Bo Tkach Turkey Trot

Bo Tkach Turkey Trot
Thursday, November 24th, 2016

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Stroup continuing to raise mental health awareness

by Evan Easterling | 20 July 2016 | Original Source: Temple News

On the day after her eighteenth birthday, Kara Stroup told her mother about her seven-year struggle with an eating disorder.

Four years later, on September 15, 2015, just after National Suicide Prevention Week ended, Stroup shared her battle publicly on Owl Sports, encouraging those who are dealing with depression to seek help and talk to someone.

She hasn’t stop speaking since.

Stroup detailed the events after revealing her eating disorder, including being placed in an outpatient therapy program and two trips to the emergency room.

“Since then, I have grown accustomed to mostly good days and rarely bad ones, but I am a constant work in progress, and I always will be,” Stroup wrote in September. “Through trial and error, I am always figuring out new and better ways of how to manage myself. The hard work is never actually over. Recovery does not have an exact end point and it is not a perfectly straight line upward.”

The class of 2016 graduate and two-year lacrosse captain has had her story told on local news broadcasts and spoken at several schools, including Millersville University. During National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in February, Stroup shared her experience during a meeting for Active Minds, a nonprofit that encourages conversation about mental health.

“I think it’s just encouraging the conversation because in every single house, whether or not your have an actual issue, your mental health is the health of your brain,” Stroup said. “You don’t have to have depression to be going through a hard time and at some point in every person’s life, they’re going to have a difficult time.

Normalizing mental health discussion and reducing stigmatization would encourage more people to seek help, just like they do for the common cold and other ailments, Stroup said.

“It’s the same exact thing, but a lot of times it’s not getting taken care of because people aren’t talking about it because it’s’ not seen as a regular health issue.”

The One Love Foundation recognized Stroup in May, choosing her from a group of 10 finalists to win the 2016 YRL Unsung Hero Award.

The award is given to one male and one female Division I lacrosse player in memory of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia lacrosse player who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2010. Sharon and Alexis Love, Yeardley’s mother and sister, co-founded One Love in 2010 to educate communities about relationship violence.

“Kara is an outstanding student-athlete, and she has clearly earned the respect of her teammates and coaching staff because of her positive attitude,” Sharon Robinson, vice chair of the One Love Foundation, said via email. “She leads by example in always trying her best, and encourages others to play their best as well. Her bravery in stepping forward to break the myth about mental health and share her story truly makes her unique.”

Stroup’s award money will be donated to the Bo Tkach Foundation in memory of her cousin, to whom she dedicated her personal essay.

Tkach graduated from Northern Lehigh High School in 2001 with a football scholarship to the University of Delaware. After transferring twice, he graduated magna cum laude from Wilkes University in 2007. Tkach suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression before his suicide in 2007. The foundation his parents created in his memory provides $3,000 to $4,000 per month to pay for youths’ mental health counseling.

“What I’m really grateful for getting the award is that it’s once again giving me another opportunity with an even greater audience,” Stroup said. “Only good can come from that. So that’s really why I’m grateful to get the award because it’s giving me more opportunities to help others.”

Stroup started on defense in all 68 of Temple’s games in her four year career, totaling a career-high 20 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers in her senior season. For her sixth summer, she will coach with NXT Lacrosse. The Garnet Valley native will coach a girls elementary school team, her first time as a head coach. Stroup is looking for a way to use her psychology degree to continue to impact others.

“I don’t know what exactly I’m going to go into, but there will always be the drive for me to work in a mental health sector in some way,” Stroup said. “Because I always feel like I was wasting the experience that I had if I wasn’t helping others get through that when I have the ability to use my voice and others don’t.”

"I've got your back" Students learn techniques to improve mental health

It's all about creating healthy schools.

At least that was the message conveyed to students and teachers who gathered at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe Thursday as the Bo Tkach Foundation and Aevidum kicked off a mental health awareness campaign.

Aevidum comes from the Latin word "vid," which means "life," and is interpreted to mean "I've got your back!" It empowers students to take responsibility to make a difference.

Schools from Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties, along with a school from Philadelphia, participated in the event.

Grant Schneebeli, a 10th-grade student at Nazareth High School, said the purpose of the program is to change the lives of those who struggle with issues such as self-harm, depression, anxiety and suicide.

"We can hopefully prevent that and make them feel they're wanted; that we've got their back," Schneebeli said.

Lucas Christman, a freshman at Palmerton High School, also shared his thoughts.

"Aevidum is a really great organization for the students," Christman said. "It's about appreciating kids that might not be as appreciated, just helping and caring for others."

Mary Pritchard, a school psychologist and Aevidum adviser, said the program was a multi-district consortium to give students the tools they need to go back to their districts and share.

"It's about creating a culture in the schools where everyone feels accepted, appreciated, acknowledged, and cared for," Pritchard said.

Lexie Dudeck, a senior at Nazareth High School, knows this all too well.

Originally from New Jersey, Dudeck grew up with parents who struggled with substance abuse.

After being taken away from her parents and placed in foster care, Dudeck was eventually taken in by a family member.

She's thankful for the program.

"Aevidum is not just an organization, it is a savior," Dudeck said. "This group just brings out the best in everyone."

Carbon County Commissioners William O'Gurek and Thomas J. Gerhard praised those in attendance for their participation in the program.

O'Gurek told the students and teachers that it's important that they take the message from here back to their respective districts so that we have healthier schools and healthier students.

Gerhard said that through the program, students can talk to a friend who may be in need of help.

Jim Presto of Aevidum said the program is all about bringing a positive mental health environment in the schools in an effort to change the cultures within the schools.

Aevidum, a Lititz-based nonprofit, empowers youth to have their friends' backs and create cultures of care and advocacy in schools across the nation.

Along with mental health experts, the organization has developed an authentic, age appropriate program that allows students to share information with their peers.

The intention is to start with the high school students and spread the message into the elementary schools.

Aevidum teaches students to take the time to talk to their friends and encourage them to talk to responsible adults, as well as drive awareness throughout the entire school.

Over 100 high schools and middle schools in Pennsylvania have adopted their model, which adapts to any existing initiatives a district has already implemented.

The training was sponsored by The Bo Tkach Foundation, and the family of Robert Best of Northern Lehigh.

For more information on Aevidum, visit www.aevidum.org.

Read the article on the the Times News website.www.tnonline.com

Local students, teachers to take part in mental health initiative

The Bo Tkach Foundation and Aevidum will kick off a mental health awareness campaign for local students and teachers on Thursday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.

According to a foundation news release, students and teachers from Carbon County high schools, and Northern Lehigh and Northwestern Lehigh high schools, will engage in an "exciting collaborative session to learn how to foster a culture of caring in their schools and communities."

Aevidum, a Lititz-based nonprofit, empowers youth to have their friends' backs and create cultures of care and advocacy in schools across the nation.

Along with mental health experts, the organization has developed an authentic, age appropriate program that will allow students to share information with their peers.

The intention is to start with the high school students and spread the message into the elementary schools.

Thursday's event starts with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:15 a.m. and features a concert by the band Flintface from 8:20 to 9 a.m.

Training will run from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 1:15 p.m. with a lunch in between.

Joe Vulopas, teacher and Aevidum executive director, and Jim Presto, also of Aevidum, will be present at the training.

Aevidum teaches them to take the time to talk to their friend and encourage them to talk to a responsible adults, as well as drive awareness throughout the entire school.

Over 100 high schools and middle schools in Pennsylvania have adopted their model, which adapts to any existing initiatives a district has already implemented

"Studies show that 85 percent of people that we lose to suicide have suffered from a mental illness and the Center for Disease Control states that suicide of ages 15-24 is the second leading cause for loss of life," according to the release. "There are many students that are coming forward for help with mental health issues. However many more do not come forward due to the stigma around it. Those are the kids we are most concerned with."

The training is sponsored by The Bo Tkach Foundation and the family of Robert Best of Northern Lehigh.

Read the article on the the Times News website.www.tnonline.com

2nd Annual Turkey Trot.

Condly wins second annual Bo Tkach Turkey Trot

The second annual Bo Tkach Foundation Turkey Trot was held Thursday morning in Palmerton.

Jonathan Condly finished as the top male runner and first overall with a time of 16:16.

Cassandra Tripaldi was the first female to cross the finish line with a time of 18:56.

Tripaldi finished eighth overall.

Tripaldi
Cassandra Tripaldi was the first female to cross the finish line Thursday at the second annual Bo Tkach Foundation Turkey Trot in Palmerton with a time of 18:56. Tripaldi finished eighth overall. Pictured, from left, are Sandy Tkach, Tripaldi and Jim Tkach. ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Condly
Jonathan Condly finished as the top male runner and first overall Thursday at the second annual Bo Tkach Foundation Turkey Trot in Palmerton with a time of 16:16. Pictured, from left, are Sandy Tkach, Condly and Jim Tkach.

Read the article on the the Times News website.www.tnonline.com

The Lehighton Field Hockey Team sponsored an awareness game for the Bo Tkach Foundation.

Banners

In addition to their Friday afternoon game vs. Bethlehem Catholic, They sold shirts for the foundation and sponsored an awareness booth at the Lehighton Panther Valley Football game.

Under the Leadership of Lisa Sawyer they created an information platform and sold shirts with the Bo Tkach Foundation website address on the printing.

Our thanks to Lisa, the field hockey and football teams.

A special thank you to the Lehighton Community and School District for their efforts during this event.