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How You Helped Support The Okanagan Community This Month!

I can’t believe we are already nearing the end of September! By now, a majority of all of our kiddos are most likely back to school, or home learning, summer vacation is officially over and our regular routines are setting in. This time of year for many can be filled with excitement, nervousness, and many mixed emotions for both parents and kiddos, which is why we have dedicated the Cameo funds for the month of September to go to two amazing organizations that support mental health, children and those that care for them, Childhood Connections and You Are Collective. And drumroll please, with your help we were able to raise $2,287.75 CAD!

They will be taking over the blog today and up first is the Childhood Collective Team followed by You Are Collective! Also, make sure to head over to JHtheBrand as they are also taking over our account today to share more about their organizations!

Childhood Connections

Childhood Connections supports children and the people who care for them. Research shows that 90%  of brain development happens in the first six years of a child’s life. The preschool years are the most active period of brain development. Early experiences impact the development of speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive, social, and emotional wellbeing. We want every child in the Central Okanagan to get a healthy start in life, physically, mentally, and socially. 

Our purpose is to ensure that all children in the Central Okanagan get a healthy start in life. Caring for our community’s children benefits us all. We help support children by caring for educators, parents, caregivers, and families. In doing this, we improve every other aspect of life in the Central Okanagan. Our vision; we see a future where every child in the Central Okanagan receives the care, education, and love they need to become confident, compassionate, thriving adults. Our values drive every decision we make and actions we take. We live by the same values and recommendations that we give to our children, knowing that they are at the heart of everything we do. 

Childhood Connections, providing support in the Okanagan

Our story Childhood Connections believes that early childhood development is an issue of social justice and health equity. We work in collaboration with others towards a shared vision where all children are thriving in healthy societies. Our not-for-profit society was founded in 1977 as a resource for child care providers; Like the children, we help support, we too have grown over the years and continue to adapt to meet changing community needs.  

Our understanding of our mission and what ‘child care’ means may have evolved a little over the decades, but our commitment to Central Okanagan children remains as strong as ever. Ongoing research into early childhood development leads us to take a holistic view and approach to childhood development and care. Today, our support and services include parents, family members, daycare providers, early childhood educators, and more. Every person, agency, and organization that impacts a child’s life is part of the  ‘child care’ ecosystem.  

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives.” — Dr. Brené  Brown  

The current child vulnerability rate in British Columbia is 33.4% (The Wave 7 data (2016-2019) of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), in real terms, this means that 14,468 Kindergarten students in BC begin their school careers vulnerable in at least one area of their development.  

Childhood Connections has committed to improving early childhood development outcomes for vulnerable children. Vulnerable children are those who, without additional support and care, are more likely to experience future challenges in their school years and beyond. Centering early childhood development at the core of community development will solve many of society’s problems. 

We connect families with the people and resources they need to help children thrive, including childcare providers, community partners, agencies, high-quality programming, services, and support. We connect childcare providers with training and educational opportunities that help them improve childhood development outcomes.  

Childhood Connections Okanagan Family & Childcare Society exists to: Increase the social, cognitive, and emotional development of children; Improve the effectiveness of parents and caregivers to provide positive, stable, and nurturing relationships with children, and; Enhance the effectiveness of communities to help children live, learn, thrive, and play.

We are passing the blog over to the lovely team from You Are Collective to share a little bit about their organizations! Make sure to stay connected and follow us at @childhoodconnections on Instagram.

You Are Collective

Hey JH Community! Before we dive in, I’d like to acknowledge that we work and live on the traditional and unceded territory of the Okanagan Syilx people. We recognize, honour, and respect the presence of Indigenous people, past, present, and future and understand that a basic land acknowledgment is truly the least we can do to be learning about and systemically changing the past and current atrocities to Indigenous people and cultures.

Thanks for stopping by to learn more about how we can collectively work towards more accessible mental health services and opening up the conversation around mental health and illness. We are You Are Collective, an Okanagan-based mental health social enterprise focused on creating empowering apparel, supportive resources and events, and collaborating with community partners to keep the conversation going around mental health and illness. You Are Collective started as a way to create change and make a difference while still candidly working our way through our own mental health and illness challenges. At the start of 2020, we launched our #1MillionCampaign to fund 1,000,000 counselling sessions of all kinds, to all people, all across Canada aiming to create the most impact we could by helping to provide more accessible services to our grassroots communities.

You Are Collective providing mental health support in the Okanagan

Our Community Partners: How We Collectively Make An Impact

To date, our efforts including the #1MillionCampaign, have helped to provide nearly $10,000 to grassroots mental health services, more than 200 one-hour traditional and non-traditional counselling services, and 21,700+ connections to community and resources surrounding mental health and illness across Canada and internationally. Although we take on many side projects and do our best to support a variety of initiatives, our current focus lies within the Okanagan providing accessible counselling services in a variety of ways.

Childhood Connections via our ‘Playful Healing’ Collection

This collaboration with Childhood Connections has allowed us to use our message and apparel to break down the stigma for all ages, especially kiddos 0-12 who often get overlooked when it comes to mental health support. This collection was designed as a tool using the Zones of Regulation to discover new emotions and how to manage them while also opening up the conversation around mental health. Proceeds support Childhood Connections new program, Playful Healing, designed to support children who are struggling in their day-to-day life with feelings of worry, uncertainty, isolation, and unhappiness. Playful Healing is here to help with free play therapy and child life therapy for children and families in financial need.

You Are Collective x Childhood Connections, providing mental health and child support in the Okanagan

Etcetera Youth Group via our ‘Pride 2021’ Collection

Our second annual Pride Collection in support of Etcetera Youth Group, this year the design focuses on empowering the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and allies. Including involving the youth group in the design and selection process. By putting messages of love and support into the world we hope to make it easier for those having difficulty seeing love in their lives know they are worthy of the same respect, dignity, and equality as anyone else. The Etcetera Youth Group brings 2SLGBTQIA+ youth and their allies (ages 11-18) together in an intersectional, dynamic, and supportive space to: explore identity, forge friendships, build a sense of self-worth, find resources for mental and physical health, and gain empowerment.

Soul Sounds Music Therapy via our ‘Imperfect Harmony’ Collection

In this collection, music therapy and mental wellbeing come together to bridge the gap of accessing mental health supports and creative art therapies. Music therapy uses elements of music, and verbal counselling skills, to purposefully and intentionally support client-centered goals and objectives. Proceeds from this collection will go back into the community to support a pilot project using music therapy for mental health for those in need. 

Connect Counselling and Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society via The Local Counselling Card 

In partnership with The Local Gift Card and William & Associates Counselling, The Local Counselling Card (TLCC) was born to assist people in finding low-fee, accessible counselling support that works best for them. Donations made to TLCC are utilized by our community partners, Connect Counselling and Elizabeth Fry Central Okanagan, for individuals and families to access covered counselling services.

While we could probably ramble on and on, we’re grateful for the space and opportunity on this platform and that you’ve made it to this point! We hope you learned a bit more about services available in the community and ways you can support the conversation around mental health and illness! We have a passion for collaboration, so please don’t hesitate to reach out via email or find us on your favourite social media platform, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Do Some Good, YouTube. Above all, we want you to know you are not alone and you don’t have to wait to get help. The Kids Help Phone (text 686868) and Crisis Text Line (text 741741) are available 24/7 whoever you are, wherever you are.

THANK YOU, Jillian Harris, the incredible team and community!

All Our Love,

You Are Collective 

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