SickKids celebrates World Children’s Day
On November 20, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) commemorated World Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) with a day full of art, literacy and education.
Children and youth at SickKids were invited to participate in an activity to express their wishes for the future of Canadian children. Asked the question, “If you had a magic wand, what would you do to help kids in Canada?”, the participants’ creations illustrated themes like giving children freedom and healthy food, curing the world and giving everyone a sister to hug.
The art was displayed in a gallery in the Garden Patio, and children and families had the opportunity to create their own masterpieces during the exhibit.
“Kids have a lot to say and days like today remind adults to listen. We should honour the voices and opinions of children and youth every day, and keep them involved in the decisions made about their health care,” said Carolynn Darrell Cheng, Supervisor, Family Spaces and Events at SickKids.
Staff and volunteers also had the opportunity to attend a workshop by Amber Skye, a researcher and community worker from Six Nations Health Services. Amber helped staff explore the social determinants of health for Indigenous children. Her presentation titled, “The Rights of Indigenous Children: Racism as a Barrier to Equality”, explored the ways health-care providers can uphold the pledges made by the Canadian government, and support the autonomy, engagement and empowerment of Indigenous children.
“SickKids is committed to a path of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples that is based on truth and partnership. Through educational sessions, such as Amber’s insightful presentation, staff can continue to learn how to implement improvements to ensure culturally safe services for Indigenous children and their families,” said Karima Karmali, Director, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Child and Family-Centred Care at SickKids.
SickKids President and CEO, Dr. Ronald Cohn, joined Therapeutic Clown, A. Leboo, for a special children’s rights-themed edition of Story Time, where Cohn read a picture book to patients and families in the Family Centre, as well those tuning in to watch Story Time from their rooms through the hospital’s closed-circuit television system. The picture-based book, “I have a Right to be a Child”, describes what it means to be a child with rights and that these rights belong to every child.
SickKids’ advocacy efforts on behalf of children include representation on Children First Canada’s Council of Champions, which aims to ensure the voices of the eight million children in Canada inform a plan of action to make Canada the best place for kids to grow up.
The UNCRC has changed the way we view and treat children across the world. It is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history and demonstrates a distinct commitment to advancing children’s rights – a commitment wholeheartedly supported by SickKids.