Wikwemikong celebrates the installation of a water refill station

Contributors and special guests celebrate the installation of a new water bottle refill station at the Wikwemikong Arena. Front row, from left, Ian Bale and David Sharp of Bridging Financial, Healthy Children Facilitator Roxanne Mandamin, Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier, Wikwemikong Youth Facilitator Assistant Brandon Corbiere, Mark Peltier with Noojmowin Teg Health Centre and Brighter Future member Lawrence Enosse,front row, Lesley Andrade of the Sudbury and District Health Unit, Noojmowin Teg Health Centre Healthy Children Children Coordinator Nelson Wood and Healthy Kids Community Challenge Project Manager Sabrina Legault. photos by Robin Burridge

WIKWEMIKONG—Noojmowin Teg Health Centre Healthy Kids Community Challenge, in partnership with the Wikwemikong Health Centre, celebrated the launch of the Water Does Wonders theme, encouraging youth to consume water versus sugar sweetened beverages in Wikwemikong with a special event and the installation of a water refill station at the community’s arena.

The event started with a water song performed by Tabitha Peltier of Wikwemikong.

Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier welcomed everyone who was in attendance and thanked Noojmowin Teg for organizing the event.

“It is important to protect our water and that safe drinking water is available,” said Chief Peltier. “Thank you to Bridging Finance for connecting us with the Canadian Space Agency and providing our youth and community members with the opportunity to learn from astronaut Jeremy Hansen.”

Healthy Kids Community Challenge Project Manager Sabrina Legault welcomed Community Champion for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.

“This is an awesome program, encouraging the health of our people,” said Chief Madahbee. “Our last theme was ‘Run Jump Play,’ promoting physical activity. This theme, ‘Water Does Wonders,’ is so important because water is life—we can’t live without water. We enter the world through birth water and as we go through our lives it is so critical.”

“Our people have high levels of diabetes and heart disease so we need to be careful about what we eat and drink and sugar drinks aren’t good for us,” continued Chief Madahbee. “I commend Noojmowin Teg on their work encouraging our traditional healthy living.”

Throughout the morning there was a bouncy castle, free water bottles handed out, face painting and a presentation from Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

Mr. Hansen spoke about following his dream to become a pilot and eventually an astronaut. He also encouraged youth in the audience to set goals and work towards obtaining them.

He explained how the astronauts drink water in space and use warm water added to dehydrated food to create the meals they eat.

“I carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere,” said Mr. Hansen. “I want to stay healthy and I don’t want to litter the planet with plastic. We all need to work as one to take care of our planet.”

Chief Peltier presented Mr. Hansen with a quill box for visiting the community and speaking. He also presented David Sharp and Ian Bale of Bridging Finance with gifts for funding the visit from Mr. Hansen.

After lunch, the ribbon was cut on the new water bottle station at the arena that was funded by the Noojmowin Teg Healthy Kids Community Challenge and by the Wikwemikong Health Centre, while the sign around the new station was paid for by the  Sudbury & District Health Unit in partnership with Noojmowin Teg.

Other water bottle refill stations are planned for Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng later this month, Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute in October and the Central Manitoulin ball field in October.