Reasons to smile

Community Featured

This year marks the ninth year for the annual Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award as part of the annual Community Health Board grants. The grants go out to programs in the community that are helping to promote community health and wellness through many different means.

The Ed Bowden Award is named after a strong and dedicated leader in the community wellness world of Pictou County. Each year the award is presented to a project that builds community relationships, shows and helps grow community spirit as well as being innovative with what they are doing. Pictou County’s shining project this year was the Bright Smiles Project, organized by the Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Association to help those with mental illness obtain access to proper dental care.

“Ideally we’d love to see dental as part of our MSI,” said Cecilia McRae about the group’s ultimate hopes for the program. For many that face mental illnesses, low income or unemployment can be a major problem. Not having a smile you feel comfortable with can also be a major hit to the self-esteem of those who already have a difficult time with that part of their lives.

“Dental work is life changing,” McRae said. So far, 52 people have gone through the program with 11 more on the wait list. McRae was thrilled about the award and the exposure it would grant the organization. “It’s wonderful.”

Along with the Ed Bowden award, community health board wellness funds totalling $41,000 were awarded to different projects around the county, funding everything from food programs to book programs and general health programs across the entire county.

Among the recipients of the 2018/19 Wellness Funds are:

Active Pictou County – Active Transportation Framework

deCoste Performing Arts Centre – After School: Learn to Dance

Pictou County Continuous Learning Association (PiCCoLA) – Feeling Good with Yoga

Pictou County Rainbow Community Association – Parent Support Group

RJ Ladies Group – River John Meals on Wheels

Scotsburn Recreation Club – Kids Cooking Table

Town of Pictou – Adventure Daypacks

YMCA of Pictou County – Random Acts of Kindness

Active Pictou County, Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library – Borrow a Free Fun Fit Pass @ the Library

Lismore Community Centre – Introduction to Fitness Class

North Nova Education Centre – Learning Centre Healthy Adventures

Pictou Landing Band Council, Mi’kmaq Language – Language Work Through Relationships

Dream Candy Organization – Dream Candy After School Program

Writing on Fire Society – Speak up! Act out!

Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library – Opening the Book

Riverview Home Volunteer Association – Sit & Dance Exercise Program

Pictou United Church – Contemplative Garden

Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library – Memorable Books


One of the Bright Smiles Project participants showed off a before and after photo of his teeth, which have helped boost his confidence and reduced the pain he was in. (submitted photo)