We at Jack.org humbly and respectfully recognize the Indigenous territory upon Turtle Island — specifically, the traditional, unceded, and treaty lands of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people that constitute “Canada” — on which our staff, supporters, and growing network of youth live and work. Our headquarters in Toronto is located on the Indigenous territory of the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the Credit, which is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty. We recognize the privilege we have to live and work on these and other lands from coast to coast to coast and are committed to doing our part to honour, respect, and care for them.
As an organization dedicated to a future in which every young person is comfortable talking about and taking care of their mental health, and gets the support they deserve, we aspire to show appreciation, respect, and concern for all peoples on this land, while recognizing the unique impacts of colonialism, systemic racism, and intergenerational trauma on the mental health of Indigenous youth.
We are committed to reconciliation, to actively working towards Indigenizing our practices, and to partnering with Indigenous people and organizations that are active in the youth mental health space in order to do so. Through ongoing efforts to engage and support Indigenous youth through culturally relevant programming, we endeavour to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, such as: aiding in closing gaps in the mental health care system (#19); and actively reflecting on recognizing, respecting, and addressing the distinct differences in needs for Indigenous people when it comes to mental health access (#20).
A message from
Dear friends and supporters of Jack.org,
When we lost our dear son Jack to suicide in 2010, many lives were changed forever — my own, my wife and co- founder Sandra Hanington’s, Jack’s siblings Ben and Julia, and the family and close friends who surrounded and supported us. It was a devastating time for us all, but our tragic loss also inspired us to do something for youth mental health.
Looking back to that time, I am astounded at the level of progress we have made together over the last 12 years. Iam incredibly grateful to the more than 3,000 young people in our youth network who make necessary change in their communities year round, our full-time staff of over 80 who support the youth network’s education and advocacy work, and our amazing community of supporters who are the reason that the work that we do every day is even possible.
With this incredible foundation in place at Jack.org, I felt it was the appropriate time to begin my transition to a Founder role and have the Board start the process of appointing a President & CEO to take over the organizational leadership and execution of our mission. The approach to this transition was carefully considered by our wonderful Board and followed the best evidence from leadership transitions in other Founder-led charities. Most importantly, it was clearly focused on what’s best for Jack.org and our mission. Furthermore, best evidence indicates that the Founder should not “disappear,” but stay involved, and this fits well with my immense personal passion for this important work.
Thanks to the thoughtful approach that our Board of Directors engaged in, I was delighted to welcome Rowena Pinto as Jack.org’s new President & CEO in early August 2022. Having met Rowena many times before and since she started, I know she is a superb choice. Her multifaceted experience in the non-profit sector as well as in health, advocacy, and youth engagement make her an excellent fit for her role at Jack.org. Rowena also understands that underserved and equity-seeking communities are at higher risk of mental health struggle and are often less supported when it comes to resources and services. This is another important aspect of our work.
There have been so many wonderful moments during my time as Founder & Executive Director, and this year has been an exceptional one. We held our first-ever hybrid National Jack Summit, which brought young leaders from across Canada together after over two years of physical distancing. We launched the Be There Certificate in partnership with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation this March, already prompting over 10,000 people (and counting) to get certified with the skills to recognize signs of struggle, offer practical support to their peers and loved ones, and to improve their own mental health. Our Be There resource crossed 1 million users since it launched in May 2019. And we continued to expand our program offerings to meet the complex needs of the young people who need it most.
My passion for Jack.org and our urgent work remains. I am excited to take on my ambassadorial activities as Founder by contributing to Jack.org’s strategic approach, meeting with major stakeholders, attending events, and supporting Rowena and the Executive Leadership Team in any way I can. I will also join the Board of Directors later in 2023.
I’d like to thank our incredible Board, our staff, our youth network, and every single person who has helped us make a massive impact in the youth mental health sector. I look forward with great optimism to all the achievements that lie ahead.
Sending all my love and gratitude,
A message from
President & CEO, Jack.org
Dear supporters and members of Jack.org,
My appointment comes at an exciting time of growth and change for both our organization and mental health advocacy across Canada. Youth mental health has always been close to my heart, both professionally and personally. As a mom of three, I know the unique pressures that young people face, especially after a long period of isolation and interrupted education. As someone from a community where mental health is not openly spoken about, I am also acutely aware of the need to dismantle stigma and barriers for equity-seeking youth when accessing support.
Throughout my career, I have focused on working with youth to amplify their voices, and I share Jack.org’s dedication to authentic youth engagement. Like many of you, I have seen first-hand the amazing effects of giving young people the platform, resources, and tools to create change. In just 12 years, Jack.org has succeeded in building a network of thousands of young leaders who educate and inspire hundreds of thousands of youth across Canada. Their achievements to date are impactful, and I am honoured to play my part in supporting their work.
Since my arrival, I have received the warmest welcome from every part of the organization. From Jack.org’s Board, Founders, and staff to our Youth Network Advisors and Representatives, I have met incredible leaders and have had inspiring conversations about Jack.org’s next chapter. To every member of this wonderful organization, thank you so much for the warm welcome and I look forward to our work ahead.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington, the Board, the staff, and the inspirational young leaders at the forefront of this movement, Jack.org has built a strong foundation.
At this pivotal time for youth mental health, I cannot wait to work with the entire Jack.org community to build on this foundation, increase our impact, and further elevate our work.
President & CEO, Jack.org
A message from
Dr. Paul Kurdyak
Jack.org Board Chair
Dear friends and supporters of Jack.org,
On behalf of Jack.org’s Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our latest Annual Report and share some of this year’s exceptional highlights with you.
As you may know, Jack.org experienced some big changes in 2022 — changes that illustrate how far this organization has come and how bright its future will be. This year, the Board and I were primarily focused on ensuring a smooth and considered approach to Eric’s transition to a Founder role, in which he will support the organization for years to come.
Of course, this kind of transition can create apprehension for any organization. Knowing this, the Board took a thoughtful approach to this process, which was based on best practices across founder-led charities. After an extremely thorough process and amongst a very impressive pool of candidates, we were delighted and honoured to welcome Rowena Pinto as President & CEO of Jack.org.
In this new role, Rowena is taking over the organizational and operational leadership of Jack.org as Eric Windeler focuses on ambassadorial activities. The Board and Executive Leadership Team are exceedingly confident in Rowena’s many years of experience in the non-profit and health sectors, her expertise in stakeholder engagement and advocacy, as well as her fit for the role.
My fellow Board directors and I also wish to thank Eric for his tireless work as Founder & Executive Director. We are grateful that he will remain involved as our Founder and look forward to working together. I am also pleased to be staying on as Board Chair until September 2023 to ensure this transition continues smoothly and to offer my continued support to the organization.
Since its founding 12 years ago, Jack.org has recognized and understood the power and impact of peer-to-peer programming in youth mental health. During this time, increasing evidence has emerged that supports this approach, which is embedded in Jack.org’s crucial work in empowering young leaders across Canada to educate and inspire their peers.
This year alone, the launch of the Be There Certificate (BTC), the first-ever hybrid National Jack Summit, and the return of in-person and digital Jack Summits and Jack Talks have shown us how important Jack.org’s work is. For one, 98% of learners who completed the BTC feel better able to safely support someone who is struggling with their mental health.
As a senior psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Vice President, Clinical, Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence, at Ontario Health, I cannot emphasize Jack.org's critical role in the youth mental health space enough. Their support and leadership in programming towards increasing knowledge, reducing stigma and shame, and improving help-seeking across the country is greatly needed.
I’m truly thankful for the work of Eric and his wife and co-founder Sandra, our entire team and youth network at Jack.org, and our generous supporters across Canada.
Board Chair, Jack.org
Played a crucial role as part of the Northern Jack Summit and National Jack Summit planning team, led outreach efforts with potential partners in the Yukon, and worked closely with staff to create relationships with partners in the north.
Helped bring Jack Music to life by providing insight and feedback, participated in the annual strategy refresh, developed social media content for Central Jack Summit, and co-presented on the Campus Assessment Tool at the International Association for Youth Mental Health Conference in Copenhagen.
Played a critical role on the Breaking Barriers Summit planning team, shared her/their knowledge through the Youth Voice Report survey and by providing feedback to Jack.org’s Development team, and presented on best practices for engaging young people at the 2022 Experiences Canada Mental Health Webinar.
Presented best practices for youth engagement, including discussion of how Jack.org works with Network Representatives and Advisors and how to reduce harm in youth engagement work, at the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health annual conference.
Played a key role in the planning and execution of the Breaking Barriers Summit, promoted Jack Ride, co-created and co-facilitated a workshop at National Jack Summit, led relationship-building between Jack.org and youth mental health advocates, and helped to gather and share testimonials for the Be There Certificate.
Quebec & Ontario
Highlighted the experience of Francophones at National Jack Summit, played a crucial role in planning Santé mentale au sommet, spoke about the need for mental health supports for Black communities in a video during Black History month, and presented on the Be There Certificate at the International Association for Youth Mental Health Conference in Copenhagen.
Played a key role in the planning and execution of National Jack Summit, worked to create relationships between local partners in Nunavut and Jack.org, and provided insight on how Jack.org’s programs can work to better meet the needs of northern and Indigenous young people.
Irwin (Jay) Legaspi
he/him, she/her, they/them
Co-hosted the Virtual Alberta Mental Health Day event, created video content for the Bell For Better mental health campaign, hosted an Instagram Live with Rare Beauty Sephora celebrating individuality during self-care month, spearheaded our social media efforts at National Jack Summit, and created “Life’s a Drag,” a Queer mental health fundraiser on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia.
Played a critical role on the Atlantic Jack Summit planning team and represented Jack.org as a panelist on how different communities have been affected by the pandemic and what health leaders can do at the Canadian Psoriasis Network Summit.
Led the Rare Beauty Sephora Be There presentation, was a key part of the Breaking Barriers Summit planning team, co-emceed National Jack Summit, and presented on Jack.org’s youth engagement strategy at the International Association for Youth Mental Health Conference in Copenhagen.
Promoted the incredible work of Jack Chapters through the Holiday Appeal letter, provided insight on youth experiences through the Youth Voice Report survey, represented Jack.org at the North American Emerging Leaders workshop, and created a breakout session for this year's International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Conference.
Facilitated Atlantic Jack Summit as an emcee, co-developed and delivered the equity, diversity, and inclusion workshop at National Jack Summit, provided feedback on the Youth Voice Report, took part in a youth mental health roundtable discussion with MP Carolyn Bennett, and raised awareness about the Be There Certificate on Global News and Jack Ride on CTV Calgary.
Provided insight on the role of music in mental health and healing, led conversations about mental health and help-seeking in the South Asian diaspora, provided key insights for long-term strategic plans, and played an essential role at the National Jack Summit as co-emcee of the event.
Youth Network Advisors
Bringing Youth Voices to the Jack.org Boardroom
Over the past year, Youth Network Advisors Sope Owoaje (she/her) and Clayton Murphy (he/him) worked to ensure that youth perspectives stayed at the heart of decision-making at the Jack.org Board level. As former Jack Talks Speakers, Chapter Members, and Network Representatives, they used their experience as advocates to help inform and foster the development of effective programming. They also used insight from the Network Representatives to provide nuanced understandings of the various experiences and stories of young people from across Canada in Board discussions.
Here are some of the things they got up to during their tenure:
Liaised with the Mental Health and Advocacy Board committee to identify gaps in mental health content at Jack.org and potential solutions to fill them.
Created space for increased interaction between the Network Reps and Board Members.
Strategized on how to adapt programmatic offerings to suit the distinct concerns of different regions across the country.
We have immense gratitude for all the work that Sope and Clayton have poured into the Youth Network Advisor position. We look forward to working closely again with Clayton and welcoming Ezechiel Nana to the role of Youth Network Advisor next year.
For the Jack.org network, the last year has been a time of immense transition. As the country began to open up again to in-person events and activities, our programs adapted strategically to ensure that young people benefited from both the connection of in-person activities and the flexibility of digital ones.
To meet the evolving needs of youth at this pivotal time, we shifted our signature programs — Jack Talks, Jack Chapters, Jack Summits, and Be There — to continue to foster and deliver essential peer-to-peer mental health conversation and space for community action. In doing so, we equipped youth to be drivers of change for youth mental health in communities across the country.
We have immense gratitude to our supporters for enabling us to continue to provide young people with the training, resources, and platforms they need to make a difference.
Jack Talks use the power of personal stories and the effectiveness of peer-to-peer education to empower youth mental health advocates to deliver mental health presentations to other young people in their communities.
We continued to deliver Jack Talks virtually through our Livestream and Pre-Recorded Jack Talks, including “How to Be There For Young People,” a Public Educator Talk delivered to an audience of 550 educators and other adult allies. We revamped our Pre-Recorded Jack Talks to include discussion of self-stigma, strategies for self-care, techniques for managing one's emotions, and a new model exploring the social determinants of health, while also filming in a professional studio to ensure the highest quality of digital content was produced.
We also expanded the Jack Talks' lesson plan with additional engagement activities youth audiences can use post-Talk. This included building our existing post-Talk discussion guide into a more interactive program that facilitates meaningful and ongoing mental health conversations.
What we did
Jack Talks were delivered to
young people across Canada by
Jack Talks speakers.
What Jack Talks audiences had to say
“I thought the presentation was really valuable [...] It motivated me to take action and to be more aware of the people around me [...] I think the talk will be really useful in the future and that I can trust myself more when it comes to seeking help for the people around me.”
— High School Jack Talks audience member
Supporting Innovation in Youth Mental Health
This year, Hydro One teamed up with us to host a free, public Jack Talk, ‘How to Be There for Young People,’ for educators and adults. A remarkable 550 people signed up for the virtual event. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Youth are struggling, but we’re all struggling with how to be there and support each other, be it at school, at work, or at home. Through collaborative partnerships like this one we were able to connect people with young people in their lives. The success of the event was felt through the positive response we received during and after the event and the number of Jack Talks educators booked with us immediately following the event.
How to be there for Young People
We have immense gratitude to Hydro One, our Lead Ontario Talks Partner, for their commitment to getting mental health resources into the hands of people across Ontario and for making this innovative Talk possible.
Here’s what people had to say:
"As a middle school teacher, I know firsthand the impact mental health struggles have on young people, and I am always looking for resources to help. I appreciated so many things about the live-streamed Jack Talk: its virtual format made it easy to attend the workshop and it provided enough information without being overwhelming. I loved how the facilitators clearly outline how to identify the signs of struggle in young people and access appropriate support and how Hannah's powerful personal story emphasized the importance of creating a culture where taking care of one's mental health is celebrated. I was so impressed by the professional quality of the Jack Talk that I booked a virtual talk for my students, which they loved."
- Jessica Leney, Educator, Avon Maitland District School Board
This past year, Jack Chapters demonstrated incredible resolve during a time of transition and uncertainty. Across the country, Chapter members found novel ways to raise awareness, reduce stigma, encourage help-seeking, and build new structures of support in their schools and communities. This includes stepping up to the challenge of organizing hybrid mental health events in the face of two years of screen fatigue, and continuing to share resources and information at a time when digital education was especially necessary.
Chapter leaders and other Jack.org network members set about illuminating the state of youth mental health services on campus by completing the Campus Assessment Tool. They also lent their ideas and expertise to a youth advisory panel that led to the Canadian government’s first-ever State of Youth Report (SOYR), which aimed to capture both the scope of the youth mental health emergency and also the incredible ideas that young people have to address its complex challenges. And we were thrilled to work with the Indigneous youth-led “Talk Overdose” Chapter, which applied for and received a grant from the city of Ottawa. We look forward to seeing their initiatives take shape in our next fiscal year!
What we did
active Jack Chapters made up of
young leaders led an estimated
mental health initiatives that reached
youth across the country
What Jack Chapter members had to say
“I find that developing a tight-knit community with every individual I met thanks to this program has given me so much, and allowed me to advocate in a way I could never initially imagine.”
—Samarah, Chapter Lead at St Joseph Secondary School, 2020–21
Major Donor Spotlight:
Chapter Work that Inspires
In 2021, we received our largest individual donation of $186,000 of unrestricted funding at a critical time for youth mental health. We’re grateful that the power of our peer-to-peer model inspires people to take action by making gifts like this. Here’s what our incredible anonymous donor had to say about why they chose Jack.org:
“Many years ago now, one of my students lost her brother to suicide. As a teacher and guidance counsellor, I witnessed the profound and widespread impact this tragedy had on my community. Always looking for ways to support our students, our school embraced a youth mental health initiative that would become Jack.org.
There is no better way to destigmatize mental health struggle amongst young people than by having other youth share their experiences and let them know it’s okay to talk about struggle and to seek professional help when they need it. Jack.org made that conversation possible at my school.
After that, I began to make small annual contributions to Jack Ride. Last fall, I was in a position where I could do more and made a gift of stock to support Jack.org with the resources it needs to continue its important work. It’s so rewarding to make charitable donations when the cause is something that resonates deeply. For me, there was no more worthy recipient than Jack.org.”
— Anonymous Jack.org Major Donor
What Jack Chapters Are Saying Online
Campus Assessment Tool
The Campus Assessment Tool (CAT) is a youth-led participatory research project created to support the advocacy work of student-run Jack Chapters. Through a combination of tools that measure mental health services and utilization outcomes, the CAT evaluates how post-secondary institutions work to serve, protect, and promote student mental health. Students are involved in each step of the research process, which allows them to highlight strengths and gaps of their campus’ mental health systems.
The CAT’s true value is in its ability to empower students by providing them with data that allows them to meaningfully participate as decision-makers in their campus mental health system, specifically in relation to service evaluation and quality improvement of mental health services, policies, practices, and solutions.
Ten Jack Chapters completed the CAT tool that made the 2021 CAT Report possible: Trent University, University of Toronto St. George Campus (UTSG), Bishop’s University, Camosun College, University of Guelph, University of Windsor, University of New Brunswick St. John Campus (UNBSJ), Dalhousie University Truro Campus, Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and Lakehead University.
Post-secondary students continue to struggle with academic stress, financial stress, and within the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic.
All ten campuses provide some degree of general support services for students from equity-seeking groups, while a slight majority provide mental health-specific resources.
Wait times remain a persistent concern for students on these campuses, and it is one of the top three reasons they report discomfort with accessing services. This includes both students who access services and those who do not.
Students who have not accessed services have somewhat negative or uncertain perceptions of how accessible services would be if they needed them and whether services would meet their needs. These perceptions are barriers to them accessing campus services.
There is a large variation between options from campus to campus and this information can often be difficult to find.
Awareness of 1:1 counselling services is higher than other services, such as peer support. A stepped care model can reduce wait times and increase accessibility.
Jack Summits bring young changemakers together at the local, regional, and national levels to receive training, collaborate, empower, and learn from one another. This year, 1,640 young people joined us for these events across the country, where they worked to discuss pressing challenges in their communities as well as long term goals about how the mental health landscape in Canada should continue to evolve. After over two years of engaging young people virtually amidst the challenges of the pandemic, we share young people’s enthusiasm about returning to in person Jack Summits next fiscal year.
“Next 10” — A Hybrid National Jack Summit
To celebrate the 10th National Jack Summit, we asked this year’s delegates to reflect on actions, big and small, that they plan to take to support mental health in the next ten minutes, days, weeks, months, or years. Bringing intentionality to our actions was at the heart of our Summit programming this year, as we rolled out our first hybrid National Jack Summit, which was a resounding success.
It kicked off with a Jack Music event, where delegates were able to come together to connect, celebrate, and dance to artists Wild Black, Á’a:líya, and Amay Laoni both in person and virtually.
The National Jack Summit continued with in-person and virtual keynote addresses and panels, including the compelling “Adult Allies” panel. With years of nationally renowned advocacy work, panellists Senator Kim Pate, Gemma Hickey, and Mumilaaq Qaqqaq spoke to youth delegates about their impactful fight for Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ rights, as well as marginalized, victimized, criminalized, and institutionalized youth.
Adult Allies Panel
Local Jack Summits,
Regional Summits, and
National Jack Summit brought
young people together from across the country.
Talk at the Top
brought youth in British Columbia together
brought youth in the maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador together
brought youth in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Northern Ontario together
Ontario Summit brought youth in Ontario together
Santé mentale au sommet
brought Francophone youth together
What they had to say
"Finding so many intelligent, kind, and passionate young people in one place was so inspiring. And the presentations were thought-provoking in a surprising way. I loved that the two keynotes didn’t only talk about mental health but had a wider view that gave so much perspective."
— National Jack Summit Attendee
After attending the
Next 10 National Jack Summit
of delegates indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.
Regional Summit Spotlight:
Santé Mentale au Sommet
This year, incredible youth from across Canada gathered in person in Montreal for our first ever entirely French regional summit. The event included hearing from fascinating speakers, engaging in workshops that fostered skill-building and connection, and strategizing on how to address the most pressing mental health issues that francophone youth face today.
Topics discussed during the collaboration sessions included lack of culturally appropriate and affordable mental health resources, dealing with the stigma of mental health, and addressing the knowledge gap about mental health in communities.
This year, we expanded the Be There program from BeThere.org and our Be There workshops to include the Be There Certificate (BTC), a digital, self-paced learning experience that uses Be There's Five Golden Rules to give users the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to safely support anyone in their lives who may be struggling with their mental health.
Developed in partnership with Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, the BTC is free, available in French, English, and Spanish, and offers the option to pause the training and return to it at any time.
The BTC utilizes BeThere.org's existing content and learnings, supported by new interactive learning tools that test users' knowledge and provides them with the Be There Certificate upon completion of the program. The BTC compliments traditional peer-to-peer mental health support training and provides easy-to-access and relatable content for young people seeking to expand their support skills.
Be There has been a tremendously important resource during the pandemic for young people looking to support themselves and their peers, as evidenced by the more than one million people who have accessed the resource to date.
What we did
people earned their Be There Certificate, with
unique Be There users since launch in May, 2019
of users report that the BTC improved their ability to recognize if someone is struggling with their mental health
feel comfortable reaching out if they were struggling themselves
of users felt better able to safely support someone who is struggling with their mental health after completing the BTC.
Youth Voice Report
The Youth Voice Report 2021–2022 is a summary of findings from young people in the Jack.org network about the mental health challenges, successes, and needs of young people and their communities. Its intention is to highlight the mental health realities of young people in our network and assist stakeholders in understanding the challenges youth face in achieving optimal mental health and well-being.
The report provides an overview of the current state of youth mental health in Canada and discusses salient issues among the Jack.org network in terms of what causes youth to struggle with their mental health, what prevents young people from accessing mental health care and support, and what strategies and next steps can improve the current situation.
Over the past two years, youth have had to navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic on top of their academics, employment, social lives and various other engagements, all while trying to secure their future in a precarious world. While there is no single root cause of the youth mental health crisis, youth in the Jack.org network have highlighted financial insecurity, academic stress, and the COVID-19 pandemic as key influencers of poor mental health.
We surveyed the network to better understand the major concerns of young people. Here’s what they had to say:
agreed that financial security is a personal mental health stressor
worry about finding a job that will provide financial security
Academic stress can compound when students have to work part-time jobs to afford tuition and mitigate mounting student debt.
of respondents from our network agreed that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental well-being.
are concerned about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on their mental health.
Even while navigating the harsh realities of the pandemic and facing many barriers to accessing high quality mental health care, youth continue to persevere and find new ways to mitigate a mental health crisis that shows no signs of slowing down. With that said, the ability of youth to support themselves and one another does not at all alleviate the need for urgent attention to the crisis of access to formal mental health care. As we transition back to many in-person activities, it is important to gather and understand the perspectives of youth to ensure many of the changes that have positively impacted their lives are retained post-pandemic.
Our supporters are at the heart of everything we do. Because of you, we are able to train and empower young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory. We are so grateful for your continued support throughout this past decade and look forward to all our exciting work to come.
Brainfreeze is an epic polar bear plunge presented by Jack.org and Surf the Greats. This year, we went virtual after the very difficult decision to postpone Brainfreeze in 2020 due to the pandemic. While opting for a virtual format was challenging, gathering together responsibly was our first priority.
This event brought together a passionate community to brave the cold for youth mental health. As always, Brainfreeze was more than just the dip. We hosted virtual yoga classes, meditation challenges, sharing breathing techniques, contests and prizes, and more!
We were able to raise an astonishing $67,624 to help improve youth mental health in Canada. The Brainfreeze team is so grateful for all our participants, donors, and sponsors for helping our young leaders pave the way for greater mental health support and education.
What we did
teams joined us from
of participants took part in Brainfreeze to support youth mental health
of participants said they would attend Brainfreeze 2022
raised to improve youth mental health in Canada
Making a Splash for Youth Mental Health
Brainfreeze is possible because of our partnership with the wonderful people at Surf the Greats. Here’s why they chose to partner up with us to make a difference:
"Brainfreeze is the most meaningful project I have worked on since I started Surf the Greats. I have been living with depression for the last 29 years and I wish there was an organization like Jack.org around when I first got diagnosed. The work Jack.org has been doing to revolutionize youth mental health in Canada is inspiring and we are honoured to have had a positive impact through our continued partnership with Brainfreeze. Year after year, we get more people to commit to jumping in the freezing waters of Canada in the name of youth mental health. The event is one of the most exciting parts of my job, and I know that our employees and communities are just as excited as I am to be making a difference. We look forward to another successful event this year and will continue working to grow the event and to ensure that every Canadian young adult has access to the help they need."
— Antonio Lennert, CEO & Owner of Surf the Greats
After two years of being exclusively virtual, we were thrilled to bring the Jack Ride experience back in person. For over a decade, Jack Ride has built a passionate community of cyclists and donors that has raised millions for Jack.org’s crucial programs across the country. This year was no exception with a sold-out 1,000 person Ride in Caledon, Ontario.
We made sure to keep virtual options available too, since expanding participation beyond Ontario last year proved to be a big success. Once again, to make Jack Ride accessible for more of our community, we encouraged all kinds of participation from running, to hiking, to scootering, or whatever else worked!
All in all, 1276 riders on 100 teams joined us from 158 cities, 8 Canadian provinces, and 5 countries. With our first ever hybrid event this year, we were able to welcome a varied mix of riders to the fold with 38% first-timers, 62% returning, and 175 youth.
We raised over $2M through dedicated participants and generous corporate sponsors coming together to support the Jack.org community and young leaders across Canada.
What we did
“The Jack Ride has been a healing journey for me and a way to stay connected with Bridget’s loved ones by sending out something positive into the world. By participating in the Jack Ride, my teammates and I can continue Bridget’s legacy to love, lead, and inspire people and to create a better world where no one suffers in silence.”
— Barb Brophey, five time Jack Rider & Captain of Team Bridget
“Bank of America has been a proud sponsor of Jack Ride since the first ride back in 2010. As the Yellow Jersey sponsor, we feel tremendous pride for the part we’ve played in growing the event and contributing to solutions to the crisis in youth mental health. From its humble beginnings, Jack Ride is now a first-class event that I look forward to every year. It’s a pleasure to ride with my colleagues through beautiful scenery and see familiar faces and meet new people. Last year, my two daughters joined me on the day to volunteer at the Bank of America rest stop and it was great to be able to share the experience of Jack Ride with them. The yellow jersey, or maillot jaune, is the signature Tour de France colour designated to the race leader, just as Jack.org is leading the way for change and better mental health outcomes for young people in Canada. Everyone who shows up, donates, or sponsors Jack.org is also showing leadership and dedication to a cause that affects us all. See you at Ride in 2023!”
— Gaylen Duncan, Country Operating Officer Bank of America
Institutional funders make the work we do year-round possible. Their steadfast support of Jack.org’s programs over the years have ensured Jack.org is able to continue to grow alongside the ever-expanding youth network and adapt to address their distinct needs. We are grateful for our continued collaboration with these organizations that allows us to have an impact in communities across the country.
Slaight Family Foundation
The support of the Slaight Family Foundation has helped Jack.org grow significantly over our seven-year partnership. Most recently, their championing allowed us to effectively weather the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring young people in Canada received vital mental health tools and education when they needed it most. Gifts from the Slaight Family Foundation provided the resources we needed to successfully pivot to digital-first programming, in line with pandemic restrictions. As part of their $30 million commitment to youth mental health services across Canada, their generosity helped us continue to innovate our core programming to keep it fully up-to-date with evolving youth needs. Jack.org is tremendously proud to work with the Slaight Family Foundation to empower the next generation of young mental health leaders.
RBC Future Launch
RBC Future Launch has been an incredible partner since 2014, when they began supporting our Jack Summit program. Our collaboration has expanded over time, and they are now also a transformational funder of our Jack Talks and Be There programs. Our partnership with RBC Future Launch has been instrumental in helping Jack.org grow into the charity we are today. With their help, we have delivered foundational mental health education to hundreds of thousands of young people, and this year they helped us achieve the milestone of reaching over one million people through our Be There program since its launch in 2019. RBC Future Launch also constantly champions our work in the community, connects us with others who can help amplify our impact, and creates platforms for us to share our work with new communities of young people. We’re so incredibly grateful to RBC Future Launch for their vital and ongoing support.