Tag Archives: Halton Unbreakable 5k

Halton programs finishing up a very successful spring semester full of highlights

Whether in the community, hospitals or schools, Halton and neighbouring regions were buzzing with Team Unbreakable participants in 2017, thanks to dedicated coaches and program coordinators.

In total, 25 school programs were operating in Halton this spring, as well as Warwick Our Community Cares in Burlington. It was also a great year in neighbouring regions with the Nexus Youth Centre and Credit Valley Hospital programs in Mississauga, Hamilton Family Health Team and St. Joseph, Youth Wellness Centres in Hamilton as well as the William Osler Health System Transitional Aged Youth Clinic in Brampton.

“Team Unbreakable Program Coordinators Amanda Overholt and Keara Gillis have been very busy keeping ahead of the demand for these much needed programs,” says Executive Director Carl Worrell.

(Seen here L To R): Amanda Overholt, Keara Gillis

The team has been able to do a lot of presentations in classes and school assemblies to both promote Team Unbreakable, but also start a conversation around mental health and its connection to physical health. “That means our reach and impact far exceeds the students just running in the program,” says Keara.

For Keara, she is encouraged by some very dedicated and enthusiastic coach volunteers in the school. “At St. Brigid they had over 100 kids come out for the program and had to run four days a week to accommodate everyone,” she said. “It’s rewarding to be able to help kids understand that looking after their brains and their bodies is important!”

Keara also ran four workshops at a Life Matters conference, speaking to students about the connection between physical and mental health.

The Unbreakable Halton 5k for youth mental health was a big highlight of the year for Amanda. “Planning for an event like this started as early as September and takes so much time, planning and hard work. It was great to see it come to life – – and to see everyone enjoy it.”

For Amanda, some other highlights of the year include meeting so many different people – community leaders and youth and to see how they are working to accomplish their goals. “It’s always amazing to see people encouraging each other, coming together as teams, as communities, and really just having a good time. It’s rally special thing to be a part of.”

Both program coordinators agree one of the hardest parts of their job is wanting to be fully part of every group and wanting to be out running with them all the time. “And each group is so different, and so fun, it’s always great to visit them,” they add.

There was an interesting development in Hamilton where the Family Health Team worked with the St. Joseph’s Youth Wellness Centre to build relationships between the two youth groups representing different ages so that there were mentoring opportunities. A peer volunteer coach role was also added to the Family Health Team which demonstrates how the program continues to grow and evolve in new ways.

Halton Unbreakable 5K for Youth Mental Health a great success

Over 700 Halton students and teachers from the public and private school boards participated in the 2017 Halton Unbreakable Run for Youth Mental Health on Saturday May 13.

The event was sold out. The starting point was at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington and this year there was a large tent which provided the venue for a delicious pancake breakfast afterwards. The weather was perfect.

The run is a great culmination to the school year and celebrates Team Unbreakable programs and Children’s Mental Health Week. Halton Team Unbreakable program coordinators Amanda Overholt and Keara Gillis, whose day to day duties include developing our coaching teams in elementary and high schools, also do double duty organizing this goal event. Everything is possible only with the generous time given by our community and school board volunteers. We sincerely thank you, and look forward to celebrating another successful event this year.

Planning for Spring Runs in full swing so register now and start training!

Team Unbreakable runs have expanded this spring so you have even more opportunities to join a team and start training! You can sign up for one or all of them now at our registration website. All runs feature a finisher’s medal and breakfast.

New this year is a Toronto-based spring run June 11, 2017 at Coronation Park (across from the CNE). But first off the mark is the Mississauga Marathon run events (from 5, 10, 21 or 42 kilometre lengths) which are held May 6 and 7th. Join our Team Unbreakable crew and raise money for youth mental health programs.

During Children’s Mental Health Week, we partner with the Halton school boards and organize a Mother’s Day weekend run which is on May 13.

Finally, there is the original Team Unbreakable run, the Father’s Day 5k in Port Credit which happens on June 18. All of the location, times, fee information is on the registration website. If you have any questions, though, contact us at info@cameronhelps.ca.

GoFundMe campaign helps 32 students go the distance

GoFundMe campaign helps 32 students go the distance at #BoldandCold 5k

The holiday spirit was definitely present in November as donors gave generously to help Team Unbreakable students afford the costs of completing their Bold and Cold goal runs.

Realizing that some students couldn’t participate in their 5k final event, the program staff started a GoFundMe site which raised $1,075 which allowed for 27 students to participate who would otherwise have had to sit on the sidelines.

Emails, tweets and Facebook messages got the attention of 25 donors among the CameronHelps community, who recognized the value of the Team Unbreakable program. It only took two weeks to raise the funds to pay for the registrations.

The Bold and Cold 5k Halton run got a boost from a corporate sponsor, Dr. Ian Shulman of Shift Cognitive Therapy and Assessment. He offered to sponsor a group of youths so they could take part in the Bold and Cold. You can read more here http://shiftct.com/teamunbreakable/

“The GoFundMe initiative was a great idea by our staff. We thank our donors, some of whom wished to remain anonymous, for seeing the need to jump in and help. This provided a tremendous boost to the objective of our program which is to ensure that it is available and inclusive,” said Carl Worrell, Executive Director of CameronHelps.

Here are the donors:


Cathy Petta

Nils Blondon

Jowenne Herrera

Richard Bailey

Gail Blondon

David Rowney

Dr. Ian Shulman

Carol Blondon

Jessica Mackey

Carl Worrell

Elizabeth McQueen

Ingrid Wilson

Eric Blondon

Gar Concannon

Rachel Terry

Cathy Morley

John Lowe

Mike Post

Tara C

Amanda Overholt

John Gillis

CameronHelps ends school year marked with numerous highlights

CameronHelps continues to make headway with its TEAM UNBREAKABLE programs and supporters can look back to the 2015-2016 school year and celebrate a number of achievements and highlights.

The heart of the program is the participation of our youth and with over 50 schools and family health teams that have run Team Unbreakable programs, well over 1,000 individuals are being taught how physical health can aid in their mental well-being. Many students who have never participated in any group activity finally have a program where they can feel welcome. And there are some very special things going on in our schools, such as at St. Roch in Brampton. This special Catholic Secondary School, raised over $1,000 for youth mental health and created a video about their team’s fundraising. Without the full support of many excellent coaches such as Rosanna Bird from St. Anthony of Padua Elementary School in Milton, the program would not be a success. More details on our outstanding programs and coaches will be upcoming.

IMG_0940_MaryAnn MorrisX400

From a funding and growth perspective, the charity was fortunate to receive two grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The first grant, announced in late 2015, has allowed the organization to expand its programs into Toronto schools and up to 15 schools will be in place for the fall of 2016. The second grant announced in early 2016 from the OTF has enabled CameronHelps to run Team Unbreakable programs for community-based organizations in Halton-Peel. We are excited to develop partnerships with Ontario lead mental health organizations such as Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) in Halton and Peel Children’s Centre in Peel to develop the programs that will most benefit the community. Additionally, we will be working with community-based family health care teams, churches and clubs.

An updated 5-year strategic plan was approved by the Board of Directors. We will be taking a more aggressive approach to expanding our Team UNBREAKABLE program to more schools, for more students, but we’ll need your help. And the charity revamped its website so that it would be a more modern and user-friendly resource.

The goal run events such as the Unbreakable Bold & Cold in November and the Halton Youth Mental Health Mother’s Day 5k in May were very well attended and sponsored runners fundraised to help pay for programming.

The organization is always inspired by those who are runners and want to give back to our youth. Teacher Virginia Gingras ran the length of the Bruce Trail last summer and raised money for CameronHelps. Others who individually raised money for us this year included a social worker from Kitchener, Scott Grant, a Brampton executive and former Milton firefighter Chad Harper and a Toronto executive and marathoner Mark Trenton.

For the fall launch of new programs, Team Unbreakable plans to expand its library of lessons, train more coaches and develop more implementation support teams. For more information or to support the Team Unbreakable program contact Carlw@cameronhelps.ca

Holy Rosary Team Unbreakable coach Maryann Morris a role model for students



In a salute to the unsung heroes of our high school Team Unbreakable progam, CameronHelps (CH) is profiling some of the dedicated coaches who teach, nurture and run with our youth. Our first profile is with Maryann Morris, a Child and Youth Counsellor for Holy Rosary School in Burlington.

CH: How did you become involved in the program?

Maryann – I became involved in Team Unbreakable through a presentation at one of our school board team meetings. The program had been running in some of our secondary schools and there was interest building in running it in some of our elementary schools. I suggested the program to our school as we were looking for opportunities to promote children’s mental health. We also liked the idea that students could belong to a team that wasn’t competitive and inclusive of all abilities. This was our first year with the program at our school.

CH: How has the program been working?

Maryann – We started up the program in the late fall for any students in grade 6-8. John (Knox) came to the school and led an assembly for our students introducing the program and how they could get involved. We trained every Monday and Thursday after school. We had staff join us on these practice runs and a teacher led us as our running coach. Our Public Health Nurse, from the Halton Regional Health Department co- led the program along with me. We prepared for the Bold and Cold Run in November. We had 13 students and 4 staff attend this event. During the winter months we took a break from training until mid-March. We then began our twice a week training and continued on until the Mother’s Day weekend Team Unbreakable Run in May. At this event we had 14 students and 4 staff participate.

CH: Any special highlights you would like to mention”

Maryann – For me the most satisfying aspect of the program is the range of student abilities this program suits. We had kids come out who were athletic and on sports teams to our students who do not make it on school teams but wanted to be involved in something extra-curricular as well as have the benefit of the exercise in running. Team Unbreakable gave them something to belong to.  One special moment was at the end our Bold and Cold Run all the participants had crossed the finish line except one student and our whole group went out onto the route to meet up with her and cheer for her as she came into the finish area. I felt so proud of our kids and this show of sportsmanship and compassion!

CH: Tell us something of yourself and your own journey

Maryann – For me this was a challenging activity. By setting goals for myself and gradually reaching my goals I think I was a good role model to the students.  I am not a distance runner and don’t think of myself as athletic. I enjoy recreational sports like swimming and hiking. I do enjoy being outside and there were days that the weather was beautiful and the run was a great way to finish off my school day.