Walk so Kids can Talk
By Maria-Josee Martinez
Canada’s only free professional youth counseling service Kids Help Phone is holding its annual Walk so Kids can Talk on May 3.
The family friendly 5k walk held every first Sunday of May is presented by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and held in more than 40 locations in Canada.
Last year, nearly 10,000 Canadians have participated in the walk and raised more than $3 million. This year they are hoping to raise $3.6 million.
The fundraising walk is the largest event of the year for the Kids Help Phone organization which raises a significant amount of the revenue needed to keep its valuable free and anonymous 24-hour call and online service available to youth across the country.
It was designed for their services to help kids whenever they need them 24 hours, 365 days a year.
According to Ontario statistics, approximately 300 youth, ages 5-20 call their line every day and those who connect with their professional counselors come from 540 communities in Ontario.
Their community resource database contains over 12,000 resources from Ontario.
These resources are used by counsellors from the helpline to help youth to support such as shelter, health clinics and even LGBT services.
“There’s a variety of different ways that kids can connect with us, a variety of different platforms,” says Norm Smyth, the Ontario Regional director at Kids Help Phone.
“We want kids to know how to reach us, it’s not just the phone service.Our service is done by professional counsellors. We’re also a web service, so they can connect in confidentiality through our web page, phone app with a live chat service.”
Smyth says the organization is hoping to see 25,000 participants at the walk this year.
“When we add it all up, we should have 240 walks, about that many with Toronto being the biggest and the best.”
The 14th annual Walk so Kids can Talk will be running in several locations in the Greater Toronto Area including Pickering, Mississauga, and Vaughan.
The walk will begin at 10 a.m.