New program aims to help schools improve the wellbeing of children and youth | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New program aims to help schools improve the wellbeing of children and youth

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October 07, 2015 - 3:29 PM

PENTICTON - School District No. 67 Okanagan Skaha is pleased to announce that it is one of six school districts in British Columbia participating in WellAhead, a new philanthropic initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation that aims to improve child and youth mental health by integrating wellbeing into school communities.

Wendy Hyer, Superintendent of Schools states “The fact that SD67 was selected from 41 applicants across BC for this innovative project speaks highly to the quality of education that our schools are delivering. We have a community that shares a strong passion for supporting the wellbeing of our children and youth and this unique opportunity for further collaboration with our community will most certainly result in a positive impact on the wellbeing of our youth.”

Over the month of October, students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators and others in the community will take part in “ideation” sessions: opportunities to brainstorm school-based approaches that positively affect how students feel. These can be small actions, new routines or everyday activities that can become part of a school’s set of daily practices.

“The changes WellAhead is looking for are those that schools can easily implement without investing major resources,” said Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. “The initiative will help improve understanding of how change happens in schools, and whether everyday practices can be an effective means of improving social and emotional wellbeing.”

The general public can also contribute ideas through an online public engagement platform, which will go live in November. This process will supplement the ideation sessions and lead to the selection of new ideas. Starting in 2016, WellAhead will support districts in the work of “prototyping” — trying out and evaluating some of the proposed new ideas and practices to determine their impact and longer-term feasibility.

Each school district has appointed a community liaison, who serves as a contact person to bridge between the initiative and interested members of the public who want to be involved. Jenny Mitchell is the community liaison for School District No. 67 - Okanagan Skaha and can be reached at

For more information about the national WellAhead initiative or to sign up for the newsletter, visit or contact Elana Ludman:

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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