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 Kerara 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.