Break the Silence 5K is June 1

Callie Boisvert, left, and Abbey Shumway speak about mental health awareness in 2023.

Callie Boisvert, left, and Abbey Shumway speak about mental health awareness in 2023. COURTESY PHOTO

Abbey Shumway, left, and Callie Boisvert pictured with the sign advertising the Break the Silence 5K in 2023.

Abbey Shumway, left, and Callie Boisvert pictured with the sign advertising the Break the Silence 5K in 2023. COURTESY PHOTO

By ISABELLA MESSA

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-30-2024 11:01 AM

Modified: 06-03-2024 1:25 PM


Editor’s note: This story references issues with mental health

For the fifth year, Callie Boisvert, Abbey Shumway, Liberty Kemp and Laura Phillips are working together to fight the stigma against mental health through the Break the Silence 5K race on Saturday, June 1, at ConVal High School.

As 14-year-old freshmen at ConVal High School, both Boisvert and Shumway struggled with mental health and struggled to find an outlet for their difficulties.

“We met playing field hockey together, we had a hard time finding resources to help our mutual struggle, so we figured we might as well find resources to be heard,” said Shumway.

At that point, they had the idea to hold a 5K race around ConVal High School for their fundraiser, with all proceeds going to Avenue A and The Grapevine. 

“It doesn’t just take one year. You have to keep going in order to gain more individuals around the community,” explained Boisvert, elaborating on the struggles of starting an annual event, specifically one that goes against stigma, and overcoming doubts about their ability to do it.

One of the women’s major causes is that mental health is a “universal thing,” as said by Boisvert while talking about the role that community plays in the act of creating an inclusive and interactive way of bringing attention to their issue.

“It took us a while to get here, but now we can talk about it and be reminded of why we’re doing what we’ve been doing,” she said.

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The event begins with registration at 8 a.m., then leads into a time for speeches that share individual stories about personal struggles with mental health, resources for people who are struggling and words of encouragement not only to educate but also to be heard, which was highly emphasized by all the organizers. 

“You really gain a bigger sense of community, understanding that mental health could be affecting a child, a friend or even a relative,” Boisvert said.