Sheridan Nurseries Becomes Presenting Sponsor of Upedia.ca, the Premiere Online Resource for the Child Life Profession

Sheridan Nurseries Becomes Presenting Sponsor of Upedia.ca, the Premiere Online Resource for the Child Life Profession

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Toronto, Ontario… In a new and exciting partnership, Sheridan Nurseries, Canada’s largest garden centre retailer and grower, is now Presenting Sponsor of Upedia.ca (Upedia)– an international online community and peer-reviewed psychosocial resource library developed for child life specialists to share knowledge and practices that best support and enhance a child and their family’s ability to cope with health care experiences.

Developed by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) specifically for child life specialists and those affiliated with child life, Upedia gives professionals the opportunity to spend less time developing and researching effective programs, resources and promising interventions, and more time directly serving the children, youth and families they work with. This unique platform breaks down resource silos to build a virtual community of professionals, supporting them in their commitment to the psychosocial development of children, and aiding them in their work to help children and their families cope with the challenges of hospitalization and illness.

Upedia’s registered members include child life specialists and individuals from related professions from over 200 organizations throughout North America and globally. Upedia’s library of resources began with the submission of content contributions from some of Canada’s leading pediatric institutions, including The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, IWK Health Centre in Halifax, BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. These pioneering content contributors had a desire to engage in knowledge-exchange and saw Upedia’s vision of removing the barriers to information-sharing within the child life community in order to better serve children and families. Upedia prides itself on its relevancy and ensuring the most current and validated resources, research, clinical tools and interventions are available to help support it’s users and advance the practice of child life.

Karl. E. Stensson, CEO & President at Sheridan Nurseries said, “As one of the few family-owned businesses still operating in Canada after 100+ years, we believe one of the keys to our success has been our belief in the importance of supporting those in our community and more specifically, children. The ability to do so is a result of the passion, commitment and dedication by our entire team to achieve our charitable goals in all areas of our business.” Stensson added, “Kids Health Links Foundation is a child-focused charitable organization with a very low administration fee which ensures the maximum amount of our donation dollars goes directly to supporting the children. We are very proud to support Upedia, an important and valuable online resource for child care professionals, and an extension of the KHLF initiatives.”

“It’s because of the heart and vision of companies like Sheridan Nurseries that programs like Upedia have a chance to fulfill their potential and make their greatest impact,” said Kids’ Health Links Foundation Chairman and Co-founder, Basile Papaevangelou. “As a major supporter of KHLF over the last five years, Sheridan’s presenting sponsorship of Upedia solidifies our important partnership and demonstrates the company’s deep rooted commitment to supporting the well-being of children in the communities in which they serve.”

Sheridan Nurseries’ partnership will help expand the Upedia Webinar Series, which was created in 2012 in response to an expressed need by child life specialists for more accessible and practice-specific professional development opportunities. In the recent past, Upedia webinars have included critical topics such as, “Pediatric Palliative Care”, “Supporting Children with Autism in a Health Care Setting”, and “Child Development and Chronic Illness.” Sheridan Nurseries’ sponsorship dollars will also help Upedia continue to grow its online collection of over 1600 practical tools, promising interventions and valuable resources developed by child life specialists in hospitals and other health care organizations across Canada.

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About Upedia
Upedia is a national knowledge-exchange initiative and dynamic online community for child life specialists and those affiliated with the child life profession. With ongoing content contributions from pediatric care centres across Canada, child life professionals can access resources, connect and share practical tools, knowledge, and participate in online training to help them best support and enhance a child’s ability to cope with health care experiences. It is an initiative launched and supported by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF). For more information, visit www.upedia.ca.

About Kids’ Health Links Foundation
Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. For more information about Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit www.kidshealthlinks.org.

About Sheridan Nurseries
Sheridan Nurseries has been a grower and purveyor of quality plant material for the landscape industry and gardening public since 1913. With a proud heritage and legacy for innovation, Sheridan Nurseries has grown to be one of Canada’s largest growers of hardy nursery plants and has eight Garden Centres in the Greater Toronto Area. Growing over 1200 cultivars of perennials and hardy nursery stock on 350 hectares in Halton Hills, Ontario, Sheridan Nurseries ships 1.8 million plants annually to markets across North Eastern North America. For more information, visit www.sheridannurseries.com.

 

For more information, please contact:

Upedia, Jessica Miller-Poesch, 780-680-9418, jessica@kidshealthlinks.org

Kids’ Health Links Foundation, Basile Papaevangelou, 647-880-3037, basile@kidshealthlinks.org

Sheridan Nurseries, Valerie Stensson, 416-798-7970, vstensson@sheridannurseries.com 

KHLF 2017 Year-in-Review

Here is just some of what we achieved in 2017!

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  • We reached 27 hospitals and organizations in Canada offering Upopolis to their youth. The new hub and spoke model we developed allows community hospitals, organizations and camps to partner with us too.
  • 24 crew spaces are available for youth to join on Upopolis. What is a crew space? These are diagnosis specific spaces, where youth can meet others with their diagnosis and find information and links especially for them.
  • The Upopolis team expanded. Now we have four certified child life specialists with over 50 combined years’ experience- that is an amazing team for our partner hospitals and their youth to have access to.
  • Upopolis underwent a visual refresh. Yes, the platform now has a new look with five new themes for users to select. The new themes and features were an action item identified by the youth.
  • Upopolis youth established their own Youth Advisory Council. Having youth from across the country (and maybe further) working on the same projects- so much potential and expertise!!!!
  • We had more youth then ever join the Upopolis Volunteer & Leadership Program. Currently, we have 14 users across the country active on Upopolis as Upals and Umentors. Not only are they gaining volunteer hours, but their leadership and mentor skills are growing too!
  • The team hosted an exhibit at the Association of Child Life Professionals Annual Meeting. The team went out to meet with child life professionals outside of Canada to gage their interest in offering Upopolis to their patients. The team also hosted exhibits at the Florida Association of Child Life Professionals Conference and the Paediatric Diabetes Network Professional Development in Toronto, Ontario.
  • Each month the team sends 600+ users and health care professional a Upopolis programming newsletter, called Unews. This newsletter helps to keep front line staff at the hospital up to date on what’s happening on Upopolis, perfect for answering youth’s questions or building their knowledge for when inviting youth to create a Upopolis account. It’s a perfect way to help with youth engagement too!
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  • The Upedia Webinar Series brought in experts in pediatric palliative care, legacy building, mindfulness, research on the importance of online support groups and child advocacy.
  • Webinar attendance averaged 200 plus per webinar with attendees from all over the world.
  • A new certificate program for webinar participants was implemented that streamlines the certificate process for not only the users but Upedia as well.
  • Upedia hosted booth at the Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP) conference in Las Vegas. The response was overwhelmingly positive. As a result we were featured as an amazing resource by the ACLP blog, and in their newsletter that reaches over 5000 Child Life Specialists!
  • Upedia reached over 1000 registered users and growing more every day!
  • Twitter followers increased by 180%!
  • We sent out a quarterly newsletter and monthly update to highlight new resources and happenings with Upedia to over 1200 recipients.
  • Upedia increased its database of resources by adding over 100 clinical resources and tools from various psychosocial domains. We also added a discussion board to highlight practical tools that Child Life Specialists can you use daily.

 

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  • We partnered with Raymond James as Umind's Presenting Sponsor
  • Further developed our partnership with Mohawk College; increased our student/faculty/alumni registration base, engaged professors in delivering webinars, and presented to staff and faculty in a number of programs within Community Services Department
  • Significantly grew the Umind membership base - with an increase of 54% over 2016
  • Significantly grew the Umind twitter follower base – with an increase of 63% over 2016
  • Completed 5 Umind webinars and increased overall attendance (up 49%) and satisfaction of attendees over 2016
  • Focused on ‘hot topic’ areas when building the online resource library (We added 301 new resources in 2017!)
  • Held initial conversations with the Dean of Social Services at Conestoga College to discuss how Umind can be used by the college which will continue in 2018

Umind Goals for 2018:

  • Increase membership by 80%
  • Continue to build our important partnership with Mohawk College; presenting to all Community Services faculty, and engaging at a student level to increase awareness of the platform and the number of those using and benefitting from Umind.
  • Continue to expand the Umind resource library – based on topics of interest brought forth by registered members and trends in the child and youth mental health realm

 

Upedia launches newly redesigned website October 20th!

Based on feedback from Upedia members and with website design inspiration provided by RhythmQ , Upedia 2.0 offers a new world of resources for child life professionals across Canada and around the globe.  Here are a few ways Upedia 2.0 helps child life professionals connect, collaborate and access resources valuable for their professional development and that of their organizations:

Mobile Friendly: Enjoy exploring Upedia from your computer or any mobile device with our new dynamic, responsive design.

At-a-Glance Access:  From the Upedia home page, register for webinars, visit the Resource Library, connect, collaborate and more!

One-Click Resource Access: Find hundreds of child life professional resources lightening fast with the simple A-Z resource listing by topic or with keyword search.

Sharing Made Simple: Do you have a resource you’d like to share with other child life professionals? The new contribute function will make it super easy for you to  add your resources to Upedia’s growing library.

NEW Discussion Board:  Newly added, the Collaborate discussion board makes it easy for you to join conversations targeting today’s most important child life topics.

Live Learning: You’ll be able to earn Certificates of Participation listing professional development hours, when you attend Upedia’s real-time webinar events, presented by child life leaders on topics important to the child life community. 

Webinar Recordings:  Search the webinar archives to quickly locate recordings & handouts of previous Upedia online events.

Member Directory: Looking for someone from a specific organization?  Wish to connect with others in your area? Our searchable member directory can help.

NEW Interactive Contributor Map: A detailed map provides details on organizations that have contributed their resources to the Upedia Resource Library. 

It’s still FREE! With all of these improvements, Upedia remains a free online resource packed with valuable opportunities for professional growth for you and your organization.

KHLF opens applications for research project

KHLF is currently accepting applications from organizations who are interested in undertaking a research project to investigate online social networking among chronically ill youth.  With the significant rise in children and youth’s accessibility to wireless phones, text messaging, and online activities, there is also a growing rise in the use of social networking sites among children and youth.

The primary objective of this research grant is to increase the literature base examining the use of online support networks by chronically ill youth aged 10-18 years of age. Up to $40,000 in grant funding for research activities that take place over a 1 year (12 month) period is available. Organizations interested in applying can click here to access the KHLF 2015 Research Grant RFP and the KHLF Research Grant Application Form. If you have any questions, please email KHLF Program Director April Ganong at april@kidshealthlinks.org.

KHLF Welcomes Mary Jo Haddad to Its Board of Directors

 A VERY WARM WELCOME TO MARY JO HADDAD (Toronto, Ontario) The Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF), an Ontario-based charitable organization, announces the election of Mary Jo Haddad to its board of directors. KHLF is dedicated to using technology to develop initiatives targeting the physical and mental health of children and youth.

President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto until her retirement in December 2013, Haddad has made numerous contributions to children's health in Ontario and internationally. She brings her extensive experience in the healthcare field to build and expand upon the Foundation’s initiatives, devoted to furthering the health and well-being of paediatric patients and those who support them.

“Words are inadequate to express how honoured we are to welcome Mary Jo as a board member,” says KHLF Founder and Chairman, Basile Papaevangelou. “Her addition to the KHLF Board of Directors reflects KHLF's unrelenting commitment to finding the most innovative and very best leaders to guide our efforts to support the physical and mental health of children and youth."

An honours graduate of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Windsor, Ms. Haddad earned her master’s degree in Health Science from the University of Toronto. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Business, and she is a mentor for aspiring leaders from the Women's Executive Network and The Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young Leaders.

In 2013, she received the Contribution to Child Health Award of the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres and the Grace Evelyn Simpson Reeves Award for Excellence in Career Achievement, The Hospital for Sick Children. In 2012, she received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010.

 

About the Kids’ Health Links Foundation

The Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) is a grassroots charity co-founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina in 2007. It was inspired by Christina’s near death as a result of a massive blood infection known as Toxic Shock Syndrome in 2002; and by the passing of her good friend Katy, in 2004 following a brave battle with cancer. Through these experiences, it became obvious to Basile and Christina that the isolation and lack of connection felt by both Christina and Katy during their hospitalizations were typical for hospitalized kids across Canada. KHLF was created to answer this need. The mission of the Foundation to use technology to help alleviate the stress and isolation of paediatric patients drives its initiatives. Today, these include

UPOPOLIS: The only private, secure and trusted social network for hospitalized kids and teens in Canada. It is offered, supported, hosted and updated at no cost to the institution or user. UPOPOLIS was recognized in November 2012 by the Canadian Health Informatics Association (CHIA). TELUS our partner was recognized for the CHIA Corporate Citizenship Award for their support of our innovation. UPOPOLIS can be found at eight (8) children’s hospitals and one kid’s mental health center across Canada.; Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health Centre, Kitchener, ON; McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, ON; The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, ON; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON; IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS; BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC; Ste-Justine University Hospital Centre, Montréal, QC; Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa, ON: Children’s Hospital, London, ON. This year, UPOPOLIS will be implemented at Emily’s Children and Youth Hospice, Toronto and at 3 centres in Newfoundland and Labrador: Eastern Health Center for Youth Mental Health and Addictions, Paradise; Central Health Center for Youth Mental Health and Addictions Grand Falls-Windsor; and Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. Johns.

WWW.UMIND.ca: An online community hosting a national community of practice; facilitating educational and mentoring opportunities within the network of children’s mental health treatment providers.

WWW.UPEDIA.ca: This peer-reviewed library holds child life resources and policies that have been generously contributed by children’s hospitals and pediatric centers. Contributions continue.

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