October 12, 2022

Meet the Healthy CommUnity Challenge finalists

Meet the Healthy CommUnity Challenge finalists

In August, we launched the Colour of Caring Healthy CommUnity Challenge and asked for innovative ideas to support mental health in the community. Manitobans enthusiastically rose to the challenge, and we received so many incredible entries.

After careful consideration of all submitted entries, our judges chose five ideas that really stood out as exceptional.  

We are thrilled to introduce the finalists and their innovative ideas:

Connecting Caregivers for Mental Wellness  – Acorn Family Place (formerly Wolseley Family Place)

Raising young children has never been easy, and the stress and social isolation of the past years of the pandemic have made it that much more challenging. Every family needs some support and who better to provide that support than other parents and caregivers with similar lived experience?

Throughout the year, Acorn Family Place will offer a series of group programs and workshops targeted at improving the mental health of parents and caregivers of young children. The workshops will be based on research and best practices, with content proven to be effective in supporting mental wellness and resilience. The groups will build community, reduce social isolation and let parents and caregivers know that they aren't alone and create space to build a village to support raising the children of our community.

Newcomer, BIPOC and Indigenous Liaison Outreach Program – Sara Riel Inc.

COVID-19 has had such severe effects on our communities that many health experts believe we are currently facing a mental health pandemic. Sara Riel Inc. (SRI) continues to see an increase in the volume of individuals reaching out for assistance and wants to ensure that all communities have access to their wellness programs and services. For this reason, SRI is increasing services through a Liaison Outreach program to specifically target Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and Newcomer communities.

Through this program, SRI will offer safe, responsive and effective programming and support to those whose mental health has also been affected as a result of pre-existing barriers and systematic inequities and other forms of discrimination and marginalization. Sara Riel will work closely with community leaders to educate and support people to thrive.

Embrace and Support - Main Street Project

Main Street Project (MSP) has made a commitment to further embrace and support Truth and Reconciliation, decolonization and anti‐oppression. Embrace and Support will support Knowledge Keepers at MSP to develop and deliver locally accepted cultural practices in consultation with community Elders and cultural practitioners. This will help the preservation and promotion of traditional practices and enhance positive and strong cultural identity.

Embrace and Support will help to transform spaces to be culturally safe, gather medicines and hire Elders and Knowledge Keepers to guide the work around Indigenous knowledge, laws and teachings. Examples include support ceremonies, transportation to sweat lodges and pow wows, and providing Skabes (helpers) at the shelter to listen with love, talk through teachings, bead, sing, drum, smudge or just be present.

Supporting Mental Wellness of Recently Arrived Refugees to Winnipeg – (N.E.E.D.S) Inc

Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc. runs a mental health promotion program for newcomer refugee youth and children to address the trauma they experience prior to arrival in Canada, particularly in Winnipeg.  

As a large number of refugee children and youth have arrived recently in Winnipeg from the war zones of Ukraine and Afghanistan, it is urgent to bring them under the coverage of N.E.E.D.S. Inc.'s mental health programming. N.E.E.D.S. Inc. must increase its capacity to expand its offerings and accommodate the newly arrived Ukrainian and Afghan refugee children and youth to support their healthy resettlement and integration into the community. N.E.E.D.S. Inc. will hire an additional part‐time psychosocial educator, so it can meet the increased demand for psychosocial programming due to the influx of new refugees in Winnipeg.

Children's Hopsital Foundation Logo

Active Indoor Play Space Redevelopment to support Inpatient Mental Health  – The Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada with 70 per cent of mental health problems and illnesses having their onset during childhood or adolescence.

Physical activity plays a significant role in developing the brain and supporting essential mental functions. The development of an indoor play space will create a healthy indoor space in hopes that patients will experience a reduction in depression, anxiety and stress, and learn coping tools for their future. This safe space will include an area for independent workouts and yoga to provide a welcome distraction for inpatients daily.

The Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba will purchase single and multi‐use fitness equipment and related items for this indoor space to give kids a safe place to play and exercise.

Vote today!

Now it’s your turn to have a say and support your community! Vote for your favourite idea and help bring it to life: https://www.mb.bluecross.ca/communitychallenge

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Our judging criteria

A Manitoba Blue Cross panel of expert judges used specific criteria to determine which entries would move forward. Here are the key things they were looking for:

  • 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?