SMPS video highlights diabetes prevention across Canada
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
Students from Sioux Mountain Public School (SMPS) are the stars of a video highlighting how education, awareness, and the promotion of healthy and active living can reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Last November, Sun Life Financial Inc. committed $450,000 to the Right To Play, Play for Prevention program to help combat the increase of type 2 diabetes in Indigenous youth.
“Sun Life Financial’s support of the Play for Prevention program, geared toward urban Indigenous youth who are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, began in 2015, with an initial commitment of $150,000. The donation will help Right To Play to maintain and grow their impact across Canada,” a news release from Sun Life Financial Inc. stated.
Sun Life Financial Inc. highlighted the impact the program has had in Sioux Lookout as part of their news release.
Meghan Wilson is the healthy living kids / Right to Play program coordinator for the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre.
She shared, “Last year, Right to Play, the organization that I work with, they contacted me because they wanted to highlight one of their strongest programs through one of their funders, Sun Life Financial. So out of over 100 Right to Play programs all across Canada, they chose us and that’s because of the youth in our community.”
She continued, “Last year they came for two weeks. One week in April and one week in June and they filmed all of our programs. All of our after school programs, the play for prevention program… the lacrosse program with the hockey academy, the biking program at Cedar Bay, they filmed all those things.”
SMPS students from the Grade 5/6 hockey academy, the Grade 5/6 play for prevention program, the Grade 7/8 beading circle, and the Right To Play after school program all took part in the video showcasing the programming Wilson has been providing.
The play for prevention program focuses on diabetes prevention.
“Physical activity, healthy eating, that’s something that we promote in all of our programming. But specifically, there is an in-school program every Tuesday that I’ve partnered with two classes with and we deliver diabetes prevention programing, but it’s all play based,” Wilson explained.
“The reason the programming is so successful,” Wilson said, “is because we have this amazing partnership with Sioux Mountain. They let me come in here during the day, after school, and run programs.”
Student that participated in the creation of the video and their families were invited to a special video launch in February to view the finished video, which can be viewed at http://ow.ly/89qX30j1kb6 .
“Today we are celebrating all of our community, or program, and this video is kind of a big deal,” Wilson told students and their families. “It’s been shared on Sun Life Financial’s website, all over their social media, and to people all across Canada.”
Victor Lyon, cultural resource coordinator for the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre narrated the video.
Commenting on the video, he shared, “I think it’s really awesome. It shows a lot of positive things that are happening in this community with the youth with regard to diabetes awareness and healthy living and healthy eating. That’s something that a lot of people across Canada, not only here, struggle with.”
He praised the impact Wilson’s programming has had on students. “It’s very encouraging. When I grew up, we didn’t have any information like that. We ate whatever was in front of us. We didn’t really have much of a choice. Today there are much better choices and it’s really empowering to know that the kids can have that knowledge to make those choices now.”
He added, “All that just bleeds right into the home too. It creates a shift, not only at school, but also with families at home too because kids are not asking for those snack foods anymore like sugar, and chocolate, and chips. They’re asking for something else.”