Westerville Education Challenge Member, Kevin Ford, to Run 24 Hours to Support Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Since 2009, the all- volunteer Westerville Education Challenge (WEC) has impacted over 10,000 students in Westerville City Schools through the support of programs like Challenge Day, Middle School Transition Events, Middle School Culture Summits, mentoring clubs, teacher grants and its newest initiatives, Hope Squad and Social-Emotional Resource Center (SERC). Over 1,500 community volunteers and 40 corporate and community sponsors partner with WEC, and together have contributed thousands of volunteer hours and raised over $250,000 in donations.
Hope Squad is a suicide peer prevention program that Westerville Education Challenge has brought to Westerville and its three high schools. Suicide awareness and prevention aligns with WEC’s focus on student well-being and emotional health. The main goal of Hope Squad is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma, and serve as a resource to those touched by suicide.
Considering this, WEC member, Kevin Ford, will run 24 hours and 120 miles or more on October 16 – 17, 2021, to raise funds for Westerville Education Challenge and increase visibility for suicide awareness and prevention. His run also honors his father, Mark Ford, who lost his life to suicide. Kevin will run on the track at McCann Stadium at Westerville North High School from 9 am on October 16th to 9 am on October 17th. Community members, organizations and businesses are invited to support Kevin on his run and donate to Westerville Education Challenge.
“I am attempting to complete 120 or more miles in 24 hours to benefit Westerville Education Challenge and Hope Squad. My community came together to support me when my dad passed in 2010 to suicide and I know what it feels like to be a young person struggling with tragic loss and mental health. This endurance event is my way of paying it back to my community and paying it forward to the young people who need the support. My inspiration comes from all the family, friends, and strangers alike that have endured what life has thrown at them and continued to have hope. Hope for their future and hope for the future of their neighbor,” shares Kevin Ford, a 2011 WNHS graduate.