Kelowna’s Run for Youth Mental Health would have taken place in Wilden for the third time on Sept. 27. But, like so many other plans, this one, too, had to change during the pandemic.
Not hosting the run at all, however, was not an option for the Wilden developers. After all, the cause has not gone away. It rather has become more important. So the Blenk family decided to reformat this beloved community and family event and make it a virtual one. It is running throughout September, and you still have the chance to sign up.
Whenever raising money for the Blenk Family Fund, the company developing Wilden, Blenk Development Corp., matches every dollar raised. By Sept. 10, the Wild One virtual run already had more than 90 participants and had raised $6,500. This includes a generous donation of $1,500 from GeoTility, one of Wilden’s most important partners when it comes to building new homes and neighbourhoods. The goal is to reach $8,000 by the end of September. Matched by Wilden, an amount of $16,000 could go towards the projects of the Blenk Family Fund.
Throughout the picturesque and topographically challenging back country of Wilden there are now three routes signposted, a 10K and 5K run as well as a 1K loop for the little ones. Following the signs of the 5K and 10K routes you will find panoramic photo spots at the top to take a selfie. But you do not have to take the trip to Wilden to run the Wild One this year. You can choose your own favourite trails wherever you like and walk or run your chosen distance at your own pace.
When registering for the run you have the option to add a donation for the Blenk Family Fund. But even if you don’t, you will help the cause, since all proceeds will be handed through. Everyone registered will get a 2020 WILD ONE athletic T-shirt that can be ordered in various sizes and in two different styles. If you register on or before Sept. 13, your shirt will be delivered in time so you can wear it for your run at the end of September.
The Wilden crew encourages all participants to post their pictures either publicly or in a closed Facebook group exclusively for Wild One participants using the hashtag #wildonerun. This is completely optional and so is your time tracking. If you want to compete with other runners, you can do so by submitting your time through the registering platform.
The Blenk Family Fund for Youth Mental Health strengthens the network of mental health support available to young people and families in the Okanagan Valley. Through The Foundry Kelowna and Discovery College, the fund has an immediate impact on the mental well-being of Kelowna’s youth.
The Foundry provides quickly accessible health and wellness services to support youth aged 12-24 and their families. The Discovery College, an initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Kelowna branch, provides a variety of free podcasts and online courses. A series of online workshops on how to cope with the COVID-19 crisis as well as a podcast called “What Really Works” have become very popular.
Aside from direct help on the spot, the Blenk Family has another goal: to build resilience through research and prevention. In close co-operation with KGH Foundation, Interior Health, UBC and CMHA, the fund invests in studies to better understand the challenges young people and families are facing. In an effort to prevent suicide risk before it arises, The Clarity Group of researchers, experts and community workers aims to build up knowledge and heighten awareness about suicide risk. The goal is to provide everyone involved in caring for the younger generation with guidelines on how to help foster resilience.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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