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Mental health wellness takes spotlight at Skate Jam

Foothills: Minds Matter Team putting on free event on Sept. 20 in Okotoks
Skate Jam
The Foothills School Division's Minds Matter Team, from left, Cortney Vines, Sheldon Meehan and Paulina Gornicki are putting on the Skate Jam 2019 event on Sept. 20 at the Okotoks Skate Park. (Photo submitted)

A new collaboration will showcase why Minds Matter at a launch event next week.

The Minds Matter Team will be introduced to the community at Skate Jam 2019 on Sept. 20 at the Okotoks Skate Park for a free community event.

New this school year, the Minds Matter Team is a collaboration of the Foothills School Division with Alberta Health Services Mental Health Capacity Building Project.

“This is very new and we’re just launching into the whole Foothills community,” said Paulina Gornicki, program manager of the Minds Matter Team at Foothills School Division. “We are focused on the universal promotion and prevention of mental health and wellness.

“Not only are we working within our schools in the division, but with the community as a whole and this event is a big way to make our name known, since we officially decided on it not too long ago, but also to spread the word, have a little kick-off and bring everybody together.”

The Minds Matter Team is made up Gornicki and wellness coaches Cortney Vines and Sheldon Meehan with a mandate to give people tips, strategies, knowledge and resources that can benefit everyone with a universal approach to the population as a whole to improve their mental health and wellness.

Skate Jam is a chance for the community to rub shoulders with the Minds Matter Team.

“It’s more so about the awareness of how important mental health and wellness is to everybody,” Gornicki said. “And even though we may be creating more of that common language and understanding that everyone does have mental health, it’s important to start conversations around that and to discuss it.

“And to impact and work together as a team to help support one another, that’s bringing in community partners, bringing in their resources and services and as well just creating a positive connection to everyone in the community.”

The event leads right into Teen Night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Okotoks Recreation Centre.

Skate Jam will feature free activities from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., from a barbecue to music, games, a friendly skate and scoot competition for children and youth, a skate demo with community partners on location to showcase the ranges of services available.

“While the competition is going on we’re going to have a community resource fair,” said Vines. “So families and the community can see what our community has to offer.”

For more information on signing up in the skate or scoot competition or the Skate Jam event as a whole contact Gornicki at


Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact
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