By Teresa Schiffer
The Feel Good 5k is a great way to get out and show your support for one of our most valuable resources – the mental health professionals at Peace River Center. Make an impact in the lives of vulnerable children by participating in this fun event!
It’s no secret that mental health services are lacking throughout the country. Here in Polk County, we are lucky to be served by Peace River Center, a non-profit organization devoted to making a positive impact through compassionate care. They help people of all ages in times of crisis, stress, and trauma in many ways.
Peace River Center has a Junior Advisory Board made up of 20 or so high school students who are motivated to make a difference in their community. The Junior Advisory Board helps plan events to benefit Peace River Center’s programs. The Feel Good 5k is coming up soon, and Junior Advisory Board Chair Ben Jenkins was happy to tell us all about this worthwhile event.
The Feel Good 5k will take place on Friday, September 7, at 6:30 p.m. Participants will gather at the Southern Landing (Anchor Park) on Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. The course goes around the lake and ends at a point a little further than where it began, to make the full 5k. The entry fee is $30 for adults before August 31, when it goes to $40. You can use code CFHN to get the $30 rate anytime. It’s $20 for those under 18. All participants will receive a goodie bag, and those who registered by August 20 will also receive a t-shirt. Music and entertainment will be provided again by media partner Hall Communications and 97 Country, and there will be snacks and refreshments available from local donors, such as Main Squeeze, a smoothie and juice bar.
Ben Jenkins has been volunteering at Peace River for three years now, inspired by his sister, who volunteered before him. When a representative from Peace River spoke at his school he decided to get involved. “It really helps you learn about mental illness and that it’s not such a strange thing that people think it is. It’s actually very common,” Ben explains. He has a personal connection to mental health, as well. “My grandfather suffered from dementia before he passed away, so it’s a really applicable thing. It’s a great thing to know and to teach others.”
The proceeds from the Feel Good 5k go to benefit the Peace River Center Children’s Services. This branch of the organization provides a range of services for children. Last year over $9,000 was raised to help support the children’s programs. This money goes for everything from buying board games to providing innovative, immersive therapy such as the behavioral therapeutic on-site services known as TBOS-therapy. This involves the therapist entering the child’s everyday environment in order to assess the situation and help the family connect with the resources needed for that child to thrive.
Community Relations Associate for Peace River Center, Jessica Lawson, describes the need for board games as therapeutic tools. “Right now, in particular, the Children’s Psychiatric Services is in need of board games,” she says. “It’s a lot less intimidating to a child, or even a teen, to play a game and talk to a therapist, versus having to sit there and stare at a therapist and share any trauma that they’ve experienced.” They happily accept donations of used games to use in therapy.
The Feel Good 5k is a great way to get some exercise outdoors while positively affecting the lives of children and families in your community. Peace River Center is working hard to provide the mental health services needed by Polk County, and this event is a fun chance to support them.
By Teresa Schiffer