"Worth It All" by Jodi Beland, Program Director

Ali Warren presents Minding Your Mind at Open High

Ali Warren presents Minding Your Mind at Open High

On a recent training run, I began reflecting on how participating in the Shamrock Half Marathon will be different for me this year.  A year ago, I was offered the Foundation’s Program Director position.  We had started Mindful Mondays, and we were beginning to plan the launch of the Minding Your Mind (MYM) Program in partnership with the MYM Foundation.  Last year, I ran for Cameron.  I was getting to know Cameron through David and Grace, her loved ones, her writings, quotes, pictures, race plans, and her friends.  This year, I will run for Cameron, but I also run for the 8,300 students that have been impacted by our programming in 2016.  I run for the teens, young adults, and families that have the courage to SpeakUp. I run for those struggling and not ready to SpeakUp.  The faces I see in my mind are many…there are so many “Camerons.”

The SpeakUp Shamrock race team helps raise funds to accomplish our 2017 goal of expanding our MYM program from six schools to 20 schools.  We already have the following schools scheduled for the Spring 2017 semester:  Open High, Thomas Jefferson High, The Steward School, Collegiate School, Atlee High, Godwin High, Millwood School, Goochland High, and St. Christopher’s High School.   We plan to expand our MYM program into middle schools, offer more mindfulness programs, offer Parent Chat Nights, and monthly programs including yoga, movie nights, and art therapy for teens.

I’m not the fastest runner, but my time isn’t important. I run with purpose to share Cameron’s dream of ending the stigma. I run in support of teens that struggle, and I let them know that they are not alone, and they are worth it all. 

To learn more about our programs, visit www.ckgfoundation.org/programming/

Katherine Cook