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The Foundation’s WellAhead initiative, focused on improving child and youth mental health by integrating wellbeing into school communities, held its official launch in Vancouver last month.

WellAhead Launches in British Columbia

After much planning and groundwork over the summer, the WellAhead initiative launched in Vancouver in September. The week began with a gathering of six pilot districts to learn more about the social innovation lab process and developmental evaluation, and to talk about how the partners want to work together. It ended with a presentation and workshop at the Kelty Summer Institute, Promoting Mental Wellness in BC School Communities.

From Building the Foundation to Brainstorming Ideas

Inspired by social innovation labs, the WellAhead process includes three major phases: co-design, prototyping, and scaling. During the fall, participants will be engaged in “building the foundation” – using data and stakeholder feedback to better understand the local context, including key issues, opportunities and existing initiatives to advance wellbeing in schools. Each pilot district has a WellAhead Community Liaison who works with a local planning team to lead that process.

Starting in October, each district will hold one or more ideation sessions. These are workshop-style events that bring together stakeholders of multiple perspectives – educators, administrators, parents, students and community partners – to brainstorm ideas for everyday practices that could promote the wellbeing of students. From there, each district will hold an “idea refinement” session that will think through those ideas in more detail, narrowing them down by considering how they relate to the community’s vision for long-term change. If you live in one of the pilot districts and would like to participate in the process, contact wellaheadbc@mcconnellfoundation.ca to be connected to your district’s WellAhead Community Liaison. For those unable to attend a session – whether in a pilot district, elsewhere in BC, or in other parts of Canada – there will eventually be a public input platform that will open up the ideation process to the thoughts, ideas and preferences to everyone.

For more about WellAhead, sign up for updates through the website and follow the initiative on twitter.