Why I Run 4 Youth Mental Health?

I am so pleased to announce that I have been selected to be a 2016 RBC Race for the Kids Toronto Ambassador. On  Saturday , September 17, 2016 I will be running 15 kilometers to raise awareness and funds for Youth Mental Health Services at Sunnybrook. Based on previous posts it is obvious that I love to run so the question is…Why this cause?

As a teacher I have children in my class every year that struggle through every day. I often ask myself, “how can I expect them to learn when their life falling apart”. I try to help them, give them a safe place to be during the day and someone to talk to. Often, I lay awake at night worrying about them and I regularly run as a way to work through those feelings and manage my own stress. Sometimes, however, kids have problems that leave me speechless; problems that I know are way beyond my ability to help them.

In June 2013 I got my class list and saw one particular students name. At that time he was a very frail grade seven boy dealing with a list of issues that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I spent the summer worrying because I knew that the mother part of me would override the teacher part and that I would nurture, protect and love this boy because “that’s what mothers do”. I was truly afraid that my heart would be broken because he would not be able get the help he desperately needed in time to save his life. I worried that I would not only have to pick up my pieces but those of all of the other kids in my class as well.
When September came I was overjoyed at what I saw. He looked wonderful. Even though he struggled (and still does) every day he had gotten the help he needed and with the support of his AMAZING family he was on the right track.
One year later, In September of 2014, he and I ran our first RBC Race for the Kids. He ran the 5km and I ran the 25km race to raise money for Youth Mental Health and Addiction Services at Sunnybrook. To him, I may be just another teacher but he changed me. He helped me put things in perspective and align some priorities. Raising awareness of the struggles that today’s youth face and shedding light on the support services available are things that have become very important to me. When the opportunity to be a RBC Race for the Kids Ambassador presented it self I couldn’t help but think it was a perfect fit. I feel lucky to apart of this amazing team and share my love of running all while moving forward with my journey of raising awareness for the Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook.




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