Teacher candidates lead fundraising efforts for mental health

January 29, 2020

Students, faculty and staff participate in a bubble soccer fundraiser at the Faculty of Education. All proceeds raised benefit Kids Help Phone.

Teacher candidates played soccer in a bubble, had fun and raised money for Kids Help Phone, but when it comes to mental health awareness, they want to remove the isolation bubble that youth might have when dealing with their mental health.

Students, faculty and staff at the Faculty of Education participated in the fifth annual bubble soccer tournament to raise awareness and proceeds for Kids Help Phone.

The event, organized by the Education Students’ Council (ESC), hopes to raise $500.

“The event was not initially intended to be tied to Bell Let’s Talk Day but the natural link between the two events has allowed bubble soccer to evolve,” said teacher candidate and ESC Vice-President, Phoenicia Kempel. “Anything that contributes to ending the stigma around mental health helps and we want to encourage people to feel comfortable about talking to someone about their mental health.”

For the ESC, supporting Kids Help Phone is more than a one-day commitment. Rather, they host a number of events throughout the year and they’ve been supporting Kids Help Phone for five years. Kempel said the ESC supports the organization because teacher candidates saw the need for youth mental health services during their practicum.

Besides bubble soccer, the ESC has planned a spirit week to raise awareness about mental health. In particular, the ESC will have a special campaign planned for Bell Let’s Talk Day that will support positivity around mental health, said Kempel.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national support service that’s available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. They offer confidential professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French.

Kempel added Kids Help Phone is accessible because they provide mental health services to youth who may not otherwise receive support due to barriers, such as stigma and a lack of finances.

“As teachers, we build a unique relationship with our students. We see them everyday for a big part of their waking hours and we see the day-to-day need for resources and support for students and their mental health,” said Kempel.

While teacher candidates are giving back to the community by playing in the tournament, they’re also benefitting. Not only are they helping others, but bubble soccer allows them to have fun while forgetting their own stress for a short period of time, said Kempel.

Becoming civic minded is also important for teacher candidates because their participation in this fundraiser also reinforces the important role teachers play in communities.

“Community service is a great way for teachers and teacher candidates to get to know their community, which can help them serve it better.”

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