West Kelowna  

Walk for Mental Health organized by Mount Boucherie student raises more than $13k

Student's event raises $13k+

A local high school student's fundraiser for mental health resources in the community exceeded its goal earlier this month, raising more than $13,000.

For the second year in a row, Mount Boucherie Secondary School Grade 11 student Delaney Neukomm organized a five-kilometre Walk for Mental Health, which included presentations by local mental health professionals and a variety of outdoor activities on May 8 at the West Kelowna school.

In addition to raising awareness about mental health resources that are available for young people in the Okanagan, the event also involved a fundraiser for Foundry Kelowna, a local organization operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association that provides a range of support services for people aged 12 to 24.

Through community donations and t-shirt sales, the event surpassed Neukomm's $10,000 goal, raising $13,806. This brings the total donations to Foundry to more than $20,000 over the two years.

More than 2,200 people attended the event, including people from across the community and students from MBSS, Kelowna Secondary School, Okanagan Mission Secondary and Rutland Secondary.

Neukomm says she was inspired to launch the event last year after struggling to help her own friends' mental health struggles when she was younger.

“I've experienced mental health issues within my own friends, especially when I was younger. I struggled to help my friends through that and I didn't know there were resources available to help them so I was stuck in a position where I was trying to handle it, which as a 13 -14 year old it can be kind of challenging and not the best situation to be in,” she said.

“So I really just wanted to show people that there are other places in the community, other people here, to support you and your mental health.

“We chose to highlight some mental health resources that students can go outside of school and access Foundry is a free service that they can access. It's really important to me that we can show students that there is other help available.”

After this year's success, Neukomm plans to hold the event next year as well, when she'll be in Grade 12.

“We're going to do it again next year, I'm going to hopefully kind of mentor some people so that we can keep it going after I leave the school,” she said.

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