Run or walk for mental health in Acton— a volunteer student’s experience

Run or walk for mental health in Acton— a volunteer student’s experience

By Joanna Dong

On Saturday, May 11th, some of my friends and family from the Shine-A-Light Volunteer Team Went to the 3rd annual ABUW (AB United Way) 5K Run-Walk. The event was funded by local businesses to support Acton-Boxborough United Way's mental health initiatives. There was a 5K run and a Fun Run for younger children that was 1 mile. 

The weather was perfect for a running event, sunny, warm but not hot. Me and my friends met up on the road where there was a large set up, where runners were getting ready and a balloon arch was placed in the middle, marking the start. Maureen, one of the event organizers, gave us blue vests, a first aid kit and a stack of orange cones.We were assigned roles and waited for the race to begin. Soon, the runners started to run down the road. We waited at the end of the block till the children completed half of the Fun Run. Then, we directed them to turn around.

A minute later, me and my friends got clappers and noise-makers to cheer on the 5K runners. My mother held a sign that pointed the runners in the right direction. My friends and I shouted, “Keep going!” “You got this!” and “Good job!” It felt very fulfilling for me to see the smiles on their faces at our encouragement. For me this was an amazing experience to see so many people running for mental health because sometimes with everything going on in the world, I forget about the positive things that exist in my life. The amount of people who were running reminded me that there is always good in this world even if the media or news usually portrays the bad. So, thank you runners for participating in this event! I hope you know that your contribution made a positive impact on me and many others struggling with mental health issues. This event was such a great opportunity for me to grow as a person and to help my community. Thank you Maureen, Katie and the people who participated or were involved in this event! 

This event was amazing and I hope those of you reading will consider attending in the future. Mental health is an ongoing issue that affects many people in our community. Every person is one step toward a happier, healthier community. The energy at the ABUW 5K Run-Walk was incredible, there were about three hundred people who were willing to take the time out of their day to participate in this fun and meaningful event. I sincerely hope you will think about going next year on Saturday, May 10th 2025!

[Photos by Miao Lu]