Snowshoeing for a cause

The 9th annual Snowshoe race is back. This year, the organizers are partnering with Jack.org, a mental health charity empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health.

Hundreds of people, from the expert snowshoer to first timers, will be running the trail at the top of Grouse Mountain. The trail will be sure to get racers’ hearts pumping in beautiful surroundings and can be enjoyed by all abilities and fitness levels. This time around, the event has partnered with one of Canada’s biggest mental health charities, Jack.org.

This year’s Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run, a 5 km trail with a 240 meter elevation gain, takes place Feb. 24. All participants are encouraged to raise $100 and a fundraising page can be created online. The money raised will go directly to the work being done by Jack.org, who are helping young leaders across Canada to transform mental health. Awards will be given to any participant raising over $100 and also to the top fundraisers.

Young Leaders working hard to make sure every young person gets the support they deserve. | Photo courtesy of Jack.org

Snow for mental health

Jack.org is working hard across Canada to ensure young people understand how to take care of their own mental health as well as looking out for others. They have thousands of young leaders throughout all provinces and almost 200 Jack Chapters across local communities, ten of which are in Metro Vancouver. The chapters are groups of young people working year-round at their school or university to dismantle the barriers preventing positive mental health.

Suicide is the number one health-related cause of death for young people in Canada, making it “the health issue of the generation,” according to Alex Johnson, Content and Communications Manager at Jack.org.

“It is just becoming a way of life that the students now know they need to take care of themselves and others around them,” explains Sherry Agosti, Youth Engagement Worker at Handsworth Secondary in North Vancouver.

She goes on to say how the Jack Chapter at her school, currently in its third year, provides students with “lifelong tools to use when life throws them a curveball, they are becoming more resilient.” On top of the funding from Jack.org, students at Handsworth Secondary have fundraised through various events such as bake sales and barbeques. This money has recently been used to give back to the community, providing brown bag lunches to groups in Vancouver Downtown who are suffering with mental health issues.

Through the money raised by events such as the Snowshoe Grind Mountain run, Jack.org gives young people the training and tools to face the issue of mental health head on. “It’s not a brochure or a workshop. It’s real human interaction within their community, and it’s the most powerful method of change,”says Johnson.

Mountain commitment

Grouse Mountain Resorts aim to have a charitable focus with many of their events. “Grouse Mountain is the largest employer of the youth on the North Shore,” explains Julia Grant, Communications Manager at Grouse Mountain. “And supporting an organization that promotes youth mental health is important to us.”

The resort is hoping to see over 100 snowshoers out on the trail, particularly since the Snowshoe Grind Mountain run has now been sanctioned by Snowshoe Canada, an organization committed to promoting snowshoeing across Canada.

“Jack.org’s vision is to build a Canada without shame,” says Grant. With the support of events such as the Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run and Jack’s Chapters in the community, Jack.org’s mission is a step closer to being achieved.

For more information, please visit vancouversnorthshore.com/events/snowshoe-grind-mountain-run-2/

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