VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Play Exchange national healthy living challenge announces the top three early entries, which will each receive $1,000 from LIFT Philanthropy Partners, on behalf of challenge partners, to help put their ideas into action.

The winning entries are:

  • Trottibus (Montreal, Quebec): The Quebec Division of the Canadian Cancer Society operates a fun, safe, supervised walking program for elementary students to travel to and from school. The Trottibus currently runs in 45 schools, reaching 15,000 students. The organization has a desire to expand its operations to reach 250 schools over the next three years.
  • COMPASS: Shaping Youth Health (Waterloo, Ontario): COMPASS conducts multi-year research in 90 secondary schools across Canada to evaluate changes in students' health behaviours and outcomes. As part of its efforts, COMPASS proposes a new project to provide seed funding and support to empower the 90 schools to develop and evaluate their own school-specific solutions to address youth obesity, inactivity, poor diet, and substance use.
  • Forest and the Femme Society (Vancouver, British Columbia): This volunteer-driven non-profit organization offers an outdoor recreation program for marginalized women living with developmental disabilities and other barriers, including addiction, poverty and mental health issues. Since 2012, the program has offered 75 outdoor activities involving 20 participants and 32 volunteers, with a focus on enhancing its sustainability and expanding its offerings.

The Play Exchange is a national online challenge to find and support innovative ideas to get Canadians healthier and more active. It is open to all Canadians, including schools, students, families, not-for-profit organizations, social enterprises, and businesses. The early entry winners were selected from the entries submitted before April 9. These entries were evaluated on their ability to meet the challenge's criteria of innovation, social impact and sustainability.

Canadians are encouraged to enter their ideas for healthy living before the entry period closes on June 18. A panel of judges will review the entries to select the top six ideas, who will receive mentoring from LIFT Philanthropy Partners and other business and community leaders to develop business plans for their innovations. The finalists will be showcased on national television in January 2015. Canadians will have a chance to vote their favourite idea, and the top finalist selected by the judges will receive up to $1 million from the Government of Canada to implement their innovation.

The Play Exchange is a partnership of the Government of Canada, Canadian Tire, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and LIFT Philanthropy Partners.


"I would like to congratulate the three early entry winners for their strong submissions. Entries of this calibre elevate the competition to a new level and serve to challenge all entrants to bring their best ideas and strategies to the table. I look forward to hearing from more Canadians from coast to coast to coast on how we can make Canada healthier."
-    The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health

"The three early entry winners embody the spirit of The Play Exchange – innovation and ingenuity to help Canadians increase their activity levels and improve their health. We are pleased by the quality and variety of entries shared so far in the challenge, and we look forward to even more great ideas being submitted by Canadians over the next five weeks."
-    Bruce Dewar, Chief Executive Officer, LIFT Philanthropy Partners

"The early entries to The Play Exchange show that being active is important to Canadians and their families. The team at Canadian Tire is looking forward to seeing the creative solutions submitted from coast-to-coast to help get this country moving."
-    Allan MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Tire 


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