CameronHelps’ Program Manager John Knox has a new job, a new commute and a new challenge.
For the past five years, John has been introducing and implementing Team Unbreakable programs in Peel and Halton. Now his job description is aimed at helping students in Toronto.
Since the charity was able to secure additional funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and with the success of Team Unbreakable, John has been focusing on Toronto schools starting in February of 2016. Wanting to tap into John’s strong knowledge of the program and his start-up experience, he was asked to channel all of his efforts into introducing the program into the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, the area private schools.
He was able to do this with the hiring of new Team Unbreakable program coordinators to support the Halton Peel Schools (Keara Gillis), and Halton-Peel community groups (Amanda Overholt). In Toronto he is aided by program coordinator Nils Blondon and newly appointed Executive Director Carl Worrell.
John Knox (left), seen at a the June 2016 Father’s Day 5k run
“We are very fortunate to have John in this role. He has done so much for the organization over the years working with the schools and students. We know he will continue to help us grow and continue to inspire us with this work ethic and dedication to this important cause,” said Carl.
The Toronto initiative has five schools enrolled in Team Unbreakable, as of the end of October, with more on the way. This is expected to expand to about 50 schools in Toronto by December 2017.
Starting in the Toronto region has meant there are many new people to meet, applications to fill out, and approvals. “We approach each school separately to introduce the program and meet with phys-ed teachers, mental health leads and Principals. We are fortunate to have had some great ambassadors to help us along the way, such as TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough (Ward 3). There is a tremendous amount of support once people hear about the success of the program,” said John.
John finds the exposure to the new people and schools invigorating and comments on the deep history and culture of some of the schools in the Toronto area. He misses his friends in Halton and Peel, but knows they are in good hands. “You become emotionally attached to the program and the students. You can see the impact Team has on our youth and how it has changed their lives,” he added.
Married with one child, John was born in Brantford and grew up in Oxford County. Before joining CameronHelps he was a sales and marketing executive. He is a two-time Boston Marathon finisher and has his own company training runners and triathletes for their races.