A sweet treat with an important message

Nancy MacPhee
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Boys and Girls Club selling Cookie-O-Grams as Bell Let's Talk Day

SUMMERSIDE — The aroma of freshly baked sugar cookies wafted through the air at the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside for much of the day Monday.

Angee Arsenault, youth program co-ordinator at the Summerside Boys and Girls Club, and Crystal MacEwen were busy baking cookies all day Monday in preparation for Bell Let’s Day Talk on Tuesday. The cookies are being sold for $1 each until 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Each cookie, which will have a uplifting message written on it in icing, will be given to a club member and the proceeds donated to help with mental health programming.

Trays of the sweet treats covered tables, lying in wait to be frosted with inspirational and uplifting messages as staff mixed up another batch for the oven.

The cookies, which were expected to total 500 by the time the baking was done, are part of the club’s celebration of Bell Let’s Talk Day, which takes place Tuesday.

“We wanted to join in on the big day and join the conversation,” said Matt Pauptit, children’s program co-ordinator at the club. 

The purpose of the day is to shine spotlight on mental health issues by opening up a conversation, eliminating the stigma often associated with mental illness.

On Tuesday, for each text message or long-distance phone call made by its customers and for each tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or share of the Let’s Talk Facebook page, Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives.

Raising money and promoting positive messages is also what’s behind each cookie.

The club is selling Cookie-O-Grams for $1 each. Each cookie sold, complete with its frosted message, will be given to a club member during a special reception at the Notre Dame Street facility after school on Tuesday.

“What we’ve been doing is collecting money from parents or anyone who wants to come through the door to go towards these Cookie-O-Grams,” explained Pauptit. “All the money we raise with these Cookie-O-Grams is going to be presented to the Bell representatives.”

The club is also hosting a presentation aimed at engaging its members, who range in age from five to 12, in a conversation about mental health.

A guest speaker from Health P.E.I. is scheduled to give an age-appropriate talk on mental health at 4 p.m. Following that, gifts to be used by the club’s members, will be unveiled and the children will receive their cookie with its special message.

“Some don’t even know what mental illness is and how common it is,” said Pauptit.

Clara Hughes, who won multiple Olympic medals in both speed skating and cycling and who has openly talked about her battle with mental illness, is scheduled to visit the club in April to give a presentation on mental health to its members.

The stop will be part of what dubbed Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let's Talk – a 12,000-kilometre trek beginning March 14 across the country. The 110-day trek features 96 community stops, including Summerside.

“They contacted us to stop in here during her tour,” said Pauptit, who added that Hughes will be at the club on April 11.

To purchase a Cookie-O-Gram for a club member, contact the club at 436 -9403 or drop by the club’s main office with payment before 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

For more information on the club and its activities, visit ssidebgclub.com.



Organizations: Boys and Girls Club

Geographic location: Notre Dame Street, Summerside

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