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Sudbury Secondary School launches “My Best Self” with community support

Local clubs and organizations have contributed more than $16,000 to Sudbury Secondary School to launch a new program that is helping students gain self-confidence and build resiliency. Donations will support student mental health and wellness through life skills coaching and experiential learning opportunities, including physical activity and mindfulness. Participating in yoga and meditation are, from left, Braydon Hall, teacher Marika Louws, Wyatt Denomme, Educational Assistant Barb Giroux, Social Worker Christine McInnes, Chance Blimke-Giles, Yoga Instructor Dawn Condon and Jesse Layte.

Local clubs and organizations have contributed more than $16,000 to Sudbury Secondary School to launch a new program that is helping students gain self-confidence and build resiliency.

“My Best Self: A Youth Mental Health Initiative” was developed by Social Worker Christine McInnes after a brainstorming session with school educators and administrators. “We were looking for a way to support students affected physically, socially and emotionally by the pandemic,” she says. “Life skills coaching and experiential learning opportunities proved to be an ideal combination.”

“My Best Self” teaches students to learn by doing with a focus on community outreach, emotions, healthy habits and relationships, nutrition, physical health and hygiene, positive motivation and perseverance, self-compassion, stress management, substance use and team building.

To kick-start the program, Christine McInnes reached out to potential donors. They were eager to support the initiative. “They told me over and over that this could not have come at a better time,” she says. “They gave generously, and without hesitation. We are so grateful.”

Sponsors include the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program, CTV Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon, Greater Sudbury Police Services’ Chief’s Youth Initiative Donation Reserve Fund, City of Greater Sudbury GOVA Transit, IODE City of Lakes Chapter, Sudbury Lions Club, Sudbury Shriners Club and YMCA of Northeastern Ontario. Funding was also provided from the school’s Special Education Program.

Donations will be used for art therapy materials, gardening and home economic supplies, guest speakers, meal preparation, transportation for physical activities, workout attire, and wellness kits for participants.

“At Sudbury Secondary School, we want students to feel safe, accepted and supported throughout their learning journey,” says Principal Dave Bertrim. “Students are receiving training and tools to take control of their own health and happiness,” he says.

He adds: “On behalf of our staff and students, I would like to thank all donors for their incredible generosity towards our school and the well-being of our students. I would also like to acknowledge Christine McInnes for spearheading this initiative for the students in our care. ‘My Best Self’ will have a meaningful impact on their lives now and well into the future.”

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Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171 ext. 7217.