CHEO announces the winners of the 2010 “Let’s Keep Kids Out of Hospital” awards
OTTAWA – CHEO announces the winners of the 2010 “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.
Although keeping kids out of hospital may appear to be an unusual objective for a children's hospital, CHEO has made it a top priority. Preventing illness and injuries is a far better prescription for health and well-being than having to treat them.
“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.”
Four winners were selected for doing exceptional work in the areas of Injury Prevention, Obesity, Poverty or Mental Health. The Selection Committee also designated a special ‘Teddy Bear’ award for one particularly innovative project that incorporated a number of important health promoting factors. At a special award celebration this evening, each winner will receive a commemorative trophy, a CHEO teddy bear and monetary reward of $500 to be re-invested into their program, in addition to a certificate of congratulations from Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services.
The 2010 winners are:
Mental Health Category
Hopewell, a center driven primarily by volunteers, helps people understand eating disorders and the importance of healthy attitudes towards body image, eating and physical activity. It meets the urgent needs of those affected with eating disorders by offering accessible, helpful support and information. In 2009, over 800 students contacted Hopewell for information, and approximately 250 contacted the telephone or email helpline. Hopewell’s presentations and displays reached almost 20,000 people. And their activities led to the creation of two prevention programs that help build positive body image and self esteem.
“We are proud that Hopewell has become a community of hope and support for those on the path to recovery,” said Joanne Curran, Hopewell Co-founder. “One of the kids we helped was only nine when she showed signs of anorexia. Her parent told us that we were there in her hour of need and made an enormous difference in their lives. That means everything to us.”
Lunch Box Program - The Grocery Foundation
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.
“A principal at one of the schools demonstrated first hand to me that the program was having a meaningful impact on the lives of the students. The kids involved were well fed, they were focused and attentive. And school became a place they wanted to be,” said Andre Gagne, Director, The Grocery Foundation. “This program is easily scalable to other shelters and other cities. We can all help to reduce child hunger.”
Injury Prevention Category
Electricity Safety and Conservation Program - Hydro Ottawa
Hydro Ottawa sponsors the Electricity Safety and Conservation program that teaches children how to use electricity safely and wisely. The goal of the program is to help ensure that no child in Ottawa is injured because they are unaware of the dangers of electricity. 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.
“More than 90% of teachers rate the safety message as excellent, and ask us to come back,” said Rosemary Walsh of Hydro Ottawa about the company’s Electricity Safety and Conservation Program.. “There has not been a child fatality due to electrocution in Ottawa for 10 years. Although it is impossible to link this directly to our program, we know that is has an impact, and we are proud of that.”
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. It has implemented a whole-school approach, including staff, parents, students and community members. Schools have developed action plans targeting improved healthy environments and policies. New afterschool programming was launched, as were four green food box projects and new municipal policy – all to support healthier lifestyle choices for children and their families.
“More than 35% of grade 5 children in our region are overweight – significantly higher than the provincial average. Our main challenge is to convince the community that the time to act is now!” said Louise Simmons, Coordinator, ENERGIZE.
Special ‘Teddy Bear’ Award
Walk This Way - Ottawa
Walk This Way is a walk-training program for inactive, weight-challenged school-aged children. Developed by Gavin Lumsden, it targets children and youth from eight to18, and challenges them to do something they’ve probably never dreamed of -- 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. Through the donations and contributions of volunteers, the program helps kids build experience, fitness levels and confidence.
“We’ve seen more than 25 kids cross the finish line – upright, smiling and as proud as any moment they have experienced in their lives,” said Lumsden. ““Our hope is that the experience will be transformational on many levels as we strive to build fitness, leadership and self-esteem, all while coming to know their community a little better.
CHEO is proud to honour these programs that have gone that “extra mile” to make a difference the lives of children, families and youth.
The ‘Let’s Keep Kids Our of Hospital’ award program will accept nominations for the 2011 award in the spring. Individuals and organizations will be invited to submit their nominations or self nominate via the nomination page on the CHEO website.