CameronHelps is providing updates on our website about our Team Unbreakable run-therapy programs across the province. In this feature we asked Jeannette Kelly to tell us more about the Thunder Bay Children’s Aid Society Team Unbreakable group.
1. Jeannette, how long has the program been established? Our planning begun in May 2013 and program started in September 2013.
2. Who are the current leaders of the program and their roles? It is led by myself. (Jeannette Kelly). I am the program coordinator and Charmaine Cade is a volunteer coordinator.
3. How many participants do you usually get out to the sessions? We have only completed one session and we had 12 youth participants. We start a new group in March and we have 10 youth enrolled and two adults (youth and caring adults) participating.
4. What benefits have you seen in the people who go through the program? There has been a significant increase in positive mood, reduction in social anxiety, incredible achievements, passion for life and fitness, development of respect for other people, dedication, increase in feeling competent, and they’re more motivated.
5. Do you have any personal stories about special individuals who have been helped? Our volunteers for this program are some of the most passionate people I have met. They were incredibly welcoming to our youth and wanted anything for them to succeed. We shared in their bad days and their good days and celebrated huge with each one of them in their accomplishments.
6. You obviously are happy with your success? Yes! The youth involved in our previous program are coming back as mentors for the next program and just have nothing but good things to say. In regards to their run logs they went from “bad” moods at the beginning to high moods of one million… just having an over the charts positive mood before and even after a run… They were happy to be there and even happy afterwards. It was the most amazing experience for all involved.
6. What do you like best about the program? The youth and how they feel… how such strong and caring connections were made and how the youth stuck to it even when it was below 30 outside at times. I have never been so proud of a group of youth and their accomplishments. Also, the people that volunteered their time –they are amazing people and such a blessing for our community!
7. What is the most rewarding part of the program for yourself? For being able to pull it off and having youth that stayed and were motivated and dedicated. More so that they want to come back and help other youth succeed. The relationships I got to form blew me out of the water. Just such amazing people. We shared in our pains and happiness together. Equity is what the people in the program shared… no judgement and just praise and greatness!
8. Anything that makes your group unique? We are really an informal group and totally inclusive. There is minimal to no criteria to register (except age). We let the youth lead the group. We don’t even ask their names until they are ready to share. For the first three weeks no one knew anyone… but as we got comfortable with each other we knew more about each other than imaginable. We sang karaoke together, played games, asked questions, laughed and listened to each other…
9. Anything you would like to highlight about your program we didn’t ask you already?We are excited about the future and sustaining this program for our community. We have a great group of people that are dedicated and want to see this program succeed. Thank you for sharing this program idea with our community!