November 16, 2022

Manitoba Blue Cross’s Colour of Caring Healthy CommUnity Challenge presents $25,000 to N.E.E.D.S. Inc.

Community support

We are proud to award $25,000 to Newcomers Employment & Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc. to help support mental health in Manitoba.

N.E.E.D.S.’s submission, “Supporting Mental Wellness of Recently Arrived Refugees to Winnipeg,” received the most votes from Manitobans in our Colour of Caring Healthy CommUnity Challenge.

“It is a great honor for the N.E.E.D.S. Centre to have received this monetary award and to be recognized in our community,” says Margaret von Lau, CEO of N.E.E.D.S. Inc. “We are proud of the work we do and are very pleased to have this acknowledged through the Healthy CommUnity Challenge.”

N.E.E.D.S. Inc. runs a mental health promotion program free of charge for newcomer refugee youth and children to address the trauma they experience prior to arrival in Canada.

“We know that refugee youth and children arrive in Canada with complicated life experiences, including their own and their parents’ pre-migration experiences, war and conflict-related trauma, interrupted schooling, and family separation,” says von Lau. “These experiences create several settlement-related challenges for them, such as challenges with integration into the Canadian school system and the labour market. This can lead to disengagement from school, poor school performance, conflict with parents/guardians, drug or alcohol use, risky sexual activity, and gang and criminal activity.”

The funds received from Manitoba Blue Cross will be used to hire an additional part-time psychosocial educator to meet increased demand as many refugee children and youth have arrived recently from the war zones in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

“Congratulations to N.E.E.D.S. Inc. for their valuable submission that stood out to the judges and Manitobans,” says Benjamin Graham, president and CEO of Manitoba Blue Cross. “But most of all, thank you to the team at N.E.E.D.S. for their incredible work supporting newcomers – especially those coming to Manitoba from conflict zones. It’s an honour to aid such important work and help them to build better, stronger communities.”

N.E.E.D.S. was one of over 70 applicants to the Colour of Caring Healthy CommUnity Challenge. A panel of our expert judges chose the finalists for public voting using the following criteria:

  • Does the idea support mental health in the community?
  • Does the idea support accessibility and culturally appropriate supports for the community?
  • Is the idea extremely useful to the community?
  • Are the articulated goals clearly defined, achievable and measurable?

All Manitobans then had a chance to vote for the idea that stood out to them.

“I’d like to thank everyone who submitted an initiative and voted in the Colour of Caring CommUnity Challenge. It’s clear that Manitobans care deeply and share our mission to improve mental health in our communities,” Graham said.

To read more about N.E.E.D.S. and their valuable work in the community, click here.

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