The overcast day didn’t put a damper on the spirit of Jonas Samson Junior High’s Green Ribbon Walk. The event, run by the Stop the Stigma group at the school, helped raised funds and awareness for mental health.
Over 50 participants braved the wind and rain at Lion’s Park in the early afternoon of Saturday, May 13. This student led initiative raised over $500 for the cause in a three-hour time span.
Teacher Melissa Scrivener said the Stop the Stigma group started as a class assignment, but grew thanks to students’ interest and investment in the cause.
“The group actually started as an enrichment project with grade eights about four years ago,” she said. “They were interested in keeping it on as extracurricular activity because they thought they message we were trying to share was really important. There are just so many people facing mental health challenges, illness, and disorders.”
As their teacher, Scrivener has helped guide and organize the group, but she said the students plan and give directives.
“They really direct the purpose of the group and what we want to accomplish,” she said.
“We do fundraising and raise awareness in our own school, but we have also bought books for the different schools within Meadow Lake regarding mental health – so kindergarten all the way up to the high school level.”
In other years, the group has had some speakers come in, but this year, the group focussed on involving the greater population of the city.
“This year wanted to make it more community-oriented,” said group member Elisabeth Thompson.
“We decided that we wanted to have people sign the petition, and give optional donations instead of focussing on raising money. We wanted to promote awareness. If somebody’s going through something and they don’t have the help they need it’ll only get worse.”