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Building relationships with toy robots and ninja stars

January rain splattered on the windows and clouds darkened the sky – a usual Vancouver day. Youth were slumped down on the couch fixed on the television screen as a youth worker thought of an unusual idea. They were going to make some three dimensional paper robot toys. One of the youth workers had experience building these toys when he was young and felt it would be a good opportunity to show the youth something unique.

Curious, several youth peeled away from the television and joined the youth worker who was teaching the youth all the intricate folds and cuts required to create the toy. For the rest of the evening, the youth busily worked on the craft, bright colors were applied to the designs as everyone exchanged life stories and experiences. As the activity came to a close, “Jimmy” propped up and asked the youth worker, “Hey, I know how to make these ninja stars out of paper – want to learn how to make them?”

Together, “Jimmy” and the youth worker built paper ninja stars. While the youth worker managed to teach Jimmy how to make toy robots, Jimmy patiently managed to teach the youth worker how to make paper ninja stars. As it turns out, the usual rainy day turned out to be a rather unusual exchange of experiences and a great way to build on relationships. To this day, the toy robot and ninja stars sit on a display, side by side – a lasting symbol of the relationship and exchange that embodies youth work every day.

toy robots created by youth  

Let’s talk about mental health with Bell

Clara Hughes, Howie Mandel and many  others are teaming up with Bell's Let’s Talk Campaign to raise money for and awareness of mental illness in Canada. Bell's Let’s Talk is a multi-year charitable program dedicated to mental health. Bell has committed over $67.5 million to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast to coast. 

Mental Health impacts everyone, here are some facts:

  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

Learn how you can add your voice to Bell’s Let’s Talk Campaign and make a difference for those suffering from a mental illness here.
Bell Let's Talk


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