It only took an hour to raise $2,500, but organizers of the Hillcrest Middle School “Run 1000” event took many hours of behind the scenes preparation and effort.
In support of the May 1-7 Mental Health Week and working with the grade 8 anti-bullying leadership team, the school had more than 50% of all students taking part, by agreeing to run or walk 3k and donating at least $5. The money has been earmarked to go the CameronHelps and its Team Unbreakable programs.
The Mississauga school was lucky to have the leadership and organizing talents of teacher Jen Shaver, herself a runner, who was familiar with CameronHelps from its annual Father’s Day 5k event in Port Credit.
“We challenged our students to run 1667 laps of our back field and encouraged family members to join us. The purpose of the event was to spread the following messages: 1) that mental health affects everyone 2) physical health improves everyone’s mental health and, 3) what might seem impossible on your own is so much easier if you build a support team.”
Jen said the Run1000 was a great culminating event for a year’s worth of work on the anti-bullying initiative which also focuses on teamwork and positive mental health. “Over half the school ran and we also had about 25 families come out as well – – there were many generous donations and everyone really enjoyed the event,” she said.
Students were motivated to participate by daily reminders, posters around the school and the chance to skip their last class of the day. Parents came prepared to help by supplying freezies, Timbits and lemonade.
“There are some good memories I’ll take away from this event. While it was slow to catch on, the participation and enthusiasm was fantastic. It was amazing to see the kids race to see who could get the official last lap in. I saw students challenging themselves and it was wonderful to see students who I know have struggled to come out and they were smiling in the sunshine!”
Jen says she hopes to make the event an annual one.