Racing awareness


Zachary Knight

Westerville Education Challenge sponsoring the 24 hour run, as well as creating the Westerville City Hope Squad.

Sophie Bordron (Senior), News Editor

 On Saturday, Oct. 16, runner and Westerville Education Challenge member, Kevin Ford ran for 24 hours to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health. The event began at 9 a.m. on October 16, and finished at 9 a.m. on October 17, at Westerville North High School’s Jim McCann Stadium. Ford completed 105 miles. With over 1,500 volunteers and 40 corporate sponsors, the Westerville Education Challenge (WEC) raised over $250,000 in donations. 

   WEC focuses on students’ mental health and well-being. An all-volunteer organization, WEC has helped over 10,000 students since its establishment in 2007. Since its start, WEC has helped create more initiatives towards mental health. WEC secretary and Westerville North High School Hope Squad advisor, Lauren Hoffman was at the event. “Mental health awareness is key,” she said, “if you aren’t happy and healthy, emotionally and socially that impacts everything else… it impacts every aspect of your life.”

   This August, WEC introduced Hope Squad to the high schools of Westerville City Schools. Hope Squad “is a school-based, peer-led suicide prevention program which equips and empowers students to be the eyes and ears of a school as they watch out for youth in distress,” (

   Hope Squad members helped support Ford during the 24-hour run. Westerville North senior, and Hope Squad member, Maya Chaffin, was at the event, “you can see the progress that he makes, and realize the importance of what he’s doing and how it’s going to impact so many lives,” Chaffin said. 

   Westerville North senior, and Hope Squad member, Hannah Earhart, was also at the event. “It’s awesome what he’s doing. I think it’s cool to see the community come together over a good cause,” Earhart said. 

   Both senior Hope Squad members Earhart and Chaffin look forward to their work with Hope Squad. “I really just hope to be able to encourage other people and inspire them through the Hope Squad program,” Chaffin said. 

    WEC hopes to continue raising awareness for mental health “we’ve already had positive feedback from students, parents [and] from teachers” Hoffman said, “we hopefully [will] raise more money and grow more programs so we can have more of an impact in our schools and our community and with our students.”

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