By Trevor Suffield
Nov. 13, 2008
A St. James daycare program has been recognized for its efforts to educate youngsters about the perils of addiction.
Heritage Park Children’s Programs Inc., located in Heritage School, will receive a Merit Award from the Manitoba Addictions Awareness Week as part of the national Addictions Awareness Week.
The HPCP program is a community-based daycare for kids 12 and under.
Traci Wright, coordinator of HPCP’s Great Expectations Healthy Baby program, helped launch the addictions awareness program after reading an MAAW resource kit. She says receiving the award from MAAW has provided everyone involved with the program a measure of satisfaction.
“We’re very glad that what we’re doing, as far as addictions awareness goes, is making a difference,” Wright said.
HPCP officials provided an information program for children that talked about healthy living and addictions. Posters were then created that were submitted to the Elks and Royal Purple Addictions Awareness program.
“We certainly didn’t do it with any intent to be recognized in any shape or form. We just thought it would be a good thing to do,” Wright said.
Last year, MAAW organizers awarded $8,147 in grants to 73 organizations.
Addictions Awareness Week begins Nov. 16. A kickoff event will be held Nov. 17 at Fort Gibraltar in St. Boniface. The HPCP will be among six organizations that will be honoured that day.
The aim of Addictions Awareness Week is to educate individuals whose lives are affected by addiction. The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba is a co-sponsor of the week-long campaign.
MAAW chairman Richard Loiselle said the theme for this year’s campaign is “Best of Me.”
“Given that we just had our 15-year anniversary, we decided that it would be a good idea to go through our archives and pull out the best of what we’ve produced,” Loiselle said.
“Being the best of me is saying that you don’t need to turn to illegal substances or any of that stuff, when you can be the best of who you are on your own, with your own strengths and determination.”
Loiselle, who is also the coordinator for French language services for Manitoba Healthy Living, said the committee is sending out more than 2,000 free resource kits to schools in an effort to get young people talking about addictions issues. The kits offer facts, discussion points, and activities designed to make young people aware of the perils of addiction.
Additional copies can be downloaded from the MAAW’s website and print copies can be ordered through the Manitoba Textbook Bureau for a nominal fee.
The kit costs more than $10,000 to put together, with some of those costs covered by different agencies.
For more information on Manitoba Addictions Awareness Week call 944-6279, or visit www.afm.mb.ca.