By Ian Adler
“We have to continue, in all of our communities, to shatter the stigma associated with mental illness, and let people know that it’s an illness, so let’s get help.”
Answering the call to help, as the Aevidum spirit represents, around 300 participants showed up to run the Aevidum “Color Blast 5k” on Sunday, October 4. The race began at Manor Middle School and followed the school’s 3.1 mile cross-country course.
A color blast is a “friendly” run, in which various colors of powder are thrown on the runners by volunteers throughout the course. The event featured DJ services, post-run snacks, and a finale “color bomb”, where a powder tossing free-for-all coated the runners with all the remaining rainbow dust.
The second annual color blast is just one of many events that Aevidum hosts, ranging from community talk events, talent shows, music or poetry nights and anything that schools that host the organization decide to hold.
“The whole goal is to promote positive mental health,” said Executive Director of Aevidum Joe Vulopas. “Places where people are accepted, appreciated, acknowledged and cared for.”
The color blast was described as “more of a community event” by Vulopas, due to the partnership with Teen Hope, a branch of the Samaritan Counseling Center, that helps middle and high schools to screen teenagers for mental illnesses. The money raised from the event was split in donation to both Teen Hope and the Aevidum organization.
“It was a great experience,” said senior and Red Lion Aevidum club member Hayley Althoff. “The atmosphere was amazing, I loved being a part of it. I actually thought that there was going to be 50 people there, but there were like 300 and most of them were teens.”
Both the community atmosphere and the warmth and welcoming nature of the both participants and volunteers definitively showed that the Aevidum spirit was alive and well.
“I feel like depression and things of that sort are becoming more prevalent,” said Althoff. “I think that it needs to be made aware of, especially when you have kids in your own school committing suicide and you don’t even know that they’re depressed until something like that happens.”
Red Lion not only brought student participants, but also adult volunteers, including both club advisors Mrs. Rohrbaugh and Mrs. Persing.
“Overall, I thought it was a lot of fun,” said Rohrbaugh, who spent the duration of the event handing water to the runners. “I think the kids enjoyed it, we raised a lot of money and it was a success from an overall standpoint.”
“Between our 20 participants, ranging from elementary to high school, we raised $500, which is pretty impressive,” said Rohrbaugh. Overall, the event raised about.
“Whenever I speak, I always say that we all have a role in making sure that our children are healthy. What is that role that we have?” said Vulopas. “Today, at this event, there were people from everywhere here, which again just surrounds these kids so they know that they can do the right thing, that we care for them.”