A Lunenburg organization that offers aquacize classes to seniors, a Halifax community garden initiative, and a group from Yarmouth County dedicated to improving outdoor physical activity facilities are the three finalists for the 2012 Doctors Nova Scotia Strive Award.
Elderfit Lunenburg, Friends of Ellenwood Park in Yarmouth, and Hope Blooms/North End Community Garden in Halifax are the finalists selected from 33 volunteer community groups that applied for the 2012 award.
The Strive Award is given annually to a community group making innovative and strategic decisions about promoting healthy lifestyle choices. The recipient receives a $5,000 grant to spend on advancing health promotion initiatives, and a plaque for their community.
“Volunteers are the backbone to our communities and this award is an opportunity to highlight some of the great health promotion work happening throughout the province,” said Dr. John Chiasson, President of Doctors Nova Scotia. “Doctors are honoured to support those individuals who volunteer their time to improve the health of our family, friends, and patients,” he added.
Each of the award finalists brings to their community services that improve both physical health and mental health.
Stephen Sollows, Friends of Ellenwood chair, says without the work this group does to maintain trails and facilities in Ellenwood Park, many people wouldn’t have access to outdoor winter activities like skiing.
“Before our group came together there was no facility close by which offered ski trails and plowed walking trails to the public within Yarmouth, Digby, or Shelburne counties,” explains Sollows. “Since we established our group the park continues to see ever-increasing activity in the off-season months.”
Elderfit Lunenburg gives seniors suffering from mobility issues an opportunity to get active. Martha Saunders, the organization’s director and manager, explains that many clients feel they would be in a wheelchair if it wasn’t for the water therapy they receive through Elderfit classes.
Hope Blooms/North End Community Garden, a youth gardening initiative in North End Halifax, also provides unique services to its participants that go beyond just helping them producing sustainable food explains Jessie Jollymore, Program Lead for Hope Blooms.
“We want to help change the way people view the youth and their families in this inner city population, allowing them to see themselves with the power to change their lives and build brighter, healthier futures,” says Jollymore.
This year’s Strive Award recipient will be announced during Doctors Nova Scotia’s annual conference on Saturday, June 2.