Second Design Challenge awarded

Beecuz, a mental health wellness initiative based in Kitchener, is the recipient of the Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge Two

Photo: Beecuz founder, Lena Schreyer

A KITCHENER-BASED MENTAL health wellness initiative has been announced as the recipient of the Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge Two.

Beecuz, a nonprofit organization founded by Lena Schreyer, will receive $20,000 in seed funding, plus a suite of business support services.

TechAlliance, Libro Credit Union and Pillar Nonprofit Network, along with co-presenters Communitech in the Waterloo Region and WEtech Alliance in Windsor-Essex, administered the Recovery & Rebuilding the Region: Design Challenge One and Two in support of putting vital ideas into action in Southwestern Ontario. The two challenges supported innovators in addressing to specific areas: responding to the immediate health and social issues of Covid-19; and revitalizing and rebuilding our communities.

Design Challenge One was awarded to Go Fog It, a London-based disinfectant fogging service.

Established in 2019, Beecuz offers innovative, skill-based workshops and educational curricula to support youth with the tools they need to proactively address and care for their mental health.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since Beecuz was incorporated. So much has happened in such a short time! This is an important and exciting milestone for our organization,” said Lena Schreyer, founder and director of Beecuz. “Now that we’ve won this Design Challenge, we can grow our classroom model to an online platform, increasing accessibility of our services beyond Kitchener-Waterloo and London with the potential to bring mental health programming to all schools across the province.”

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“Once again, we were thrilled with the response to the Design Challenges, this time with a focus on collaborative solutions and rebuilding,” commented Lori Atkinson, regional manager advice and service delivery, Libro Credit Union. “It is impressive that in a short time Beecuz has already reached over 1,500 students in the London area and Waterloo region. With the coaching supports from all of the partners involved, Lena and her team will be able to expand to reach far more youth in other areas of Southwestern Ontario and beyond.”

Promotion of the Design Challenge also sparked interest from a private donor who an additional $5,000 to the program. This was awarded to The Working Centre located in downtown Kitchener.

The Working Centre has been responding to unemployment and poverty in downtown Kitchener since 1982. The Design Challenge funds will be used to support Project 4000, a collaboration between engineers, horticulturalists, and community leaders to apply tech innovations in agriculture to grow 4,000 servings of produce in two shipping containers, create new jobs in the region and create profit to support their community rebuilding efforts.

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