Vermilion, Alberta –- Monique Hart, a high school teacher at J.R. Robson High School in Vermilion, says she’s glad the grade 10 kids in her CALM (career and life management) class received mental health training starting in kindergarten.
“You can see they’ve soaked up the mindfulness strategies and assertiveness training,” she says. “All kids have stressors, but I can tell from their assignments the benefits of what they’ve learned through VIBE.”
VIBE Wellness is a charity that started in 2012 with the mission to promote positive mental health in children, youth, families and people who interact with children and youth. VIBE stands for Vermilion is Being Empowered, but the organization expanded its reach over the years thanks to Patricia Calyniuk, the program manager for VIBE.
“VIBE serves 3022 students in 14 schools and their families, and we also allow community members without children to access resources,” says Calyniuk.
Hart says her mother got involved with one of VIBE’s many initiatives, which involved pairing seniors with at-risk youth for some after-school activities. It was a hugely positive experience for her mother, and Hart says Calyniuk was a social worker, so she sees and knows where the gaps and works hard to create a healthier community.
“Pat took the program and expanded it through her work,” says Hart. “All of these initiatives and events need money, and Pat was doing so much scrimping and saving to make it all happen.”
Hart’s family owns a feedlot, and she nominated VIBE Wellness for the Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities Program in 2020.
“I had not heard of the Bayer Fund grant until Monique told us about it. I was honored that she thought of us,” says Calyniuk.
VIBE is one of many Mental Health Capacity Building programs that receive funding through Alberta Health Services and other support programs. VIBE goes above and beyond, so grants and donations are necessary to fill the gaps.
“Our organization needed help with funding for programming supplies. We only receive enough base funding for salaries, our phone and mileage,” says Calyniuk.
VIBE receive the $2,500 grant in 2020, which helped the organization reach more people with their regular and summer programming. The impact of VIBE’s education is long-lasting. Calyniuk says a parent texted a VIBE coach to share that her son told her about coping with stress using meditation, deep breathing and positive self-talk.
“These children are now in their 20s, and they are still using what VIBE taught them in school!”