Ottawa Senators Foundation announces second multi-year investment in project step


Program to focus on educating youth about the dangers of substance abuse; total funds donated to the program reach $1,375,000

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators Foundation announced today a new three-year investment in project step. This announcement marks the second significant multi-year financial contribution the Ottawa Senators Foundation has made in the program. The first was a $1 million dollar gift to launch the program in 2008. The funds will be used to ensure youth in all 57 of Ottawa’s high schools and three community organizations have access to counselling, support, addiction education, and prevention programming.

“Substance abuse is affecting youth across the region. It’s in our schools, neighbourhoods and in some cases, our homes,” said Danielle Robinson, president and CEO of the Ottawa Senators Foundation. “Re-investing in project step will provide support for youth across the region by enhancing existing services, expanding program reach, and most importantly, giving youth the tools needed to make smart decisions.”

This investment will provide:

Continued funding for project step programming, allowing it to continue at its current level of reach:

  • Providing prevention, education and awareness programming to reach youth in Ottawa’s four school boards.
  • Offering addiction counselling services in Ottawa high schools and in non-mainstream community settings.
  • Supporting parents whose children are struggling with substance abuse, through the school system.

Greater support to parents in the community:

  • Enhance the assistance provided to families through community-based programs for parents whose children are struggling with substance abuse, including opioids.
  • Offering parents support through group sessions and one-on-one counselling.

Ability to reach youth earlier with education and prevention by:

  • Continuing to provide youth in high school with critical prevention information.
  • Expanding reach to provide young people in grades 6, 7 and 8 with prevention and education sessions.
  • Developing and delivering an age-appropriate curriculum, in partnership with the school boards.

With support from our partners at United Way Ottawa, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, Ontario Champlain Local Health Integration Network, the Ottawa Network for Education and all four school boards, widespread prevention efforts are making a difference. Since inception, more than 11,760 students have accessed school-based counselling, 75,710 students participated in addictions prevention education activities and over 10,930 parents have received support.

“The Ottawa Senators Foundation has been a loyal supporter of and active contributor to project step for more than 10 years now,” said Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa. “We are so thrilled to begin this new era of work with them, to make sure every young person in Ottawa facing a challenge with addictions or substance abuse gets the help they need, when they need it.”

About project step

Project step is a comprehensive initiative for youth with problematic substance abuse that provides access to addiction prevention and counselling in for youth and their families throughout Ottawa. Project step partners reach youth where they are by ensuring support, training, education and prevention services are available in all Ottawa high schools, as well as in community settings. The goal is for youth in Ottawa to enter adulthood free from problematic substance abuse.

About the Ottawa Senators Foundation

The Ottawa Senators Foundation empowers children and youth to reach their full potential by investing in social recreation and education programs that promote both physical and mental wellness. In partnership with the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, alumni association, corporate partners and fans, more than $105 million has been contributed to thousands of initiatives and charities in the National Capital Region.

Article by Brad Weir