Walk For Wellness Raises Funds for Suicide Prevention


Courtesy of Project Strength Over Silence

SJHHS students smile together as they walk around the track in the rain at the 2020 Walk for Wellness.

Kate Meyers, News Editor

Walk for Wellness, held on February 29, brought students, loved ones, and staff together for a walk around the SJHHS track to help raise awareness and help kids struggling with their mental health.

Seniors Sage Groves, Elle Peloso, and Kiley Espineira made Walk for Wellness happen through their club, Project Strength Over Silence. The club and event will be taken over by new students next year.

Project Strength Over Silence has also worked with the James Henry Ransom Foundation and the Wellness and Prevention Center to put on other community events such as information booths and meetings.

They created Walk for Wellness with the hope of helping support others in need. “Our goal was to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention and raise money for the Wellness and Prevention Center,” said Groves.

Seeing youth around them struggle with their mental health inspired the club to put on this event. “We saw there is an epidemic in young people, especially students in Orange County with mental health issues. There were so many young suicides in our cities within the past couple years that it became a clear issue,” said Espineira.

The walk was a way to get the community together in order to spark the conversation,”

— Kiley Espineira

“We realized somebody needs to do something to help and bring awareness to the situation, so we thought the best way to get started was through student activism,” said Espineira, “Students like to hear from kids their age, and we wanted people to know that it’s okay to talk about this issue and that silence is never the answer. The walk was a way to get the community together in order to spark the conversation.”

The Wellness and Prevention Center is located in San Clemente, which gives teenagers an opportunity to have crisis intervention, counseling, mentoring programs, and education about topics such as mental health and substance abuse.

“We know the Wellness and Prevention Center is working towards building a youth center for teens to have access to free mental health services, tutors, extracurricular programs, so we thought donating the walk’s proceeds would be a great way to contribute to this,” said Espineira.

Walk for Wellness raised over $4,000, which will be entirely donated to the Wellness and Prevention Center.