On 26 April 2019, advocates and leaders joined a bright-eyed group of children - our future advocates and leaders - in celebrating the launch of picture book We Have Superpowers / Nos superpouvoirs in Ottawa at the National Capital Region Military Families Resource Centre (NCR-MFRC).
Children from military families dressed for the occasion in superhero capes. After listening to their story, they crafted colourful masks to complete their outfits while the adults in attendance continued to speak about programmes available for serving, transitioning, and veteran members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.
We were engaged emotionally in the experiences of military and veterans families by Capt(ret'd) Helene Le Scelleur, Executive Director for Supporting Wounded Veterans Canada, and Marie Andrée Malette, veterans' caregivers advocate.
Nora Spinks, CEO of The Vanier Institute of the Family, spoke to the expanding number of resources for professionals working with military families. She highlighted their endorsement for the role We Have Superpowers / Nos superpouvoirs will play in engaging with children both in practical settings and in educational contexts.
The Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South, spoke on behalf of The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, to welcome the book and express the Government of Canada's continued support for military families.
We would like to highlight the great support of Gen(ret'd) Walter Natynczyk, Deputy Minister for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), and his wife Leslie Natynczyk, along with Gen(ret'd) Maurice Baril who continue their service to our soldiers and their families.
The launch of We Have Superpowers / Nos superpouvoirs was a catalytic event to encourage discussions about the impacts of physical and mental injuries on families and to highlight the courage of this group of children. We are now focusing on the book's distribution to MFRCs across Canada, its inclusion in Transition Group materials, and as a tool for Early Childhood Educators.
Special thanks is extended to Sandy Gauthier, Associate Director of Support Our Troops Operations, for partnering with this project, Layal Dleikan and Robyn Curry at the NCR MFRC for hosting the book launch and overseeing logistics, and to the True Patriot Love Foundation for providing the Grant that made this project possible.
Finally, your attendance, words of congratulations, and other encouragement extended to this project has made it the success it is and we look forward to next steps as we continue growing support for Canadian children with superpowers.
The new children's book, We Have Superpowers / Nos superpouvoirs, is a project celebrating the courage and contributions of the children of serving, transitioning, and veteran members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who have lived through the injury or illness of a loved one.
Available in French and English, We Have Superpowers / Nos superpouvoirs provides simple, positive vignettes on the contributions children make and celebrates their contributions in the journey of recovery. Literature for children on the topic is sparse and there are even fewer efforts to recognize the actions of implicated children in these sometimes challenging environments. It is this gap that our book fills. We focus on the bright energy and motivation that they inspire in their loved ones by being who they are best – themselves.
The book has been translated, edited, and otherwise supported by Canadian Military spouses, friends, and family who have contributed their vast talents to bring this project to fruition.
A first edition of the book was distributed as a gift to children attending Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Toronto 2017 where Dr Kari Pries, the project lead, was attending as a member of the Invictus Games Family Advisory Board and competitor spouse.
In 2018, the book received a grant to publish a second edition from the True Patriot Love (TPL) Foundation with the partnership of the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services – Support Our Troops.