About 600 runners and dozens of onlookers got blasted with color Sunday while helping raise nearly $10,000 for programs designed to increase awareness of teen mental health issues.
The inaugural ColorBlast 5K, held at Manor Middle School, drew runners of all ages, shapes and sizes, who were blasted with brightly colored powder as they completed the course. After the run, everyone got to participate in a group “color bomb” by throwing handfuls of powder into the air in a final celebration of color.
“The kids who participated were so engaged, whether in doing the run or as volunteers. They made it into one big party!” said Gerald Ressler, executive director of Samaritan Counseling Center, which organized the event.
“It is wonderful to see so many people, especially kids, make a statement that emotional support and help is available and that everyone deserves to receive the help they need.”
The run benefited TeenHope, a mental health education and screening program run by Samaritan that reaches out to teens who are struggling and may be contemplating suicide. TeenHope operates in Lancaster County schools, including Penn Manor High School.
The ColorBlast 5K also benefited Aevidum, a student-led group that works to create a positive mental health environment, a culture of “I’ve Got Your Back,” in schools throughout the county. The group has chapters at Penn Manor High School and Manor and Marticville middle schools.
Aevidum members, sponsors and volunteers from schools throughout Lancaster County participated in Sunday’s event, along with Samaritan staff and volunteers.
“The smiles, the laughter, the total fun was wonderful to experience,” said Herb Landis, a counselor with Samaritan, who ran in the event. ” It’s a colorful world we live in, and may we all take responsibility to look for this beauty of meaning in each other.”