AGM shows impact of funding in creating new youth run-therapy programs

Usually it’s three strikes and you’re out.  Not so with CameronHelps.

After two tries for an Ontario Trillium grant, its third submission was finally successful. This led to $165,000 over two years, the ability to hire a full time program director and a remarkable year.

Says the charity’s leader, David Harris, “our organization continues to evolve and grow. We are proactively helping to change lives and in doing so save them.”

“At CameronHelps we have always said that if we can save one young person’s life our efforts will be worth it,” he adds.

David pointed to a number of signs that are positive for the organization and the fight to prevent youth suicide.  Among

– CameronHelps and its relationship with the Peel and Dufferin-Peel school boards has never been stronger. “We have been approved to provide school presentations aligned to their mental health strategy.”

– The charity has started a number of Team Unbreakable run-therapy programs in Peel schools with more on the way.

– Run therapy programs are now launched at Brampton Civic Hospital, Lutherwood in Kitchener, Hamilton Family Health Team and St. Joseph’s in Hamilton for the spring. A Team Unbreakable program is also underway in Collingwood.

– Program Director John Knox has worked extremely hard to able develop new contacts and help expand the school running program. He is now working with our first student intern Graeme Wykes.

– The charity has just launched its new Team Unbreakable website to support the school running programs.

– There are three fundraising and awareness runs underway which include the Team Unbreakable Mississauga Marathon, the Father’s Day and Canada Day runs.

– A Yoga fundraiser and a Silent Auction/Pub Night that were initiated and run by young adults. Cross Fit select continues to be a strong supporter.

– Board member and social worker Jennifer Brighton has been trained to teach SafeTalk, a program which helps people to talk to anyone who is having suicidal thoughts.

On the political front, Bill C300 was passed in December, calling for a national suicide framework. David encouraged supporters to contact their MPs and voice their support for a national strategy with funding attached to it.

In Peel and Dufferin-Peel there was a mental health leader appointed to focus on helping students and creating awareness. This year, David says, there will be 30 boards that will also be creating this position with a goal of 72 boards having a mental health strategy.

Why has CameronHelps been so successful?  Says
David,“charities require a team effort, you need strong leaders and supporters with various skills and knowledge. You need a community that believes and is committed to supporting your efforts. You need to be passionate and focused on the goal and vision of the organization.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have that and more.”

PHOTO: Students from Centennial College’s public relations program hosted a silent auction and pub nite to raise funds this year for the charity.