My name is Mikayla and I am now in grade 6 Last year I organized a run/walk in support of child and youth mental health and addictions. All the money raised through donations is going to the RVH Child and Youth Mental Health In-Patient Program. The event was held on Saturday, May 5th during Mental Health Week at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte.
In addition to the run, I created an art competition. In each drawing the students were tasked to draw what they thought mental health was and a healthy way to cope.
I also held a toonie drive at my school where we almost successfully had everyone donate a toonie or more! Intotal there was 300 dollars raised.
My project was meant to give children and youth an understanding of how mental health is just as important as physical health. On the day of the run, I had about 300 race participants and at least 300 spectators attend the event. In addition, they received key messaging along the running route and resources in their race kits to help strengthen their mental health and ability to cope with life challenges. The event also allowed people to connect with like minded individuals and for many introduced a new healthy pleasure. I hope the art competition contribute to youth understanding healthy pleasures when they expanded their knowledge by research and talking.
Doing this project made me realize how important it is to address youth mental health and addictions at a young age, as well as to have many different healthy activities that make you feel better when you are going through a difficult time. I have also developed more empathy to personal circumstances that may be contributing to people’s mental health and addictions.
At the onset of my project, I was hoping to have a celebrity or a well known athlete attend my event that has experienced either a mental health challenge and / or addiction. Their presence at the event was intended to reduce stigma by letting people know that it is okay to go through mental health challenges and that help is available. Unfortunately, everyone who I asked could not come. I was disappointed, but I realized that the event would still be successful, fun and exciting without them.
I feel proud that I have raised $11,300 dollars through the Oro kids Run website and the toonie drive. I also got more comfortable with public speaking by doing daily announcements at school, radio interviews with 107.5 kool fm, talking to school principals, and doing a pre recorded show on Rogers TV.
Aside from the fundraising aspect, I feel that the Artwork Challenge created discussion and greater understanding of mental health and addictions, as well as teaching people about coping strategies and resources. I am happy to see how many people participated in the artwork challenge and showed an understanding of the topic.
I made many community connections who supported my project throughout the year. Mayor Harry Hughes, morning show hosts at 107.5 Kool Fm, representatives at RVH, Rotaract Club, SCDSB, Rogers TV, MPP Alex Nuttall, and Zach Makes Tracks contributed to the success of my project. Several community services such as New Path, Kinark, YMCA, Oro District Lions Club, OPP, Oro-Medonte Fire Emergency Services, and Simcoe County EMS kindly volunteered their time at the event. Finally Sophie Gregoire Trudeau sent us a letter explaining that she would have enjoyed the event, but was unavailable. In that regard Mrs.Trudeau would appreciate if she could be involved in the run for following years.
I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished. It was a great experience to create a run and have 300 race participants and at least 300 spectators come and enjoy the day outside. Raising 11300 dollars was a big accomplishment.
We are running the event again this year, on May 4, at Burls Creek Event Grounds. For more information go to https://www.orokidsrun.com/
Co-creating a space where people feel that they can speak out in spite of their fears is a vital step in the process of learning how to become a changemaker. Empathy researcher Brene Brown explains that being empathetic requires that we be present and wholly engaged without our ‘protective armour’. People wear armour to try to become invisible or fit in with others to hide what they consider to be defects or embarrassing qualities for fear of being judged, labeled, or bullied. It is difficult to feel empathy for others when you are cut off from yourself.
For this reason, we’re starting the change closest to home. Everyone in the changemaking process needs to feel valued, seen, and heard. Because of the culture we inherited and the way our brains work, all of us carry biases. This isn’t wrong or bad, it’s what we do with them that matters. Being humbled can lead to personal transformation.
The exercises below will help you to:
Once the principles of the safe space have been defined and agreed upon by all, they can be used, reinforced, and referred back to as needed throughout the time you share together.
Design Thinking & the Deskless Classroom(Exercise, Time will vary)
Create a Classroom Contract(30-45 minutes)
Learn how to listen: Are you a good listener? (video 5 min + opportunities for deeper thinking)
Empathy & Equity: From the Stanford D.school, this exercise gives designers to an opportunity to pause and notice their biases(15 min daily over the course of week).
Cross the Line: (30-60 min.) We live in a diverse world. In this exercise we will explore the diversity among us by thinking about our values, our backgrounds, our teachers, and our experiences.
CCDI: Explore Power and Privilege (Toolkit with various exercises)