Running For a Cure While Building a Community

CBCF_EnglishThe one thing I hadn’t anticipated at Sunday’s Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure was the immense sense of community and connectedness I would feel, and being someone who prides herself of building community, I was really surprised that I didn’t clue in to it sooner.

127,000 participants and volunteers came together on Sunday’s Run day. This number is huge, and a huge amount of money was raised, $25 million for innovative breast cancer research, health education, and advocacy initiatives throughout Canada. But from what I saw, the money wasn’t what this day was about.

While I had originally signed up for the Run at the Toronto Zoo, my husband and I joined his work colleagues at Lakeview Park in Oshawa, Ontario. Here a giant community of young and old pink wigs, feather boas, and tutus galore could be seen. People were connecting for a cause and making a difference, both financially, hopefully physically, and definitely emotionally. I was inspired by the people I met who were participating to honour and support their friends, family, and the breast cancer community. Many families from my husband’s work were present to walk in support of a colleague. This run brought them together to socialize, reflect, support, and have fun.

Thank you to each of you who read, shared, and donated, helping me reach my fundraising goal. I am deeply thankful for your incredible support, committing to the CIBC Run for the Cure, and the breast cancer cause.thank-you-heart-pink

Ontario’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge

It Takes a Community to Raise a Healthy Child

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We all know that learning and practicing healthy eating behaviours and physical activity in schools help kids to grow up to be healthy adults. But it’s not just a message for school, or a singular message at home, it’s a message that should be reinforced in all environments that our kids experience. Children and youth should see and hear the same message no matter where they are, and that’s why the Ontario government is challenging communities to work together to help give children and youth a healthier start  by launching The Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

What?

Communities can now submit applications to the Ontario government for funds and other supports (up to $1.5 million over four years) to implement local initiatives that increase activity levels, improve healthy food choices and promote appropriate amounts of sleep for children and youth.

The Challenge is encouraging communities to build partnerships with local organizations including schools, as well as the public, private and non-profit sectors in order to promote healthy eating and physical activity for kids.

Activities can include after-school cooking clubs with dieticians, healthy breakfast clubs for children living in poverty and walking school bus initiatives. Municipal partners could include schools, recreation centres, parents, private businesses, health care providers and other community organizations servicing children and youth.

Why?

About 30% of Ontario children and youth are considered overweight or obese. Childhood obesity impacts health in childhood and beyond with 75% of obese children growing up to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases and conditions, and these conditions are estimate to cost Ontario $4.5 billion per year.

How?

Through an application process, up to 30 communities will be chosen to participate in The Challenge. Selected communities will be eligible for up to $1.5 million over four years in funding to develop and build on community based programs promoting healthy living.

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When kids see the concepts they are learning in school reflected and reinforced through healthy practices in their families and communities, their learning is validated and reinforced. Children and youth are then more likely to adopt healthy active living practices and maintain them throughout their lives.

For more information on the program and how you can get involved can be found at Ontario.ca/healthykids.

3 Must Do’s For Fitness Professionals Wanting to Work With Schools

Are you a fitness professional wanting to share your passion for healthy, active living in schools? Wondering how to do it?

As a teacher, curriculum consultant for Ontario health and physical education, and fitness professional “getting in” is one of the questions I am frequently asked from the fitness community. You’ve got the passion, drive, and certification, you just need to get in the door. So, here are my three must do’s to help you get passed the principals office!

1. Connect to the Curriculum

Whether you’re looking to work with the cute little kindergarteners or high school seniors, every class has a curriculum to follow; placing your program within these guidelines will allow educators to easily see the value your program provides! The Ministry of Education website provides free, downloadable documents. It will help you make sure your target audience is appropriate and can provide further enriching content you might not have considered covering!

2. Meet the Safety Standards

All publically funded Ontario schools follow the minimum standards set within the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines. Whether you’re leading yoga, rock climbing, or Cross Fit, meeting these standards will keep the students safe and everyone having fun! Note that these are the minimum standards, schools, and schools boards may have standards beyond those listed here so do your research!

3. Keep it Fun

With the goal of promoting lifelong healthy, active living be sure to keep your classes inclusive and fun. All students should be active at all times maximizing participation and student engagement. Ensure all levels and abilities of learners are supported in what you offer and that each child feels a sense of success when your session has ended.

Special Thanks to Sweat Equity Magazine for helping me share this message in their latest edition. Check out the article below or get your own copy at your local Whole Foods or Chapters Indigo!

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