Healthy People, Healthy Communities

/Healthy People, Healthy Communities

Thriving, not just surviving after sexual abuse

Today, Rob Richards helps men overcome the effects of sexual abuse in a support group at Surpassing Our Survival (SOS) Society, a United Way of Northern BC funded agency in Prince George that helps women, children and men overcome sexual violence. He meditates ninety minutes every day and practices yoga to live a more mindful life.

Rob wasn’t always so put together. When his father died over ten years ago, he was flooded with memories of both sexual and physical abuse. This realization led Rob to a dark place, and even though he went to counselors and psychiatrists, they couldn’t help him move past the anger and shame.

Two and a half years ago, Rob sat on the couch feeling hopeless. “I lay there going, ‘Is this really all there is? Is this who I want to be? Am I really going to stay in this place where I am filled with all this anger?’ And […]

Good Food Boxes Deliver Healthier Eating in Dawson Creek

Imagine having to choose between feeding your family fresh fruit and vegetables and paying the rent. For many families in Northern BC, this is a stark reality.

Northern Health reports that our region has the highest rate of food insecurity in the province, with up to 19% of households not able to afford nutritious food to feed their families. Families who struggle to afford a healthy diet face increased depression, stress and social isolation. Children lack important micronutrients and risk increased chronic conditions like asthma and depression.

Network Ministry’s Good Food Box, a United Way supported program out of Dawson Creek, is working to change that.

Twice a month, volunteers gather to pack fresh fruit and vegetables into 140 boxes that are picked up or delivered to families who have been referred to the program by a Northern Health dietitian.

Jacqueline Janssen, Program Director at Network Ministries states, “The Dawson Creek Co-op picks […]

BMO and CIBC Team Up for United Way Day of Caring

Kitimat – On Saturday June 3, employees from BMO and CIBC gave back to the Kitimat community by spending several hours weeding and beautifying gardens for seniors in the Better at Home program.

The Better at Home program is a United Way-managed program that helps seniors with simple day-to-day tasks so they can continue to live independently in their own homes and remain connected to their communities.

Volunteers worked hard to take out several bags of weeds and lawn clippings that the seniors were not able to tackle themselves due to mobility issues.

Mrs. Irving, pictured, was very thankful for all their hard work on her garden. “It was so fantastic they came! They did such an amazing job.”

Kyle’s No Frills generously donated soil to the volunteer effort and the District of Kitimat donated the use of their gardening tools.

For Lindsey Larsen, North West Community Development Officer of United Way of Northern BC, it […]

The Hero Effect Focuses on Hunger

“Katie’s Krops,” Airs on Saturday, June 10 at 10am EST or you can watch the episode here.

Research shows that kids who have healthy nutritious food to eat every day are more likely to succeed in school. And yet research also tells us that right now, one in 6 children in Northern BC face hunger. Children who are hungry are more likely to get sick, be slower to recover from illness more slowly, and be hospitalized more frequently. It’s a vicious cycle that undermines their success in school and life.

This month’s The Hero Effect episode focuses on Katie Stagliano’s efforts to stamp out hunger.

Katie Stagliano, 18, is a high school senior from Summerville, South Carolina. She is the founder of Katie’s Krops, a non-for-profit organization with the mission to empower youth, start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes, and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. The idea for Katie’s Krops […]

Laura Finds New Hope

Laura was 14 when she was put in foster care. Her family home was no longer a safe place for her due to physical and sexual abuse. After being moved through several foster homes, Laura began working the streets of Prince George at the age of 17. She began using drugs to numb the pain and to cope with her feelings of hopelessness.

New Hope Society, which receives support from United Way, is the only drop-in-centre in Prince George where individuals in the sex trade, like Laura, receive support and one-to-one counselling. New Hope’s Program Coordinator, Jan Wilson, runs weekly workshops on life about addictions, life skills, job skills and how to stay safe and healthy. “Most of the women we work with have been involved with the foster care system, and have not had good experiences. There is a lot of shame about their addiction, about their work, about their past. Sometimes it takes […]

Baby Boxes: Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

United Way distributed Baby Boxes to Baby’s Best Chance Pregnancy Outreach and the North Peace Pregnancy Care Centre in Fort St John today.

For over 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the government. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed, and it has helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

One of the most common ways babies die is by accidental suffocation — being smothered by sleeping too close to parents, pillows, soft toys or blankets. The idea behind the boxes is to remove all those objects and promote safe sleep — cheaply — for all moms.

By distributing Baby Boxes from The Baby Box Company, United Way helps provide a safe sleeping environment and support to parents to give them the resources needed to provide a […]

The Hero Effect Focuses on Foster Care

“Treehouse Foundation,” Airs on Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 am EST or you can view the episode here.

The Treehouse Foundation highlights a community founded to ensure children who have experienced foster care find lifelong family relationships. Treehouse Foundation (Easthampton, MA) is re-envisioning foster care in America through intergenerational programs where children in foster care and the elderly come together to support one another, leading to fulfilling and productive lives. As founder and foster parent Judy Cockerton would attest, they need to know they’re not in the foster care system because they did something wrong. Many times older people age out themselves to live in senior housing where they feel isolated. With still so much to give, they offer valuable teachings to the kids. Together they form a loving community.

Hannah’s Safe Place

Diagnosed with autism when she was a toddler, Hannah, 14, refused to go to school or even leave the house. Her mother tried everything to get Hannah to attend school, but the teen became even more isolated and withdrawn.

Hannah’s mother began attending the Cooking with North Coast Community Services (NCCS) program in Prince Rupert and invited Hannah to come along. Meeting every Friday night, the group prepares a meal together while the younger children are looked after on the other side of the room.

At first, Hannah just wanted to cuddle the babies instead of helping prepare or clean up after the meal. With the urging of Infant Development Consultant, Sarah Browne, Hannah began cleaning up, and eventually came to enjoy helping chop vegetables, cooking and socializing with the group.

Hannah’s mother came home from work one day and found Hannah cooking one of the meals she learned from […]

Betty’s Bucket List

Living alone with no family support and experiencing the beginnings of dementia, Betty was referred to the Better at Home program in Quesnel. At 69, Betty had never gotten over the death of her son, and had experienced a lot of violence in her past.

Brenda Gardiner, Program Coordinator for Better at Home, assessed Betty and determined she needed daily support. Every day at 10am — even on weekends, Brenda called to check in on Betty. Brenda made sure Betty took her meds and asked about her plans for the day. Often, a volunteer would visit Betty in person to make sure she was doing okay.

One time Betty was so disoriented, she wandered far from home. Better at Home received a call and a volunteer locked the office and combed the neighbourhood looking for her. She found Betty confused, sitting on a bench and took her back home.

During this time, one of […]

Docu-Series “The Hero Effect” Airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network with Episode Highlighting Autism

“Rising Tides Car Wash,” Airs on Saturday, April 8 at 10:00 am EST or you can view the episode here.

An inspirational docu-series, The Hero Effect, is airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) with an episode highlighting a car wash that provides a positive environment for individuals with autism.

Since it opened in Parkland in April 2013, Rising Tide Car Wash has experienced great success, empowering young adults with autism and inspiring communities to change their perception of their capabilities. With 35 employees, Rising Tide is one of the largest employees of people with autism in the U.S. Since its inception, Rising Tide has created 75 jobs in the South Florida area.

Breaking down tasks and creating systemized processes for all daily responsibilities helps Rising Tide’s associates with autism realize their incredible capabilities, gain confidence that they never had before, make friends, gain financial independence and have a place to call their own.

Rising Tide co-founders John and […]