During the week of May 24, 2021, East Coldenham students participated in the 5th Annual Walk a Mile for Children’s Mental Health.
Organized by School Counselor Allie Riker, this event is held in celebration of May as Children’s Mental Health Awareness month. The event was not held last year due to the COVID school closure. Riker felt strongly about bringing back the event this year because, “now more than ever, the mental health of our students is paramount. The COVID climate has changed their lives forever and may have a lasting impression on them.”
Those East Coldenham Students who are 100 percent virtual this year were encouraged to walk the mile at home in their own neighborhoods.
Students were pledged by family and friends to walk or run the mile during their Physical Education class, under the direction of Shane Regan, PE teacher. This year, $1000 was raised in pledges, an exact match to the total funds raised in 2019. All proceeds from the event are enthusiastically donated to Voices United 4 Change, champions of Children’s Mental Health in Orange County.
Each year leading up to the event, a “coping skill of the day” is read on the morning announcements to get the kids thinking about their own mental health, or simply put, “being healthy in their minds.” “It is never too early to begin the conversation about mental health. By introducing the concept at a young age, I hope that the stigma of having a mental illness is erased,” Riker said.
On Tuesday, June 8, East Coldenham presented the organization with a check for $1,000. “I am proud of this tradition and I am even more proud of the kids. I think the amount of pledges raised this year says a lot about the cause. It was a challenging year for everyone and giving back to the community during a pandemic is an important lesson for our students to learn,” Riker said.