Balling to Break Barriers
Balling to Break Barriers is an annual 3 on 3 basketball fundraiser that was first held in May of 2016. It is our hope that we can expand Balling to Break Barriers into a local program that provides youth with a safe place to talk about mental health while also giving them the opportunity to participate in physical activity. One of the primary goals has always been to raise awareness about the relationship between mental health and healthy active living. The funds that we raise are given to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Hastings & Prince Edward Counties. We would still run the annual fundraiser in support of CMHA; however, the youth program would be offered year-round in the local and surrounding communities.
Mental health is a topic that is very close to home for me. I believe that, by creating a space to promote and discuss mental health, the stigma will continue to be reduced. In 2014, I went through my worst bought of depression and realized that I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed, nor would I have graduated college, if it wasn’t for my support system. After that, I realized how lucky I am because not everyone has that same support system. That is where the main benefit of Balling to Break Barriers comes in. It would create an open, non-judgmental environment where youth feel comfortable discussing coping strategies, services that are available to get help, and more. In this way, the program would provide education on mental health and mental illness.
The goal would be to have the program started by January of 2019. This would give us enough time to promote the program while also setting up a schedule and acquiring appropriate facilities, volunteers, and possible clinical staff. In May of 2018, we would want to hold information sessions for volunteers and potential participants. At this time, we would also want to start making surveys available to the public. The surveys would ask for input on what types of activities and discussions the program should focus on. The surveys would remain open until the end of August 2018 which would then give us enough time to compile the feedback and work on all of the logistics required for the program to be put in place.