As the mother of a teenager, Leane Besky feels a strong connection to Michael Garron Hospital’s unique Building Bridges day program and the important work it does in empowering vulnerable youth with mental health challenges to stay in school.
“I see how much stress and anxiety teens have these days,” she says. “It’s hard being a teenager, and it’s even tougher if you have mental health issues. Mental health issues perpetuate more problems, and if kids don’t have access to programs like Building Bridges, they can easily head down the wrong path.”
Building Bridges was created to prevent mental health issues from derailing a young person’s education. This collaboration between Toronto East Health Network and the Toronto Catholic District School Board is one of the only programs of its kind to focus on the needs of youth who have become seriously school avoidant, and even housebound, because of mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. The team consists of a Board-certified teacher, a child and youth counselor, a registered nurse, a social worker and a psychiatrist.
As a local insurance agent with Desjardins Insurance, Leane is honoured to be able to support the Building Bridges program at Michael Garron Hospital through Desjardins’ GoodSpark Community Grants Program. This corporate matching program encourages local insurance agents to nominate organizations that are important to them and their communities, and is providing over $271,000 in grants to 76 community organizations in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Each of the grants includes a donation from a local Desjardins agent.
“The GoodSpark Community Grants aim to ‘spark good’ by giving a helping hand to those who need it most,” says Leane.
She feels strongly that giving back to the community is just the right thing to do.
“Many of us in Canada are very lucky,” she says. “It’s important to recognize that although we are blessed in many ways, there are those in our community who really need help.”
Leane and her family have used the services of Michael Garron Hospital on many occasions. In fact, she says it seems like a family member is here every few weeks for something. And not only is her family closely connected to the hospital, she also finds a connection in what she does for a living.
"As an insurance agent selling auto and life insurance, health plays a big part in what I do every day," says Leane. "Supporting and being involved in my community, particularly as a local business owner, is an important part of who I am, and a big part of what Desjardins stands for. Giving back to programs like Michael Garron Hospital's Building Bridges is just helping the greater good of society."