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Durham Children’s Aid Society

Initiative: 2nd Annual DCAS 5 km Walk/Run

Number of employees: 349

Goal(s) of the Initiative:

Durham Children’s Aid Society (DCAS) focuses on health and wellness as a priority all year round.

The walk/run was a great example of a SMART initiative for the following reasons:

Specific – Through participation in a 5km walk/run, staff were able to set specific personal goals. Some individuals were very motivated by setting time related achievements. Other staff made the conscious choice to move, get outside and enjoy the beautiful day. Other individuals used the opportunity to engage in a little friendly departmental competition. The beauty of this initiative was the flexibility. 

Measurable – Participants were able to measure their success when they crossed the finish line and received a completion package (commit to be fit and purple ribbon medal, entry prize and Child Abuse Prevention Month giveaways). In addition, $300 was raised through entry fees and all proceeds went directly to the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation.

Achievable – Due to the flexibility of setting specific personal goals, staff were able to achieve whatever intention they had set for themselves. 

Relevant – Although the personal goals varied, every individual was supporting October’s Healthy Workplace Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation through their participation. Participants sported purple everything including race bibs in support of our cause. One staff even represented DCAS, and was featured on the news. Personal motivators may have been different; however, each individual was acting as part of a team supporting a larger goal.

Time-bound – The walk/run occurred on October 9, 2013 at noon. All participants were given advance notice of all the details and were therefore able to plan accordingly for the event.

What need was being addressed by this initiative?

Wellness initiatives are primarily coordinated through the Joint Health and Safety Committee. In creating a wellness plan, DCAS starts by assessing the needs of staff. At an annual Wellness Day a survey is handed out to staff. Using the results from the survey, various resources and feedback from staff, an annual action plan is created.

The annual action plan covers health promotion strategies including; awareness raising, education and skill building, environmental supports and policy development. DCAS focuses on a variety of wellness topics, and is a recipient of the 2011 and 2012 Region of Durham’s Healthy Workplace Award of Excellence at the Gold Level in recognition of achievement in the areas of physical activity, healthy eating, cancer screening and tobacco free living.

Many initiatives were planned for October’s Healthy Workplace Month 2013. The ultimate goal was to continue to roll-out a variety of health and wellness related initiatives in a comprehensive manner, considering staff needs and interests and therefore encouraging participation.

The 2nd Annual Walk/Run was another great opportunity to continue the DCAS commitment to health and wellness while supporting October’s Healthy Workplace Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation to all staff.

How was the initiative implemented:

Attain qualitative and quantitative data from your teammates.

Ask staff what there perspectives are in regard to health and wellness initiatives you offer and as well as what they are interested in. 

Support these comments with statistics, analyze and identify gaps then create an action plan. 

Involve, engage and collaborate with as many individuals from your organization as possible. Everyone‘s contribution only leads to successful outcomes.

Utilize comprehensive strategies to roll-out initiatives.

How was the initiative evaluated:

Evaluation of all DCAS wellness initiatives are based on participation and feedback from staff.

As mentioned previously, DCAS focuses on wellness as a priority all year round. Wellness initiatives will carry on in to November, with a lunch and learn focusing on mental health and resiliency in the workplace, vicarious trauma training, massages and a guided meditation exercise in releasing tension and relaxation


Positive feedback was received from all participants. The event has become a tradition at DCAS and participation went up by 73% this year. There were quite a few intrigued spectators both internally and externally as well. We are certain the event will only become larger each year.

What is the approximate cost per participant:


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