due to economic or cognitive limitations. In addition, this program provides families with case management and assists families to apply for the specialized funding needed for respite care. This program also offers families bus trips, community activities, camps, and other support.
This program has grown from 15 to 450 families, and now has over 300 Family Relief Workers. In 2006 the first Children’s Respite Home was opened. This residential respite allows families from 24 hours to two weeks of respite, giving them a substantial break from caring for a child with special needs. Participants have opportunities to build self-esteem, confidence and independence. The Lanark Family Relief Program has since opened two more of these homes.
Health Advocacy and Public Education Award
Awarded to an individual or organization that is raising awareness and providing public education on a key issue affecting the health of children and youth, or is influencing a change in public policy that will benefit youth and their families
Recipient: KidActive
Founded in 2008, KidActive exists to increase the number of children playing outdoors, and improve access to natural environments in schoolyards and community playgrounds. KidActive aims to foster community-wide development in active outdoor play, learning outside, and active transportation. With the help of three staff and over thirty volunteers their programs reach over 2000 children each year.
KidActive is currently working on enhancing their Natural Play and Learning Spaces program. This program engages in the design and enhancement of children’s schoolyards and community spaces. KidActive received the Warden’s Community Service Award in 2012 for the Physical Activity Network and Ministry funding for its Healthy Children Healthy Spaces provincial project.
Youth for Youth Award
Awarded to initiatives or programs created by youth, for youth
Recipient: Carleton University Sign Student Society
Created two years ago in response to a significant disconnect between American Sign Language (ASL) users and the rest of the community with the closure of the Ottawa Deaf Centre, the Carleton University Sign Student Society runs programming for ASL students to gain access to the Deaf community, as well resources related to the history and values of Deaf culture.
The Sign Student Society provides a socially accessible ASL practicing environment, encourages student involvement through social events and provides networking opportunities in the deaf community. This enhances the university experience of those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing at Carleton University and promotes interest in ASL and Deaf culture.

The Society is made up 116 people, including an 8-person executive, and one staff member of the university. They host regular meetings, weeknight socials at the university pub, and hold partnership events with Seeing Voices Montreal, a non-profit and parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

2015 CHEO Healthy Kids Selection Committee

  • Anne Huot - Director, Client Programs & Information, OCTC
  • Mike Bulthuis - Executive Director, Alliance to End Homelessness and member of CHEO Health Advocacy Community Engagement Committee
  • Patrice Connolly - VP People and Stakeholder Engagement, CCAC
  • Mary Donaghy - Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services, Ottawa Catholic School Board
  • Sharon Costantini - RN, CHEO
  • Dawn Lyons - Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre

Youth for Youth Award Panel

  • Isabella McLean
  • Nathalie Bonhomme
  • Martin Percival
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