The Allan Reynolds Award recognizes special individuals and organizations for their extraordinary contribution and leadership in helping individuals and families affected by anaphylaxis. The award is dedicated to Allan Reynolds, a long-time and inspiring Food Allergy Canada volunteer passed away suddenly in January 2013.
This year, our winner is Anglophone South School District, which has demonstrated exemplary passion and commitment to creating a safer, more allergy aware community.
We spoke with Anglophone South Superintendent Zoë Watson to learn more about efforts to raise food allergy awareness in their schools. Check out our interview below.
Congratulations Zoë on Anglophone South’s well-deserved award! Can you tell us a little about the School District and describe its connection to the food allergy community?
This is an award for all of our schools and it’s lovely to be honoured for the work they’ve done. Anglophone South School District is located in southern New Brunswick, serving communities from St. Stephen to Sussex. We operate 69 public schools (grades K to 12) with approximately 23,000 students and 1,700 teaching staff.
In July 2014, our school district experienced the loss of student Caroline Lorette to anaphylaxis. Afterwards, our district joined the efforts to honour Caroline, her legacy, and the mission of the Lorette Family to make a difference in the community. The Sweet Caroline Foundation was started in remembrance of Caroline Lorette, by her parents David and Janet Lorette, with the goal of educating schools and organizations on anaphylaxis and the psychosocial impacts of food allergy.
Can you tell us about the contributions of Anglophone South to the food allergy community?
Since 2014, an estimated 50,000 Anglophone South students have participated in presentations by the Sweet Caroline Foundation to help promote allergy awareness and safer school communities. This has been managed through over 500 community volunteers, and many are district staff. Through these events, students learn how to use an epinephrine auto-injector, what to do in case of anaphylaxis, and how to support their peers with managing food allergy, making more inclusive environments.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It is an honour for our community to be recognized for the countless hours the District has spent dedicated to making food allergy a priority topic in our schools. Caroline will continue to inspire us, and we are committed to ensuring her legacy lives on through educating students on food allergy and anaphylaxis.
We also reached out to David and Janet to ask their thoughts on the work by Anglophone South School District and what it means to their family.
We think this award recognizes the incredible work done by Anglophone South. Our original goal was to educate the students of Rothesay High School, but with Zoë Watson’s help, we brought it to the rest of the district.
We feel other children and parents are going to be more allergy aware because they are being educated; kids and families impacted by food allergy are going to feel more protected. And there is confidence that comes with this education. If an anaphylactic reaction does happen, then there will be more people that will know what to do.
This work is also so important in normalizing the condition. There doesn’t need to be such stigma for kids with food allergy. They need to feel safe to talk about their condition and to feel included in their classes, schools and communities.