HomeLatest news from Food Allergy Canada – December 2016

Latest news from Food Allergy Canada – December 2016

December 9, 2016

Happy holidays! In this month’s update, learn about our Allergy Pals program from our program coordinator who talks about the impact this program makes on both mentors and the kids, congratulate our recent AllergyAware.ca winners who completed our Anaphylaxis in Child Care Settings course, and read a quick recap of what we were able to accomplish this year.

Thank you for your support this past year

Thank you for being a part of our community and helping us to celebrate another great year. This past year we have been able to drive real change in post-secondary institutions, speak to government and key stakeholders in food service about making dining out a safer experience, launch two new online courses to help educate the community and child care centres on how to manage anaphylaxis, and support teens and youth – the group with the highest risk of a reaction – as they transition to independent living. These initiatives are just a few of the things we have been able to accomplish with your support. Thank you.

Congratulations to our AllergyAware.ca winners

online-child-care-courseCongratulations to our 25 winners from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario who completed the Anaphylaxis in Child Care Settings course and submitted their certificate of completion. They each received the food allergy educational DVD, “Kyle Dine & Friends”.

We also have courses for educators, Anaphylaxis in Schools, and for parents/caregivers, Anaphylaxis in the Community. Check them out today and share the information with others interested in food allergy and anaphylaxis.

Allergy Pals wraps up for 2016: Interview with the program coordinator and looking forward to 2017

Our ever-popular Allergy Pals and Allergy Allies programs wrapped up another successful eight-week session of online mentoring for children and adolescents with food allergies.

55 children were split into eight different groups and led by a trained peer mentor who taught them strategies for managing food allergies through educational games, role playing situations, and discussions. The next sessions will run from January 28-March 18, 2017. Registration will open on January 10 with spaces being filled on a first-come first-serve basis. Click here for more details.

We caught up with Arianne Kirkey, who is the new program coordinator to get her perspective on the program.

Q: What made you interested in becoming the program coordinator for Allergy Pals? 

A: I’ve been involved with Allergy Pals/Allies for three years now as a mentor. I love the program. I’ve always found it rewarding to hear amazing feedback from parents, and especially to watch the kids grow and learn while becoming more confident and vocal about their food allergies. This program is so rewarding and fulfilling, that when the opportunity presented itself to become the program coordinator I was more than happy to step up. This program has given me so much as an adult; I can only hope that I can share my knowledge and understanding with both mentors and mentees to create the best possible program.

Q: How does this program make a difference in the lives of children and adolescents with food allergies?

A: I truly believe this program makes the best possible difference in so many ways: I find the kids become more confident vocally, speaking and informing people of their allergies, they become more comfortable asking tough questions and dealing with tough situations, and most importantly, it lets kids know they are not alone. Most kids (myself included, way back when) don’t know many other people with food allergies. By talking and connecting with six to seven other kids with food allergies on a weekly basis, it helps them understand that there is no reason to feel isolated and alone. Overall, I think it builds confidence, communication and listening skills, which are not only important to living with food allergies but to having a healthy life.

Q: What type of feedback do you receive from parents and kids?

A: The type of feedback I’ve received most from parents is gratitude for helping or for giving our time to talk with their children and help them deal with whatever allergy issues they are facing. It’s so rewarding to hear thanks from both the participants and the parents. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to hear a parent say their child was able to be vocal in situation they previously found scary or intimidating with their food allergy. A simple thank you means so much, and fuels me to continue to produce a program that has amazing benefits.

Q: When will the next session be? Who can sign up?

A: The next sessions will start in January. Any child in Canada with a food allergy between the ages of 7-15 years old can sign up!

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