Boots On The Ground

Community organization / nonprofit being nominated

Boots On The Ground

Organization's website

https://www.bootsontheground.ca

Tell us a little more about this organization. Please include detailed ways in which this organization makes strides to benefit the community, who is impacted and what future goals are for this organization.

Boots On The Ground Peer Support For First Responders (BOTG) is a charitable organization that provides peer support across Ontario, Canada to First Responders which includes Police Officers, Firefighters, Corrections Officers, Paramedics and Nurses. BOTG caters to all members of the First Responder community which includes retired and serving, sworn and civilian members. The BOTG mission is to provide anonymous, confidential, caring and compassionate support to First Responders across the province of Ontario. BOTG does not turn any callers away from their help-line which is completely run and staffed by volunteers. It is worth noting that they have received many calls from out of province, as well as from the United States. In addition to peer support, BOTG has and currently works with many individuals who specialize in the field of Mental health such as Psychologists, Social Workers, Researchers, Group Therapy Centres, and more in order to help First Responders seek the help and support they need. Boots on The Ground also has a PTSD service dog program. They have paired three Labrador puppies with three First Responders with PTSD. They are currently on a two-year training journey together. After this training the First Responder handlers will have fully trained PTSD service dogs. BOTG plans to expand their reach and advocate for First Responders across the nation to get the support and services they need to thrive.

If selected as a winner, how will the $7,500 prize money be applied?

The $7,000 would allow BOTG to allocate funds to ensuring they are able to reach more First Responders and help them get the support and services they need. For example, BOTG would be able to utilize this funding for its service dog program, assisting First Responders receive care from a registered professional, or expanding the BOTG platform to ensure it is accessible to First Responders.