In a short period of time, the run wellness program called Team Unbreakable, organized by the charity CameronHelps has been making headway in Toronto schools.
With generous funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the award-winning program has expanded from six schools in the fall of 2016 to an additional six in the spring of 2017, bringing the total of 12. The schools participating in the fall that are also running the program in the spring are Central Tech, Harbord CI, The YMCA Academy, West End Alternative, Mcdonald International, and Maplewood Secondary.
The new schools coming on board for the spring are Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, Central Toronto Academy, Earl Haig Secondary School; Drewry Secondary School, Newtonbrook Secondary School and Swansea Public School.
Team Unbreakable in our schools is our flagship program. It reaches thousands of students each semester in a safe and supportive environment. The sessions are aimed at teaching students the importance of physical activity on mental health and well-being. The coaches are teachers from each school, and may be social workers, guidance counsellors, gym teachers, or an interested faculty member.
The program involves a twice-weekly hands-on running session with students that typically lasts 10 weeks. Before their non-competitive training runs begin, participants are taught about wellness issues such as the importance of nutrition, setting smart goals, stress reduction, motivation, improving focus, mindfulness, mental wellness, creating a balanced life, injury prevention, proper equipment to use and stretching exercises. Often guest speakers are invited to talk about their experiences and to add “real-life” meaning to subject material. Each of the students are given a running log, to make note of their mood changes, based on their efforts.
The session ends with a “goal” event (such as the “Bold and Cold” in the late Fall and the “Father’s Day Run”), in which Team Unbreakable schools come together with the community to run a 5k route where there are medals, food and cheering crowds.