Making Strides for Mental Health

Fri, 05/06/2022 - 10:19am

Last Thursday, at 3:30 p.m., the island’s first, “Making Strides for Mental Health,” 5k walk or run was held. The run was created by my mentor, John Tarbox, the Block Island School’s gym teacher, and myself, for my senior project to help raise money for NAMI Block Island, a non-profit organization that advocates and informs about mental health services. I decided to create a community race to support my research on exercise and its role on an individual’s mental health.
“Our goals are consistent with NAMI’s national goals: to educate, advocate for services, fight stigma, and support those suffering with mental illness through support groups and other treatment options,” President of NAMI Block Island, Will Young, said. “Two of our primary goals are to advocate for behavioral health services and educate people about mental illness through awareness. By putting on the run and having information about where to get treatment you are assisting with both of these goals.”
The course started at the Block Island School, continued down Payne Road, then went left on Mohegan Trail, then another left up Pilot Hill Road back down to the school. Special education teacher, Micheal O’Brien was at the finish line capturing everyone’s picture and times. Police were posted at mile one and mile two in case of an emergency.
To join the race there was a $10 entry fee and another optional $15 for a shirt designed by Tarbox and me. Sponsors of the race included Diamond Blue, Wild Flowers, Green Buoy, and the Island Manor Resort. There were about 30 participants including some furry friends, both walking and running. Crossing the finish line first, at 26 minutes and 28 seconds was Elizabeth Evans. Kiera Closter came in second place finishing in 27 minutes and 24 seconds.
Racer Kyle Riley, co-principal of the Block Island School, was pleased with the event.

“What a great afternoon walking and running with colleagues and community members for such a great cause. Events like this remind me that Block Island has a great sense of coming together to support each other,” Riley said. “It makes me proud that one of our own students organized this event and had the foresight to donate the proceeds to an organization like NAMI that supports our staff and students.”
Overall the community raised $1,000 for NAMI Block Island and donations are still being received. Thank you to John Tarbox for helping create the race, others who assisted, and for all those who participated and donated.

“It was great seeing such a big part of our school community outside of the building, doing something healthy and supporting such a tremendous initiative,” Tarbox said.