Alexa SpeaksUp and the CKG Foundation expands SpeakUp programming. by Jodi Beland

The office is all abuzz as we prepare for the SpeakUp5k, but Cameron’s dream wasn’t only to bring a community together.  She also wanted to end the stigma associated with mental illness, and that is done through education and awareness.  We are excited and proud to be kicking off our second full school year of programming.  Last school year, we provided free mental health programs to 14 high schools and two middle schools.  We already have eleven schools scheduled for this school year, and we are in the planning stages with more. We will return to Goochland High, Godwin High, Maggie Walker Governor’s School, Open High, Collegiate and Trinity.  We will provide the Minding Your Mind Speaker Program and SpeakUp Workshops for the first time to The New Community School, Powhatan High, Caroline High, Kenston Forest School, and St. Catherine’s School.  

We have speaking engagements at churches, synagogues, and various community events throughout the fall.  We are willing to speak anywhere teens and families are because it is so important to learn how to care for one’s mental health, to care for our friends and loved ones, and have tools in our toolbox to handle the bumps in the road.  Life is hard.

Mindful Mondays will return in October and we are thrilled to announce that we have expanded this program to middle school students.  This program guides teens in the practice of mindfulness.  According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”  This practice is a wonderful tool to help stay in the present moment and cope with stress.  To learn more or to register, please visit:

Another exciting project we have worked on this summer is our new “SpeakUp” Alexa skill that is live on Amazon.  All you have to do is enable the skill, and say "Alexa, open SpeakUp!” to hear words of inspiration, a minute of mindfulness, Cameron’s Song, or upcoming events.

We would like to thank Drew Firment and Terren Peterson for developing the Alexa skill, and to A Cloud Guru for supporting our mission. The SpeakUp Alexa skill is a great way to share our mission and bring hope to millions of people.  To activate the SpeakUp Alexa skill visit:

If you have any questions about programming, feel free to contact Jodi Beland, Program Director, at

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Katherine Cook