By Kimberly Haub
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 5k 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.
Notre Dame Prep, located at 9701 E. Bell in Scottsdale, presented a check in the amount of $9,240 to Amplifi, the teen empowerment entity of notMYkid, to enhance their services and educational programs for teens in crisis.
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 Amplifi program where teens talk to other teens and share their stories in schools,” said Alex Morganroth, director of program development at notMYkid.
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.”