After three years, on September 10, 2022, Shine Out! Shout Out! supporting youth mental health and the Just Be You peer support program returned. And what a return it was! This year was a sold-out event, with many teams returning for their 8th year.
People played hockey, read and picked up mental health material, and donated and supported. They listened to the why of the tournament and the impact of the pandemic on youth mental health. And they talked, smiled, laughed, told stories, shared their own experiences with mental health personally or in their families, and connected – something we all felt was often missing over the last 2.5-plus years.
As Shine Out! Shout Out! 2022 took place on World Suicide Prevention Day. We were pleased to host the Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition’s (HSPC) Garden of Peace rock painting as part of our recognition of the day. After the event, we passed on to the HSPC beautiful messages of hope. Thanks to everyone who took the time to create these pieces of art. We also created a Hope Board and cards of Hope. Young and old alike filled the Board and cards with positive messages for youth dealing with mental health issues and to let them know they are not alone.
A big thank you to Vanessa Blumer and her team from Liberty Utilities for being a part of our day. Liberty Utilities provided us with a photo booth where we saw groups and individuals strike fun poses when taking their pictures and creating lasting memories of fun, friendship, and community.
Also, a thank you to Champagne Floral Designs for their donation of the player of the game flowers, Dr. Paul Hackett and Dr. Henry Candelaria from Athletacare for providing our occasionally needed first aid, Jacob Danque from TRSNFRM Athletics for providing much needed stretching, and Andrew Needham from the HSPC and the Oakville Public Library for the materials on community mental health resources, as well as CMHA Halton, CMHA Ontario, PCMH Oakville, and Support House for their displays and materials.
And how many of us saw that great hockey stick touchless donation display from tiptap, equipped with our Shine Out! Shout Out! logo? We can’t say thank you enough for tiptap being a part of our day, and for providing an easy way for people to make payments and donations. We look forward to working together at future events.
A massive shout out of thanks to the facilitators and youth of the Just Be You program who shared their voices with us at the tournament and told of the difference the program had on their lives. The pandemic had caused us to pause our Shine Out! Shout Out! for a few years, but the work of the Just Be You peer program at Support House continued. During the pandemic, the program went virtual, which allowed youth to stay connected, not only with friends but also with community resources, and to have a place to hang out and have fun. The pandemic showed us the harsh impact of isolation, loss of social connection, and inability to do things that are part of everyday life (like school) on a young person’s mental well-being. The constancy of knowing Just Be You was there allowed youth to find a safe space, be there for each other and just be themselves while being supported, especially during the pandemic when life was anything but normal and youth often felt lost and overwhelmed.
As I said when starting this letter, after being away since 2019, what a return we had! We are blown away by the support. Thanks to the coming together of everyone – the teams, the organizing committee, the Canlan Ice Sports facility team and the many volunteers, as well as our sponsors and donors (of time, goods, and services), the Just Be You youth and team – Shine Out! Shout Out! 2022 truly shone out! I am so pleased to shout out that thanks to the tournament’s funds and the matching funds from Kindred Foundation, we can donate over $45,000 to the Just Be You Peer program. When we add this amount to other Just Be You Fund monies this year, more than $60,000 will be given to the Just Be You program in 2022; indeed, a moment of WOW!
Thank you for supporting the Just Be You program and the youth who attend the program. You are truly helping to make a difference.
See you next year! Follow us on social media at @ShineShout on Twitter, Instagram, and Shine Out! Shout Out! on Facebook for our latest updates and happenings.
Michele Sparling, Founder
Just Be You / Shine Out! Shout Out!