The Pawsitivity bear is the final edition of the Teddy for a Toonie created by ATB Financial. This month when visitors bought a teddy bear from ATB they took part in Teddy for a Toonie, and they helped raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation. People who donated or bought a cuddly teddy bear from ATB Financial helped to support youth mental health initiatives at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Brianna McKinnon a Personal Banking Specialist with ATB Financial in Strathmore explained how the campaign went.

“It actually went a lot better than previous years,” she said.

“Mental health has been something that's really being noticed more nowadays,” Mckinnon explained that ATB has been supporting the Mental Health Foundation for the last few years to help raise awareness.

She explained that this year ATB partnered with to create a space for families to get information about supports for youth mental health initiatives.

According to ATB Financial, only 1 in 4 young people with a mental health concern get the help they need—simply because of barriers to access.

“It's a program that was just brought to Alberta, and it's a mental health digital website for youth."

“People don't know where to bring their kids. They don't know what kind of support they have so we partnered with them this year to try and bring awareness to this new program,” said McKinnon. She explained that services can be accessed in person, on the phone, or through chat.

“There’s addictions support, help with mental health-related reasons, depression, anxiety, whatever it may be as well as many other great support systems in there. It's like a one-stop-shop for parents to go in and try and help children the best way they can without having doors shut in their face and trying to find a million different people to talk to.”

This year was the final year for Teddy for a Toonie.

For every $1 that was donated ATB donated $1.20 to support youth mental health programs. Since 2000, ATB has raised $10.7 million.

McKinnon says the team at ATB looks forward to the campaign, and last year the kids at Children’s Hospital actually created the bears.

She says now that the fundraiser is complete the final totals will be submitted by December 3 with 100 per cent of the donations going to the Mental Health Foundation at the Alberta Children Hospital and to the Stollery Children Hospital.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they were still able to proceed with a silent auction this year.

“We had approximately 20 to 30 businesses all come in and do donations towards the silent auction, which was amazing. We had lots of support from all of them. We raised about $1,900 just off of the auction alone. Our current totals right now is about $4,600,” said McKinnon.

Any remaining bears from the Teddy for a Toonie campaign in Strathmore were donated to the Strathmore Christmas Hamper.