Tag Archives: CameronHelps

Creator of Run-Therapy Programs Modelled by Team Unbreakable Still Inspiring Youth

Social Worker Dan McGann had an idea that has gone on to help thousands of youth struggling with anxiety, depression and mental illness.

Dan has been practicing social work for 30 years. His signature run-therapy program that started at Credit Valley Hospital many years ago has been widely recognized for its help in treating youth. His concept of teaching teens to run in an effort to relieve stress and anxiety has been so effective that Dan has received awards, been sought out by media and spoken at numerous conferences. Team Unbreakable is based on his programs.


Photo: (Left to Right)  Founder of CameronHelps (now TeamUnbreakable) David Harris and Dan McGann


We caught up with Dan recently and asked him to elaborate on his work, his ongoing connection to Team Unbreakable and the popularity of his programs.

“I am very practical in my therapeutic approach – not much hand holding – more ‘what can you do about it? What action steps can you take to create something different?’ The reflective ‘how does that make you feel?’ is not really my thing – it’s important at points but I quickly want to move from that to some sort of action,” says Dan.

He continues, “That’s the whole point of the run group. I tell them that the worse thing anyone can do in the face of adversity is nothing – the best is do something … anything! Then I give them options or tools … what can you do – what kind of action. It’s really all about habits in what you chose to do with your body and what you chose to do with your focus.”

“After 14 years of doing the group now I have former graduates who have gone on to university and careers – nurses, business, and even a few social workers – come back and share their stories. That is so powerful and inspirational!”

Dan has a busy private practice and he still finds time to run the newly named Team Unbreakable at Trillium Health Partners group, which is now in its 14th year. A film crew has just completed a documentary on the run group and there is a possibility it will be considered to the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto this June. His group this spring has about 30 clients from 14-26 years old who are mostly battling either anxiety or depression

“I hope to start to slow down a bit at some point. I love what I do but I do look forward to more time with my family in the future.” I will always be grateful to Dave Harris and Cameron Helps/Team Unbreakable program – they have made an incredible impact in bringing the run group approach forward and offering it to so many!”

At a time when wait times for mental health services is many months, there is a desperate need for more Team Unbreakable programs. The school programs give participants tools should they experience the anxiety and depression that now plagues up to 25% of our students. Therapeutic programs like Dan’s at Trillium Health Partners offers his signature practical approach and empowers participants to become immediately active in their treatment. Four program coordinators currently develop volunteer coaching teams or support for more than 100 programs in Peel, Halton, Hamilton and Toronto. But we need your financial support to expand the program, says Team Unbreakable Director Carl Worrell.


An Open Letter From Board Chair Bob Wordham: Working With You to Reduce Youth Suicide

Thank you for your previous generous donation to CAMERONHELPS, an organization that is committed to YOUTH SUICIDE PREVENTION through our unique TEAM UNBREAKABLE school running program.

By the end of today, two Canadian youths will have taken their lives by suicide, and countless others will have thought about it. Frankly, we are working to reduce these statistics but we cannot do it alone. We URGENTLY need your help to reduce these horrible tragedies.

We have achieved much in the past year but we want to do a lot more:

  • Our organization is now officially registered as TEAM UNBREAKABLE.
  • Last year we had THOUSANDS of school kids participating in our running program.
  • There is consistent scientific evidence that physical activity benefits mental health
  • We have had tremendous support from School Boards in Southern Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Service organizations such as Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, Adidas, the University of Toronto and many private donors such as yourself.

But, we are merely scratching the surface in addressing YOUTH SUICIDES and we need to do a lot more. This link, http://cameronhelps.ca/, provides more detail about our organization and the extent of the problem that we are trying to address.

Our first priority however, is to adequately fund the TEAM UNBREAKABLE running programs that we are already committed to implementing in 2018. Can you please make another tax deductible donation to help our cause? Any amount will be helpful and is URGENTLY required.

Let’s together save one youth life at a time. PLEASE HELP!

Sincere thanks,

Bob Wordham

Board Chair

P.S. Please DONATE HERE or send a cheque to: Team Unbreakable, 54 Hyde Park Avenue, Hamilton, ON   L8P 4M7


She’s Giving Back And Leaving a Legacy To Other Students

As the Executive Director of Team Unbreakable, a program dedicated to helping youth realize the benefits of physical health for mental health, I’m proud of our volunteers and staff who work to make the program more available. Every week, I see the results as Team Unbreakable programs help our youth to manage stress, anxiety and depression. But I’m especially proud when one of our program participants shares the program with others. One such person is Lindsay Keenan, a graduate of a Team Unbreakable program. Her group runs and encouragement from peers and coaches provided the support she needed to move forward at a critical time in her life. In her own words she says, “it’s really important to have these programs available to students – it’s setting us up for the rest of our adulthood.” What is truly amazing about Lindsay’s story is that she is now helping others. Lindsay graduated from High School and with her acceptance to York University, brought the Team Unbreakable program there. Team Unbreakable at York University now serves over 50 students every semester. The program has been operating successfully for the past three years, thanks to Lindsay’s leadership.

Across the province, there are students, teachers and community leaders who, just like Lindsay are seeing a need to help others. Funding is a major obstacle in the development of new Team Unbreakable programs in much needed areas of the province. You can help us this Christmas Season by making a donation to our 2017 fundraising efforts. Many youth are suffering in silence from anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide. And they desperately need this program. Please support our Team Unbreakable programs.

Donate today at TU Winter Campaign. I thank you for helping us to change a student’s life.

#Giving Tuesday is Nov. 28; Please join the #Unselfie Movement!

It’s #GivingTuesday on November 28 and at this time of year we are asking you to join the #Unselfie Movement. Team Unbreakable is now planning for its 2018 program year and we cannot help more students and youth without your help. Starting Tuesday, we will begin our winter fundraising campaign. We hope you will help us to now only maintain our programs in the GTA, but to allow the charity to expand to more parts of Ontario, where communities are desperate for more youth mental health support.

Over the course of the next three weeks, we’ll tell you more about the support we have provided to our youth and how Team Unbreakable has helped them to become leaders and roles models.

 Please donate and support Team Unbreakable programs.

Donate today at TU Winter Campaign. Thank you for helping us to change a student’s life.


Toronto Unbreakable Bold and Cold Brings Out Warm Smiles

It’s lucky that wintery winds don’t faze any Team Unbreakable participants. The Toronto Unbreakable Bold & Cold 5k lived up to its name with brisk winds and cooler temperatures along Lake Ontario near Ontario Place. Our courageous youth, parents and the public battled through the elements in record numbers, with the reward of a great medal, cheering crowds and a hearty pancake breakfast. For more pictures, go to our Facebook site here

Parkdale school in Toronto shows strong community support

Team Unbreakable has gotten off to a fast start for the 2017-2018 year. The excitement surrounding the program’s second year in Toronto is best illustrated by the participation numbers and community support currently benefiting the Parkdale JR and SR School Team Unbreakable/Run For Your Life collaboration.

Program Coordinator Nils Blondon and Teacher Said Khayat have worked together to start a program that combines elements of Team Unbreakable with Said Khayat’s incentivized, “Run for Your Life” run group, and the results have been exhilarating.

“The Team Unbreakable program is excited to see new ways to improve student participation. This is an excellent collaboration that we want to see more of. It’s great for the students,” says Executive Director, Carl Worrell. Students, parents, and teachers come out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:55 am to laugh, run, and work towards the growth of a healthier school community. It’s not uncommon for the group to attract upwards of fifty participants, and participation hasn’t dwindled as the weather has gotten cooler.

“It really is a community endeavour,” says Team Unbreakable Coordinator Nils Blondon. “It energizes me to see so many parents and teachers taking part.”

The Parkdale Program Participants use the Team Unbreakable Logs to track their mood and progress following every run, while receiving key tags for the completion of laps and consistent attendance. The effort underway at Parkdale encapsulates the Team Unbreakable philosophy: capitalizing on collaboration, team work, and inclusivity to best serve the youth populations of the schools in which we work.

Nils Blondon credits part of the programs success at Parkdale Jr and Sr School to the emerging culture being fostered by the Team Unbreakable Program. “There’s an element of community building at the Parkdale Program that’s very inspiring to see,” he says. “Having all those parents and teachers come out and run, even in their street clothes, it makes all the difference to the kids. They feel supported and appreciated.”

Some youth, excited by the improvement of their mood and the opportunity to run in their first 5k, have even taken to running with their parents on the weekend. “I come here [the Parkdale Jr and Sr field] to run on Saturday too,” said Team Unbreakable Participant Mustafa. “I really want to keep getting better.”

The Parkdale Program is in its final weeks before the Nov 26th UNBREAKABLE Bold and Cold Goal Event, and the staff and parents are rallying behind the cause, organizing rides and raising funds for those unable to cover the cost of registration. “I expect a big turn out at this event from our school, “says Said Khayat. “The kids love it. Nils is like a star to them.”


The second annual Bold and Cold in Toronto is on Sunday, November 26th, at Coronation park. The race begins at 9:30 am, followed by a pancake breakfast for all participants.