It’s time for another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

Three Grade 9 students and founders of EcoYOLO in Saprae Creek was awarded the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, at the WE Day event. The students planted 1,650 trees in Saprae Creek in the spring, to restore the forest after last year’s wildfire, according to Zarif Alibha of Fort McMurray Today:

Student awarded national volunteer medal

Krish Shah, 13, a Grade 9 student at Ecole McTavish Junior High Public School, was presented with the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, at the WE Day event in Calgary last week.

Shah and more than 200 of his classmates came together to plant 1,650 trees in Saprae Creek in the spring, helping to replenish the boreal forest following May 2016 wildfire.

“In October of last year, when I was coming back from the evacuation, I saw all of these burnt trees around me,” Shah said. “I knew that I had to do something about it, so I decided to better the environment,”

His science teacher, Robynn Moody, secretly nominated Shah, keeping the surprise from him until they arrived at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

“The best word I can use to describe it is exhilarating. I felt a rush of energy come through me, and I was extremely happy, but I was also nervous,” said Shah. Via fortmcmurraytoday.com

.The article goes on to add that Shah intends to plant 3,000 more trees in the spring,

In other news, Santas Anonymous, led by students at Father Patrick Mercredi High School, has started their 2017 campaign. From Jenna Hamilton of My McMurray:

Santas Anonymous kicks off 2017 campaign

Jenn Downey, teacher and campaign supervisor, said the best way to support to the campaign is through monetary donations.

“We are always looking for monetary donations, as it is the best way to purchase the items we need. We struggle a lot with getting teen gifts and we look for gift cards for them to local businesses,” said Downey. “In addition we collect items for babies, toys for children and gifts for senior citizens.”

Last year Santas Anonymous packed just short of a thousand hampers. h/t mymcmurray.com

With the help of Santas Anonymous, families in need have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with their children. Santa’s Anonymous has their Christmas Market on November 19 at Father Merc.

Lastly, a local mental health support program developed by a Fort McMurray physician, Alberta Health Services, and the Mental Health North Zone is is gaining recognition. The program, “Text4Mood”, helps people who struggle with mental health illness by sending supportive messages through text:

Local Mental Health Support Program Recognized by World Health Organization

Agyapong tells Mix News over 11,000 have already used the program.

“For example, a message that may comeback could be to keep on hoping and believing that things will get better, that they generally do get better, so keep going and take it one day at a time.”

The messages are already pre-written by mental health counselors and different patients.

Agyapong adds this is by no means a substitute for meeting with someone face-to-face, one-on-one.

“We’re always quick to stress that this is an add-on service that people can get, so if you’re still having depression symptoms like anxiety, for example, you still need to go talk to your mental health providers or your family doctor and an appropriate referral can be put in place.” Read more at mix1037fm.com

This is another win for mental health care in the region, following increased interest after last year’s wildfire. The next step is to have the Text4Mood program expand to the entire province and help people cope with mental health and addiction.

Credit: Mix News

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.

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