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Announcing the 2016 Strive Award shortlist

Each year, Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) receives dozens of applications for the Strive Award, which recognizes a community organization in Nova Scotia that promotes healthy living with a $10,000 grant. Here’s a round-up of the three organizations that made the shortlist in 2016. The winner will be announced at the 2016 DNS annual general meeting in June.

Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association

Free Spirit was established in Aylesford, Nova Scotia in 2012, offering a mandate to provide those Annapolis Valley residents with mental health concerns, of all ages and exceptionalities, a safe environment through the use of therapeutic horseback riding. Working with medical and psychological professionals, specialists, and the equestrian community, Free Spirit provides a unique and rewarding therapy experience. A mostly volunteer-run organization, it has seen over 200 people come through the organization and last year serviced 160 clients. If given the Strive Award, Free Spirit would use the money to increase its facilities for disabled athletes. “Our mission is to offer programming without any limitations,” said executive director Brittany Pulsifer. Strive funding will allow us to continue and expand on our dream, by increasing our ability to offer programming to Nova Scotia’s para-athletes. We cannot wait to contact those who were unable to access our programming without a wheelchair lift.”

Nourish Your Roots

An initiative of Nourish Nova Scotia – a registered charity supporting nutrition programs and food literacy in schools – Nourish Your Roots was piloted last fall. Its goal is to connect children and their families to farmers, encouraging them to buy, eat, and cook local. “NYR supports the local economy within the farming community and creates an appropriate and successful fundraising campaign in support of other health promotion initiatives within schools, which help ensure that our children and youth are well-nourished so they may reach their potential in life, in learning and in play,” said executive director Margo Riebe-Butt. Were the organization to receive the Strive Award, it would use the money to expand the pilot program provincially. “Being shortlisted and promoted as a finalist,” said Riebe-Butt, “helps to spread the word about the great work our organization is doing every day to promote the health and learning of Nova Scotia’s children and youth.”

Undercurrent Youth Centre

Glace Bay’s Undercurrent Youth Centre has been offering kids a safe space and promoting an active, social lifestyle since 2010. “Our team works incredibly hard to see community transformation in Glace Bay, with limited resources, and to hear that we could potentially have some help to do this work is great news,” said Undercurrent’s executive director David Sawler. The organization’s fundraising needs are great this year, aiming for $125,000 to be split between Glace Bay and a new centre in Sydney, with much raised through a popular annual auction. Up to 400 kids visit Undercurrent weekly, and it’s Sawler’s goal to have places for over 1,000 Cape Breton youths to go by 2020. “Undercurrent is very intentional in investing into young people who may not have anyone else helping them grow in a positive direction,” he said. “Strive Award money would increase the number of youth we are capable of helping.”

Your turn: Share your favourite community health-promotion organization in the comment section below.

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