For the fourth consecutive year, and with endorsement from the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) took part in a 30-day, conference-wide mental health awareness campaign. For the third year, the ACAC was thrilled to welcome RBC back as the 2019 Make Some Noise for Mental Health presenting sponsor.
"The support provided by RBC and CMHA in Alberta has allowed us to reach new heights with the Make Some Noise campaign each and every year," said Mark Kosak, CEO, Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. "Student-athlete health and wellness are among the ACAC's top priorities, and it has become obvious to ACAC leaders that this mental health initiative and the overarching objectives of the campaign leaves a positive impact on the student population we serve."
This year, the ACAC and RBC have decided to take a community focused approach by allowing each post-secondary campus to put together a handful of student-athletes who have shown exemplary commitment to community service to create the RBC & ACAC Student Athlete Ambassador Program. RBC will provide each of the groups with $1,000, to which the students will be responsible for deciding how the funds are used at each post-secondary institution based on programs or organizations that help all students reach their full potential as young adults.
"RBC's commitment to furthering the discussion and breaking stigmas around mental health is loud and clear. For a third consecutive year, we're embracing this partnership with the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and mental health advocates in Alberta which allows us to have a greater impact in our communities." says Jeff Boyd, regional president of RBC in Alberta and the Territories. "RBC is extremely proud to introduce the RBC & ACAC Student Athlete Ambassador Program. Youth need greater access to programming, resources and networks that help them feel confident and optimistic about the future. We hope our support of the Make Some Noise for Mental Health campaign lets them know we are, absolutely, there to help them succeed."
Here is where these donations went:
Ambrose University Lions
The RBC & ACAC Student Athlete Ambassadors at Ambrose University, have decided to put the generous $1000 donation from RBC, towards the Ambrose University Counselling Services. Ambrose counselling is an on campus service available to all students. There are two therapists who serve a vast variety of student needs. While the cost of counselling is highly subsidized by Ambrose, students who use the service do pay a fee/session. This donation will be used to help pay the fee occurred by students, and hopefully see more students receive help through this service.
This donation was selected towards a project in the spirit of the campaign of "Make Some Noise for Mental Health". We trust that many students will benefit from the education provided, listening ear offered, and tools suggested in these sessions. We are thankful for the quality care given to our students by our therapists, and grateful that now more might receive this. Thank you to RBC for your amazing donation and helping bring solutions and health to the campus of Ambrose.
Olds College Broncos
The Olds College Broncos have decided to donate RBC's $1000 donation to the Olds College Student Food Bank. Because of other financial priorities such as tuition, books and housing, paying for groceries can become a big issue for students. As a result, many students don't eat enough, which has a negative impact on their mental well-being. The students have problems concentrating in class or during practice, are pressured to make unhealthy food choices, have lack of energy, and feel stressed.
The Olds College Student Food Bank, known as SAOC Pantry, is a program designed to assist students that are in need of food or personal care items. The SAOC recognized that many students still decide not to eat rather than to ask for assistance. The goal of the SAOC Pantry "is to help students in the most discreet and accessible way possible." Students of Olds College can request gift cards (CO-OP, Sobeys, Walmart, No Frills) to go shopping for the items they need.
Lethbridge College Kodiaks
Lethbridge College's Make Some Noise for Mental Health ambassador team has chosen to split the donation in half and donate to the Lethbridge College's Students' Association (LCSA) Food
Bank and the Ronald McDonald Emergency Fund. The team chose to split the funds in half because we wanted to reach out to something mental health related which is the Ronald McDonald Fund.
Also, we wanted to help out the food bank since there is an increase demand for food in the winter semester. The LCSA Food Bank was started in 1994 to meet the growing need for the students on campus. The Students' Association is responsible for the operation and supports the food bank through monetary donations and food drives.
The students at the college can access the food bank once a month. The Ronald McDonald Emergency Fund is used when students are not in a position to repay an emergency loan. First, the committee for this fund will talk to the student about budgeting for themselves but if there is just no other money and they would likely have to leave school, the committee will dip into the Ronald McDonald Fund. This fund has helped about a half a dozen students per year.
Keyano College Huskies
Keyano's ACAC Athlete Ambassador team has decided to give the $1,000 dollars from RBC to the counselling services at Keyano College. They feel that there needs to be counsellors available that make students comfortable, confident and safe to talk to about anything. There are many that are struggling with mental health and the counselling services' is a great way to lets students know that help is available. It's a program that can benefit the school as a whole, not just athletes, so that every student can be successful.
For success to happen we must take care of our minds, because that is where it all starts. This money can help continue the program and help promote the services that students have available for them to feel safe in going to seek the help they need. We need to promote the value that talking to someone means you are strong for taking care of your mental health and to erase the stigma.
Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves
GPRC is proud to announce that our Student Athlete Leadership Team has teamed up with RBC and our Mental Health Services Team at GPRC to support the development of a wellness zone for all students of GPRC. In collaboration with the Students Association and our Mental Health Services team, this newly renovated space will be an area on-campus where students can unplug from everyday stressors and unwind.
Medicine Hat College Rattlers
Concordia University Thunder
For a single day in Tegler, the student-ambassador team will setup a "Mental Health Fair" that will feature 5-7 different booths. Each student that participates will be given a "passport" where they will get stamps for participating in each booth – the more booths a student engages in, the more stamps they get, giving them more entries into a draw prize. At each of the booths, a volunteer would staff them and give a short talk and hand out information. At the end of the event, students could submit all of their passport stamps to the draw bin and would draw for 3 gift cards. The idea is that the more a student participates, the more entries they get to potentially win a prize.
St. Mary's University Lightning
St. Mary's University would like to thank the RBC Foundation for their generous contribution. Our Student Athlete Leadership Team has decided to direct the donation to campus recreation services to provide 10 free Yoga classes for our student population. There will be ten classes split between Monday's and Fridays starting on Feb 25th. Students, Staff and Faculty of St. Mary's will be encouraged to sign up and partake in these free classes. No experience or equipment will be required of the participants as the recreation department will ensure there is adequate supplies for the class.
Through the Yoga classes the Student Athlete Leadership Team wishes that the classes will help with the mind body and spirit of our small school community. Providing stress relief and general wellness benefits to those that participate.
Red Deer College Athletics
We believe students often experience mental health distress due to poor finances, poor financial management to be exact. We chose this because we feel that it is the most effective way to give back to our students. As student ourselves we felt that giving people the chance to learn about all the different opportunities for funding that are available to help ease the financial burden of attending school would be very beneficial. In additions, the RDC Student Connect Office will be offering advice on how to access awards and scholarships offered by RDC, the Government of Alberta and external agencies. This will be another tool that we can give student to add to their tool box.
The Financial Literacy Session will be taking place on January 29 from 5-8 p.m. and will be held at the Student Associations Farside Pub and Grill. We are offering all students that attend a free supper from 5 to 6, to be followed by the RBC financial literacy session and a brief presentation by the RDC Student Connect Office It is our hope that this session will provide our student body with a meaningful opportunity to learn about proper financial management that can lead to reducing in their stress. We are looking forward to the opportunity that the RBC Grant has given us to put on an event that will have a positive impact on our students.
Portage College Voyageurs
Since our 925 student body is spread out and that 45% of our student body is Indigenous we wanted to really do something healthy as this is not always the case on our campuses. This week (Feb. 11-15th) at Portage College it is also "Random Acts of Kindness Week" so we kicked it off. We have taken your generous donation and are hosting campuses "Fuel UP..Fill UP…Mind Your Health" stations. They have water, juice boxes (apple and orange), coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chocolate chip granola bars, Kellogg cereal bars, apples and oranges. On Feb 11th Lac La Biche and St. Paul had their Mind your Health stations from 9:30am -12:00pm and Feb. 12th it will be in Cold Lake and Feb. 14th in Frog Lake.
We will host later in the month in Goodfish Lake as that campus only has 25 students on it. This was a big hit on our campuses as it had staff and students interacting from different faculties and was just a nice healthy snack and refreshment for them. Thank you to RBC for everything you have done for Portage College this year.
The NAIT RBC ambassador student athletes are donating to multiple causes which allows us to show others the importance of the counselling services and wellness plan that NAIT provides. The first cause we decided to donate to is the "My wellness plan" at NAIT. They have online mental health assessments, stress reduction techniques and apps to help students assess manage their overall mental wellness. They also give students access to FeelingBetterNow, a tool designed to help students assess if they are at risk of mental illness and if so provide a means or support. Our 500$ donation to the wellness plan will provide them with opportunities to build their platforms, develop new services and advertise the wellness plan to students.
The second half of our donation is to go directly to counseling services at NAIT. A lot of students at nait struggle with mental illness and could use someone to talk to. With the money provided to the counseling services we hope to provide them with the opportunity to advertise and promote their services and build their professional community so that students and NAIT occupants have a safe and inviting place to get a handle on their mental illness. As the NAIT RBC Ambassador Student Athletes, we feel that by splitting up the donations allows for the students and users to recieve benefits of two different causes. By doing the above, it allows important services to develop and to reach out.
Stay tuned as more donation stories are to come...