In a resounding display of unity and determination, over 6,500 participants took a significant stride forward for youth mental health on the tenth anniversary of the RBC Race for the Children in Toronto. This monumental event held both virtually and in person, raised an impressive $2.1 million in support of the Family Navigation Project (FNP) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Established in 2013, FNP has been a beacon of hope for thousands of young individuals battling mental illness and addiction, connecting them with the specialized services they urgently require.
A Race with a Purpose
The 2022 RBC Race for the Children marked a momentous occasion as it welcomed participants for an in-person race for the first time since 2019. This milestone allowed supporters to engage in a 5km walk/run at Mel Lastman Square, or virtually from the comfort of their chosen locations.
Celebrating its remarkable 10th anniversary, the RBC Race for the Children in Toronto has witnessed the participation of over 74,000 individuals and has collectively raised more than $20 million to date for Sunnybrook’s Family Navigation Project (FNP).
Navigating a Path to Youth Mental Health
FNP’s inception is rooted in the dedication of Dr. Anthony Levitt, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook, and a group of parents who faced immense challenges while navigating the intricate mental healthcare system in search of assistance for their children.
FNP operates as a lifeline, connecting youth aged 13 to 26 and their families with highly trained professionals. These experts conduct assessments, identify needs, and provide navigation through the complex healthcare and social service network.
A survey conducted by FNP underscores the urgent requirement for youth mental health navigation services. Shockingly, nearly one-third of Ontario households are caring for at least one youth grappling with mental illness and/or addiction.
Supporting Youth Mental Health: A Collective Effort
Dave McKay, President & CEO of RBC, emphasized the significance of accessing the right mental health resources at the right time, recognizing the life-changing impact it has on young individuals and their families. He expressed RBC’s immense pride in celebrating a decade-long partnership with Sunnybrook in support of the Family Navigation Project.
Dr. Anthony Levitt, the driving force behind FNP and the leader of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook, conveyed his deep gratitude to RBC and all the race participants for their generous and unwavering support. He highlighted that without their dedication, thousands of young people would not have received the assistance they needed. The overarching goal remains to continue guiding the youth of Ontario towards the best mental health and addiction care available.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: Pioneering Future Healthcare
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre stands at the forefront of healthcare innovation, caring for over 1.3 million patients annually through the tireless efforts of its 10,000+ staff and volunteers. Renowned for its research, education, and affiliation with the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook excels in high-risk pregnancies, neonatal and adult critical care, specialized rehabilitation, and the treatment and prevention of various medical conditions. Additionally, it boasts a national program dedicated to the care of Canada’s veterans.
RBC: A Commitment to Community Impact
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is a global financial institution committed to delivering top-tier performance with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach. Their success is attributed to a workforce of over 92,000 employees who bring their creativity and insights to life, driving RBC’s vision, values, and strategy. As Canada’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest by market capitalization, RBC maintains a diversified business model focused on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to its 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S., and 27 other nations.
RBC takes immense pride in supporting a wide range of community initiatives through donations, community investments, and employee volunteer activities, showcasing their dedication to making a positive impact on communities worldwide.
The tenth anniversary of the RBC Race for the Children serves as a testament to the power of collective action, demonstrating that when individuals and organizations unite in support of a vital cause, they can effect profound change in the realm of youth mental health.
A Decade of Dedication: Building a Brighter Future for Youth Mental Health
Over the past decade, the RBC Race for the Children has emerged as a symbol of hope and resilience, making substantial strides in improving youth mental health. This annual event has not only raised significant funds but has also fostered a sense of community and purpose that continues to inspire individuals and organizations alike.
The journey of the RBC Race for the Children began in 2013 when a group of parents, alongside Dr. Anthony Levitt, a dedicated psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, embarked on a mission to address the pressing issue of youth mental illness and addiction. They encountered countless challenges while navigating the complex mental healthcare system, prompting them to take matters into their own hands. This determination led to the creation of the Family Navigation Project (FNP), a lifeline for young individuals aged 13 to 26 and their families.
FNP’s mission is clear: to connect youth and their families with clinically trained professionals who can assess their needs and provide guidance through the labyrinth of healthcare and social services. In a world where nearly one-third of Ontario households are caring for a young person grappling with mental illness and/or addiction, the work of FNP is more crucial than ever.
As the RBC Race for the Children celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2022, it did so with the resounding support of over 6,500 participants. This year was particularly special as it marked the return of in-person racing, allowing participants to gather at Mel Lastman Square and collectively take a stand for youth mental health. Additionally, the virtual option allowed individuals from diverse locations to join hands in this noble cause.
The significance of this event goes beyond the numbers. While the $2.1 million raised is undoubtedly an incredible feat, the true impact lies in the stories of resilience, hope, and transformation that have emerged over the years. Families who once struggled to navigate the mental healthcare system have found a guiding light in FNP. Young individuals who face the darkness of mental illness have discovered the support and resources they need to rebuild their lives.
Dave McKay, President & CEO of RBC, aptly emphasized the transformative power of accessing the right mental health resources at the right time. The impact ripples far beyond individual lives, shaping communities and societies. The commitment of Team RBC to supporting the Family Navigation Project underscores their dedication to enabling young people to fulfill their potential even in the face of adversity.
Dr. Anthony Levitt, the visionary behind FNP, expressed his profound gratitude to RBC and all the race participants. His words resonate with the countless lives that have been touched and transformed by this initiative. He acknowledges that without their unwavering support, the thousands of young individuals who have received assistance may still be struggling in silence.
The mission of FNP and the RBC Race for the Children is far from over. It is a commitment to building a brighter future for youth mental health, where access to care is swift, comprehensive, and compassionate. It is a promise to guide the youth of Ontario toward the best possible mental health and addiction care available, ensuring that no young person is left behind.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre stands as a beacon of innovation and excellence in healthcare. With a focus on high-risk pregnancies, critical care for newborns and adults, specialized rehabilitation, and the treatment and prevention of a wide range of medical conditions, Sunnybrook serves over 1.3 million patients annually. Its affiliation with the University of Toronto further solidifies its position as a leader in research and education.
Meanwhile, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) continues to uphold its commitment to community impact and social responsibility. With over 92,000 employees dedicated to delivering top-tier performance, RBC’s influence extends not only across Canada but around the world. Its diversified business model, marked by innovation and exceptional client experiences, sets the stage for transformative change in communities.
The tenth anniversary of the RBC Race for the Children is a testament to the power of collective action. It is a reminder that when individuals and organizations unite in support of a vital cause, they can effect profound change in the realm of youth mental health. As we celebrate a decade of dedication, we also look forward to the future with renewed hope and determination, knowing that together, we can build a brighter tomorrow for young people facing the challenges of mental illness and addiction.