About 60 supporters of the charity CameronHelps met March 1, 2012 in Mississauga for its annual general meeting. The event marked the culmination of a whirlwind year, as described by CEO and founder David Harris.
“I would like to personally thank you for helping move us a little closer to achieving our goals. Like any charity you need committed, passionate individuals especially this one because being involved in this type of work is not easy,” says Harris.
“The stigma around suicide and mental illness is still there, and we live in a society where our young people are dramatically overweight, not healthy and now constantly connected to their electronic devices. Unfortunately mental illness and suicide rates will not be decreasing anytime soon.”
Harris outlined some of the major accomplishments of CameronHelps over the past year:
(1) A 2011- five year strategic plan designed to guide the organization’s activities and goals
(2) Hiring of program manager John Knox to help move CameronHelps forward in 2012.
(3) New running programs starting or have started: Lutherwood Child & Family Services, Waterloo (February); JACS – Toronto & York Region, (March) and St. Joseph’s Health Centre with MacMaster University –Hamilton(April)
(4) A research partnership with McMaster University, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine was established
(5) On April 30th Dan McGann from Credit Valley Hospital and David Harris will be speaking to 300-400 teachers, administrators and parents. The title of this event – Suicide: Start the Conversation.
(6) Mississauga Marathon – CameronHelps became an official charity partner in 2011 and are confirmed again for 2012
(7) Planning for fundraising/awareness teams for 2012 Mississauga Marathon race weekend.
(8) A renewed Father’s Day 5k run walk which will have a whole new look and name (Team Unbreakable) and energy thanks to new event directors Adding a 2nd run walk event on July 2nd at the Toronto RibFest.
(9) Partnership with Rotary Lakeshore – Mississauga for a wine tasting & silent auction fundraising evening
(10) Forging a strong relationship with the staff at McLaren McCann advertising and marketing, who helped with the rebranding of a new logo, a new website, and in developing the Team Unbreakable brand
(11) Launching a social media marketing strategy using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Harris explained how Team Unbreakable was adopted by CameronHelps for running programs and events that are being rolled out this year. “This word Unbreakable to me now means so much. I was moved to tears as many of us were when we heard a young girl’s story of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and how one word, ‘unbreakable,’ helped to see her through.”
“It represented who she was deep down inside. Simply the word means something that will not break. I think many of us now connect to this word and feel what the word really means ….courage, determination, never giving up, making a difference….to believe and love yourself unconditionally. We have the opportunity to share that message. What a gift that is.”