In September 2013, OCAD University in Toronto will launch an Aboriginal Visual Culture program, the latest in a series of initiatives designed to expand the university's inclusion of First Nations cultural and artistic heritage. This interdisciplinary bachelor of fine arts degree program will combine studio courses and classes in First Nations history and heritage.
Also new for September is the university's Augmented First Year Program for Aboriginal Students. This partnership between OCAD and Laurentian University in Sudbury will allow Aboriginal students from communities in Northern Ontario to take their first year of an OCAD degree in Sudbury at the Laurentian campus.
A program from the Hearing Foundation of Canada is helping to educate students about hearing loss. Sound Sense: Save Your Hearing for the Music teaches safe listening to students in grade 6 in order to reduce the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss, a condition that is both permanent and 100 percent preventable, for the future. In a February news release, the Hearing Foundation cited statistics from a recent survey conducted by the American Medical Association showing that as many as one in five teenagers report some level of hearing loss, a figure that has increased 30 percent over the past decade.
Sound Sense was piloted in 12 Ontario schools between 2002 and 2004 and is currently being run in classrooms across the country. It includes information on hearing health for the entire family.
In April, Kids Help Phone released results from two studies confirming the value of its professional counselling services for children and youth. Kids Help Phone president Sharon Wood joined the noted author and clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Ungar at a breakfast presentation to discuss a number of key points, including the impact of social media in accessing help and the non-profit organization's success from a national perspective.
Kids Help Phone offers free confidential and individual counselling services by phone or online, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, to young people up to age 20. To access these services, phone 1-800-668-6868 or Twitter @KidsHelpPhone.