The Umbrella Project Awards

CELEBRATING OUR UMBRELLA SKILLS TOGETHER

Throughout our lives, we will all be met with challenges and setbacks. It is important that we prepare for these inevitable days by learning how to improve our positive coping skills.

The Umbrella Project Awards recognize and celebrate students and educators who show us how to choose well-being by actively strengthening their coping skills and bravely taking on challenges we all face.

Our 2022 Awards are now closed. You can watch the replay of the ceremony now. Thank you to all applicants, nominees and those who took the time to share so many stories of positive coping!

The Awards

This year, in partnership with Ontario Mutuals we are giving away almost $40,000 in cash and prizes to 9 recipients across Canada who have experienced challenges in their lives and are choosing to strengthen their coping skills.

You can apply yourself for any of these awards, or you can nominate a friend, peer or family member.

The Categories 

In 2022, there are four categories, with two awards being presented in each category. See below for full description and prize details. 

Four Categories

Students (Grade 1-8)

Students must be full-time or part-time at any organized educational institution, currently in Grades 1-8 (public, private, online, homeschool).

PRIZE: Two recipients will receive $1,175 in cash and prizes: 

$500 cash
Well-Being Pop UP for their school ($500 value)
Book Bundle ($100 value)
Umbrella Parenting 101 course ($75 value) 

Students (Grade 9-12)

Students must be full-time or part-time at any organized educational institution, currently in Grades 9-12 (public, private, online, homeschool).

PRIZE: two recipients will receive $1,650 in cash and prizes: 

$1,000 cash
Well-Being Pop UP for their school ($500 value)
Book Bundle ($150 value)

Educators

Educators must be full-time or part-time at any organized educational institution (public, private, online).

PRIZE: two recipients will receive $1,650 in cash and prizes: 

$1,000 cash
Book Bundle ($150 value)
Well-Being Pop UP for their school ($500 value)

School Community

School communities must be publicly or privately funded educational organizations.

We will be awarding one recipient school that currently runs The Umbrella Project curriculum, and one school that does not currently run The Umbrella Project curriculum.

PRIZE: School Community (currently running The Umbrella Project) will receive up to $13,000 in cash and prizes:     

$1,000 cash
Well-Being Pop UP ($500 value)
Umbrella Parenting 101 course for each family (approx $11,000 value)
Educator Professional Development Bundle ($450 value)
Book Bundle ($300) 

PRIZE: School Community (not currently running The Umbrella Project) will receive up to $15,000 in cash and prizes: 

$1,000 cash
Well-Being Pop UP ($500 value)
Umbrella Parenting 101 course for each family (approx $11,000 value)
Educator Professional Development Bundle ($450 value)
Book Bundle ($300)

BONUS: 2 years of our Well-Being Curriculum (2,000 value)

The Umbrella Project Awards were made possible in large part due to the generous sponsorship of The Ontario Mutual Insurance Company.

“We are constantly amazed by the stories we hear about students, educators and schools using their coping skills to weather the tough days, take on big challenges and help others do the same. We can’t wait to further support our community and celebrate these stories!”

Dr. Jen Forristal, BSc, ND, Founder of The Umbrella Project

Next steps

Want to know what questions you will need to answer before you apply or nominate? Simply download The Umbrella Project Awards Guidelines so you can prepare your application. We are also accepting applications in French, so you will find all of the questions are bilingual.

Are you an educator looking to help your students apply? We have a lesson plan that can be used for any age group as a first step to an application. Simply download it below. (Be sure to to download and save the file on your computer before you start using it.)

Additional sponsorship and in kind donations provided by:

Review Committee:

We are thrilled to have a volunteer review committee in 2022 that will be reviewing all the applications and deciding our recipients in each category. Each of our committee members is passionate about youth, mental health and well-being and has an expertise they bring to this year’s awards. They will be reviewing applications based on specific criteria that can be found in the UP Award Guidelines document above.

Ashley Bearden

Ashley Bearden

Filmaker, dogoodfilms.com

Ashley is a New York based documentary filmmaker focusing on projects that tell stories about culture, community and identity through a nontraditional lens. She has had the opportunity to produce projects for CNN, NBC, Amazon and HBO.

Katrina Burch

Katrina Burch

CMHA Waterloo Wellington

For over 20 years, Katrina Burch has worked in Mental Health and Developmental Services. In her current position she leads a team of professionals who deliver workshops and trainings related to mental health and wellness, suicide prevention. 

Amy Chislett

Amy Chislett

Educator, Newfoundland

Amy is an intermediate secondary trained educator at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay, NL. Her professional learning focuses on Social Emotional Learning, and she recognizes that all teaching and learning needs to happen through a lens of emotional well-being.

Lisa Hunter

Lisa Hunter

Manager Marketing & Communications, Ontario Mutuals

Lisa is a Fine Arts graduate with a post grad certificate in Digital Marketing. She is passionate about creating a fun and cohesive work environment (while keeping up with her two young sons). She is a wellness champion and part of her workplace Wellness Committee, which encourages health and wellness through all avenues.

Paul Mantha

Paul Mantha

Retired Educator, CDSBEO

Paul Mantha retired from the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario in July 2021 after 30 years of dedicated service.  He was blessed to have enjoyed many roles within the Board including, classroom teacher, resource teacher, teacher-librarian, Vice-Principal and Principal.  His final role as System Principal responsible for Religious Education and Equity for the Board allowed for Paul to be part of Board leadership.

Brett McNeil

Brett McNeil

Program Manager, Author, Inclusion Advocate

Brett McNeil is the former Umbrella Project Brand Experience Manager and an active mental health advocate, promoting well-being to all ages.

Sophie Zala Kanza

Sophie Zala Kanza

Refugee activist, Crossroads International, ONE Canada

Sophie Kanza is a fierce refugee actitvist from DRCongo, who lived more than 20 years as an asylum seeker in South Africa. Sophie is now based in Montreal, is the founder of Walé Care Packs, works at Crossroads International (advancing equality for women and girls and eradicating poverty in Africa) and is a consultant at ONE Canada as the lead on the Quebec Youth Ambassadors program. 

Leah Kschesinski

Leah Kschesinski

Manager of Programs - Ripple Effect Education

Leah Kschesinski is the Manager of Programs at The Ripple Effect Education. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in International Development, with minors in Social Development Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo. Leah has experience working with youth innovators and big thinkers, and is an advocate for justice and strong community building.

Tavia Tobey

Tavia Tobey

Marketing & Communications Coordinator,

Tavia is a Psychology & Sociology graduate with a post grad certificate in Public Relations. She is a wellness champion who is passionate about human behaviour and social justice. She is part of her workplace’s Green Team, which promotes sustainability and implements environmentally friendly initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check out our rules and regulations, and other common questions.

What are the rules and regulations?

In order to apply for these awards, or nominate someone else, you must be eligible according to the guidelines below.

  • Must be a legal Canadian resident and fit the eligibility criteria at the time of the contest opening.
  • Applications will be accepted in English and French, and our applications are bilingual.
  • Please download the UP Award Guidelines for all criteria, and to see what questions you will be asked on the application form.
  • All applications and nominations must be submitted by March 28th, 2022, 11:59pm EST in order to be considered. A full nomination includes both the application form and a letter of support (when required).

For full rules and regulations, please read here.

What is The Umbrella Project?

We develop sustainable, research-based tools for schools and families to anticipate life’s challenges and support the proactive development of positive coping skills. We take an inquiry-based approach to mental health and encourage curiosity and interest in order to gain insight into the skills that help us thrive. Building the Umbrella Skills has a deep and profound impact on the children, families and schools we work with and provides them with a growing layer of protection against life’s rainy days. 

Do you have to attend an Umbrella Project school in order to apply?

As long as you are a Canadian student, educator or school community we welcome you to apply yourself or nominate someone else. 

Can you save your application?

We recommend that you download the UP Awards Guideline document, gather the information you need, and answer the questions ahead of time. Once you start filling out the application, you won’t be able to save it and come back later.

Can I apply myself and also nominate someone else?

Absolutely! You can apply for your own award, and be part of nominating a fellow student, an educator or your school community.

How does the review committee make a decision about who receives the awards?

Each year we receive so many incredible stories about overcoming obstacles and building positive coping skills. The review committees find it very challenging to choose the receipients. The key points they are looking for are: the impact and power of the story, how it addresses well-being and coping skills, overcoming challenge, helping others, and the impact the prizing will have on the individual or school.

When will the recipients be announced?

The applications close on March 28th at 11:59pm EST. The review committee will be reviewing all the applications during April, and we will be announcing the recipients at our live ceremony on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022.

Who do we contact with questions or media requests?

If you have questions about the application process, would like to promote the awards, or would like to schedule an interview with Dr. Jen, please email admin@umbrellaproject.co and we will get back to you within 2-3 business days.

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