Healthy Living & Injury Prevention Initiative

Organization Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport (now Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)

Organization Partner: Seven Star Sports


Program Description

We have run a variety of programs with Police, EMS, Fire & Transport depts, Hospitals, Universities, Law Firms, Churches, NGOs, Not-for-Profits, health depts & schools. I would like to highlight the collaboration with the educational boards. Our initiative with the schools was done in collaboration with a variety of partners - Safe Kids, ThinkFirst, SMARTRISK, Ministry of Health (Manitoba / Nova Scotia), BIAC, KidSport, etc. Goals: 1. Address the most vulnerable group, children youth and teens ‘head-on’ – these groups are the hardest to convince because they are so impressionable. This can be used to your advantage. As students spend, approximately, on average, 6 hours daily in the school system (from cognition to behavioral conditioning); they will wear those helmets that are approved by their peers (one of the most difficult notions to address is ‘it isn’t cool looking’ or ‘wearing helmets is nerdy / geeky’, etc). 2. Proverbially ‘killing 2 birds with one stone’ - while proliferation of helmets (different helmets for the different seasonal sports or recreational activities) is being done; you can have workshops / seminars on safety & healthy living (how to properly wear safety equipment & participate in physical activities). Based on the type of safety awareness programs you could actually create a mindset change. A change in beliefs so that both goals are achieved; a safe, healthy citizen and less burden on the local health system. 3. By doing it through the school system you can address all the different seasonal sports that require safety helmets, safety accessories and sporting goods – remember it is not just cycling that causes injuries especially brain or spinal cord / paralysis (10% of all spinal cord and paralysis injures occur in sports such as hockey, mountain biking, football, horseback riding, skiing and snowboarding – source: Pickett GE, Campos-Benitez M, Keller JL, et al. Epidemiology of traumatic spinal cord injury in Canada / National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Centre, University of Alabama at Birmingham: 2006 … so don’t forget skiing, sledding / tobogganing, skiing, skating, E-Bikes, skateboarding, inline skating, snowboarding, hockey, etc. 4. You can make sure that no student is left behind – by having the schools initiate this (can be year round); this model will ensure that those kids that cannot afford safety helmets / equipment will not be left out in the lurch. 5. Fundraising for schools / organizations that are in desperate need of funding; school children buy on self finance basis or canvass the safety products, accessories, sporting goods (school fundraising) to ensure that revenue is generated and create longevity in this program. Remember sooner or later the funding dries up!

Program Approximate Cost: 


Funding Sources: 

Bought on self finance and run as a fundraising activity, through the students, ensures that there is no funding issue... plus I try to involve as many private or public organizations (individuals) to donate or sponsor the initiative.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

Since it is self financed and promoted through the schools' fund raising activities; both the accessibility and sustainability issues are addressed adequately. All SOPS for this business model have been documented to ensure easy replication.

Impact Of Program: 

* more than 80 000 helmets distributed just in Manitoba initiative * 300 000 helmets through schools in Canada

Evaluation Tools: 

We have all the statistical data as to who orders what, the timelines for booking for this initiative both on the micro and macro level; all the bio data of the schools (purchasers) and the break up of types of safety helmets and accesories sold. We take feedback and complaints through email and our toll free number. We allow the end purchaser to call (toll free) our service dept directly for queries, complaints, etc so that none of the partners / collaborators are troubled with service oriented problems initiated by the end user.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

The great thing about our initiative throught the school system is that it can be replicated anywhere in the world... The major stakeholders needed are injury prevention & healthy living agencies (can be govt (Federal or Provincial), NGOs, Not-For-Profits); school boards (can be at provincial level, regional level or municipal level); a safety helmet, accessories and sporting goods supplier (must have requisite certifications; willing to sell products below retail costs; willing to aid in calling or canvassing schools to join in the initiative; sort and pack each individual order and be willing to ship to one location or to drop-ship to several locations; plus take sole responsibility for breakup of of each individual order, service issues, returns, exchanges, etc); ample PLI (insurance) that covers all stakeholders and of course the end user (remember these are safety based products that can come back to 'bite you' if the PLI is not appropriate).

Challenges To Meet Them: 

* Plan, plan, plan - since the stakeholders are numerous (agency, school, school board, safety sports supplier, donating sponsors) and the tasks plenty. * Collect all fees well ahead of the delivery time as one of you will be liable to pay the supplier (you will receive individual payments (chq, CC or cash) and will have to make one lumpsum payment to supplier) * make sure documentation is solid as you will have generated surplus funds that will have to be answered for. * Make sure the sponsoring agency (or you) have approved safety awareness and physical participation programs. Programs that you will be conducting in the classes / schools must inculcate mindset change. * Try to align as many sponsors who will donate, in cash or kind, to the initiative * Make sure the supplier is willing to quarterback this initiative with you. The brunt of the campaign must be borne by the supplier. Supplier is involved from planning, tele-canvassing, timely delivery and servicing clients (way after initative has ended).

Length and Stage of Project: 

Spring / summer initiative: Ideally procurement needs to be initiated Oct/Nov so you can get availability of the latest designs or institute your own logo or design plus the supplier needs time to manufacture goods to ensure timely delivery by end of Feb. If its your 1st spring / summer initiative then you should initiate program in Jan. Students need time to canvass so you can have 2 campaigns - one that delivers safety products by end of March and then restarts in April and delivery of helmets is early or mid June. You or your partner who is conducting the safety awareness / physical participation workshops need to schedule accordingly. Fall / winter initiative: Same replication - procurement Aug timely delivery by end of Oct. and then restarted Nov for Jan delivery. NOte: The above applies if seasons are applicable... You could wrap up an initiative within 12 weeks (canvassing, workshops, delivery - excluding manufacturing time) or keep it going year round...

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