Stories of troubled youth inspired Weir mental health campaign

August 27, 2019|News, Press

Eight-time PGA Tour winner and 2003 Masters Champion Mike Weir says that  “eye-opening” stories of troubled youth in his hometown of Sarnia, ON is what led him to launch a fundraising campaign for a youth mental health facility. The Mike Weir Foundation announced The Chip-In-Challenge for Mental Health last month to help build an ACCESS Open Minds facility for youth aged 11 to 25. The foundation has pledged to match all donations up to $200,000. This includes a matched donation of Chris Hadfield’s $10,000 from his induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame induction.

In an interview with, Weir said foundation board member Wendy Bennett made him aware of troubling issues in Sarnia.

“Her telling me how many kids have been struggling with their mental health, how many suicides there have been which was reiterated by my niece and nephew and it was just eye-opening to hear that,” said Weir. “When we dug deeper, we found that Sarnia was in a real need of a facility for kids, so that’s what prompted us to get the ball rolling.”


An ACCESS Open Minds facility has been operating in Chatham-Kent for three years. Weir said that given the stories of troubled youth that have been brought to his attention, this campaign is all about bringing that kind of support to Sarnia-Lambton via a new ACCESS Open Minds site.

“We’re super excited about it, we’ve learned a lot from the ACCESS Open Minds facility in Chatham and we want to mirror that model and have that kind of facility in Sarnia,” he said. “I think it’s time, it’s due, it’s what the kids need — they need a place where they can feel safe and where they can learn some skills to cope with whatever they’re dealing with. If we can get this done it would be really great for our community.”

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