Thanks! Journeys of Change Wins $25,000 SpecKids Change Challenge

14 01 2015

SpecKidsIf you were voting, a very big thank you! The Journeys of Change theatre project, an initiative of the Community Child Abuse Council, came out the winner of the $25,000 prize from the Hamilton Spectator’s SpecKids Change Challenge. The project will bring to life the stories and experiences of newcomer students in an educational and inspiring effort to build understanding and cultural awareness in our community. High school students across the region will see the production, and participating students (writing, design, production, staging, acting) will gain credit for their contributions.

The Council’s OASIS Program offers specialized supports and counseling for immigrant and refugee children, youth, and their families who are experiencing trauma symptoms or significant acculturation stress. An extension of the program has counselors working to to provide accessible support on-site within schools with the greatest number of newcomer students. These services are limited at this time, but remove some of the barriers that otherwise make it difficult for refugee students to access mental health supports.

Thanks to the Hamilton Spectator, SpecKids Unlimited, and the Change Challenge, the program can now extend further by involving newcomer students in a creative endeavour that builds community and helps to integrate and embrace our newest members.





Leaders for Kids

4 04 2012

I had the pleasure of presiding at the induction of two new Leaders for Kids today at a breakfast event hosted by students at Mohawk College. Leaders for Kids is an initiative of the Community Child Abuse Council, bringing together community leaders from all walks of ┬álife in support of the Council’s vision of a community free of child abuse. These are individuals who step up, speak out, and lend their support to the Council’s work with child and youth victims of sexual abuse and trauma. They go above and beyond, and are recognized as Leaders for Kids in appreciation of their commitment and contributions.

Today’s honourees were Laura Gainey and Vince Isber from RBC, who were both instrumental in the Council’s selection as Local Charity Partner for the 2012 RBC Canadian Open. They join a group of bighearted and generous friends to the Council, all tremendous partners who set an example for community involvement and leadership. Laura Gainey is the first Honourary Leader for Kids ever inducted into this group. In fact, the Council has never before included anyone from outside the Hamilton community. But Laura has embraced our work and supported our efforts in influential ways, and you would be hard-pressed to guess that she wasn’t a Hamiltonian if observing her commitment to local children. Vince Isber is an active and respected community booster, whose involvement with numerous community organizations and projects is admirable. Vince has stepped forward to support the Council in generous ways, and is coordinating the involvement of RBC employees from across this region in the Council’s Heart of the Open fundraising campaign.

These two Leaders for Kids exemplify what it means to get behind a cause and are demonstrating what is possible when leaders offer their talents and ideas to support an important community issue. Laura and Vince visited the Council several months ago, and showed a keen interest in its programs and services provided to abused children and youth. They asked thoughtful questions and followed up by taking action on the things they learned that were needed in order to meet the needs of more youngsters affected by the trauma of abuse. They deserve the honour they received today, and they join an impressive group of like-minded community members who are making a difference each and every day in the fight against child abuse. Congratulations Laura and Vince, and thank you to all our Leaders for Kids.