Windsor, ON – People in Windsor-Essex once again laced up their running shoes in support of mental health programs and services at the annual iClimb for United Way, held at the WFCU Centre in Windsor on Feb. 27.
United Way is celebrating its 10th year of the signature fundraising 1000-step climb, raising $30,800 so far this year, and $412,600 over the last decade. The event is meant to give a mental health boost to the participants as well as raise awareness that local help is available for those in need of mental health supports. Those living in low income are three to four times more likely to experience a mental health issue than those with a higher income (ref: CMHA).
Bus cancellations, due to inclement weather, prevented many schools from participating, but 28 workplace teams and a few schools that were able to make their way to the event joined in for a day of climbing, and learned what it means to be mentally healthy while participating in fun, team-building activities like the Hidden Trail Escape Room relay, art and recreational therapy workshops by Revival Through Hands and Embrace Recreational Therapy, a soccer obstacle course, and pickleball. Physical activity is a protective factor for mental well-being.
“United Way is very proud to have co-developed a community strategy to reduce wait times for counselling services in Windsor and Essex County,” says Lorraine Goddard, CEO of United Way. “United Way donors and iClimb participants are making that success possible year after year.”
Mark, a service user in a local counselling program would tell others “to consider counselling and make the decision to do the work by practicing and applying the ideas and suggestions. Keep working at it. It helped me believe in myself again. What have you got to lose by trying?”
Mark had suffered extreme loss – first his father and brother in his early 20s, and then later in life, in a short period, he lost his mother, a second brother, a sister and a daughter. At an all-time low, Mark was referred to counselling to help him cope, deal with his survivor guilt, and to try and regain a positive outlook on life. Ninety-five percent of participants in the United Way-funded Counselling and Supports Strategy said the program was important to improving their quality of life.
“I’d be way worse if I didn’t go to counselling,” says Mark.
United Way’s Counselling and Supports strategy, which helped 2,667 people last year, aims to ensure everyone in Windsor-Essex County knows where to go for counselling, and is able to get the help they need without having to wait or pay more than they can afford. LEARN MORE about United Way’s IMPACT: weareunited.com/StrongCommunities.
2019 was another record year for volunteer participation and community partners coming together to run the event, including 200 volunteers and 18 community organizations, such as Windsor Police Services, the FCA Motor Citizens, and St. Clair College. Visit United Way’s Facebook and Twitter pages to catch up on all the donors making a difference.
iClimb pledges are critical to helping United Way support the Mental Health and Counselling strategy and thousands of local service users. United Way has reached out to schools which were not able to participate due to the bus cancellations to see if students would still be willing to turn in their pledges, to help reach the annual fundraising goal.
Thank you to our generous sponsors: