Scottsdale, AZ— Despite the chilly morning temperature on Saturday, Jan. 29, more than 250 runners and walkers gathered at Notre Dame Prep High School in Scottsdale to raise money for programs that support teen mental health.
The overall winners were 17-year-old Samuel Johnston for the men, with a time 15:54.9, and 11-year-old Leah Morozowich for the women, with a time of 20:44.8. Race results are posted at https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/122654.
Notre Dame Prep, located at 9701 E. Bell in Scottsdale, presented a check in the amount of $9,240 to Amplif[i], the teen empowerment entity of notMYkid, to enhance their services and educational programs for teens in crisis.
Runners came from Los Angeles and all over the Valley. Members of the Basha High School girls’ basketball team traveled from Chandler to participate in the Saints 5K.
“We wanted to do something relating to teen mental health for our senior project,” said Chloe Murakami, a center for Basha High School. “When we searched teen mental on the internet this race popped up, and so we decided to participate.”
Nationwide teen mental health issues are on the rise, and this sparked the idea for NDP to find a way to help.
“It’s one thing to know that a problem exists, but our students wanted to do more about the issues surrounding teen mental health,” said Gene Sweeney, principal of Notre Dame Prep. “I’m really proud of our students for coming up with the idea for a fun run/walk.”
The money raised will help provide tools, education and programs for kids in the Scottsdale community and throughout the Valley so that they can find the resources they need if they suffer feelings of depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.“Notre Dame Prep has been partnering with us for the last two years and helped us increase our peer-to-peer engagement through our Amplif[i] program where teens talk to other teens and share their stories in schools,” said Alex Morganroth, director of program development at notMYkid.
“It’s important that teens hear from each other, so they don’t suffer in silence, but instead reach out for help and know that they are not alone,” she added.
Amplifi has a virtual Teen Talk program where teens can “drop in” any Tuesday at 4 p.m. to talk about the challenges they face. Teens can register at https://bit.ly/teentalktuesday.
NDP sophomore Hannah Trujillo is a teen advocate for mental health, and before the race, she presented the check to Morganroth on behalf of the NDP school community.
“I’ve heard people say it’s ‘cheesy’ to talk about mental health, but I think it is very important [to talk about it] because we need to spread awareness,” Trujillo said. “It is very dangerous to be stuck in a bad place for a long time.”
notMYkid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides children and families with lifesaving programs, support, resources and education. NDP has invited notMYkid to conduct seminars for both teens and parents over the past two years to help families make healthy choices.
Notre Dame Prep is a Catholic diocesan college preparatory high school with a co-ed enrollment of 864 students. The school has received national recognition for the caliber of its academic, arts and athletic programs. The school is located at 9701 E. Bell Road in Scottsdale.