The Saturday Respite Program is a great example of how the Aberdeen Health Foundation Children’s Aid Society (CAS) Endowment has been improving health outcomes for children and youth in Pictou County. Northern Region Respite Services (under management of Highland Community Residential Services) offer several supports for families however there were no weekend programs. Today, with the help of CAS funding, families can take advantage of five hours of Saturday respite per month.
“The program provides more than a break for parents,” says NRRS Respite Coordinator, Amanda Smith-Robinson, “children and youth also benefit from the opportunity to create sustainable social networks outside of the educational environment.” Events facilitate friendship and foster acceptance and inclusion, all important dimensions of healthy child development.
The CAS Endowment was made possible through a generous gift in 2013 from the former Children’s Aid Society of Pictou County. The Aberdeen Health Foundation is now accepting applications; funding is open to charitable and public organizations to deliver programs designed to foster health outcomes, protect children and youth, and enhance services and supports for families. Approximately $55,000 is available and has historically been shared between several projects. Since its inception, approximately $450,000 in funding has been awarded to a diverse range of organizations. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.
In addition to Highland Community Residential Services, in 2019 CAS Endowment recipients included Big Brothers Big Sisters; NSHA – Mental Health & Addictions, Child and Adolescent Team; Pictou County Roots for Youth; Pictou County Sexual Health Centre; and Pictou County Women’s Resource & Sexual Assault Centre.
“We are blessed here to have so many highly effective frontline agencies that understand the needs of their clients and are continually seeking ways to enhance services and improve outcomes,” says Aberdeen Health Foundation Executive Director, Michelle Ferris. “The CAS Endowment has allowed the Foundation to further our mission while building on the incredible knowledge and capacity that exists in our community.”
The Big Brothers Big Sisters, “Big Bunch” helps the organization provide opportunities to children on their waiting list. With a specific focus on physical and mental health outcomes, the program is designed to motivate and engage youth to enhance their self-awareness and awareness of others, while increasing self-esteem to provide a sense of belonging and strengthen social skills.
The “Quickstart Behavioural Activation (QBA) Program” offered through the NSHA Mental Health & Addictions, Child and Adolescent Team, engages youth in group settings with a focus on mental wellness instead of mental illness. The program teaches therapeutic and mindfulness skills in managing panic, self-care, and coping with thoughts of self-harm and suicide. QBA is designed to work in combination with other mental health initiatives as a form of treatment, as well as a form of prevention for long term lifestyle and health challenges.
These are just some examples of the organizations and initiatives that have been supported through the CAS Endowment. Visit the Aberdeen Health Foundation website for more information on these and other programs that are improving health outcomes for children, youth and families in Pictou County.
Information on project eligibility and application forms can be found at aberdeenhealthfoundation.ca/CAS-endowment, or by contacting Deelle Hines, at (902) 752-7600 x. 4600.
The deadline for applications is August 31, 2020.