Earlier this month, local MPP Bill Walker was invited to see a puppet show for local students at Bayview Public Schoo,l being performed by the Grey Bruce Friends and Neighbours (FAN) Club for Youth.
With February being Pink Shirt month, the show carried an important message about the impact of childhood bullying.
MPP Walker spoke to the students before things got underway, and acknowledged the FAN Club and the work they’re embarking on as a result of Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce receiving a $325,700 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).
“This funding will support the positive development of strong emotional and social skills in children and youth by providing programs and services that enhance, maintain, and promote the mental and emotional health of people in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound,” said Walker.
The Grey Bruce Friends and Neighbours (FAN) Club is an mental health awareness program designed for children between the ages of 4 and 11, using puppets to convey issues and deliver stories. Over the next three years, OTF funds will help this program increase the delivery to monthly visits for up to 12 schools a year. The grant will be used to help with salaries for staff, helping with youth honorariums, as well as materials for the shows, promotion and administration.
“We are so excited for this amazing opportunity to grow an existing valuable program. With the additional funding, we will be able to literally blanket a school with access to information and resource awareness to students from K to 8 including sharing all the messages with parents and families,” said Jackie Ralph, Education and Awareness Coordinator.
The CMHA will be working with the BWDSB to help identify the 12 target schools. The grant also includes support for data collection and examination to further show the benefits of access to information, early intervention, increasing family mental health literacy, and involvement of youth peer presenters. If you’d like more information on this initiative or any others led by the Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce, please visit: www.cmhagb.org.
The leading grant-making foundation in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities. For more information about OTF, visit www.otf.ca.