Local Nonprofit Develops Mental Health Digital Toolkits Coming Fall 2020


The Cameron K. Gallagher (CKG) Foundation is a teen mental health organization dedicated to erasing stigma and providing education. The mission is to fulfill Cameron’s dream and legacy by being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety. The group seeks to shepherd whispered conversations about teen mental health out of hiding and into the light of hope by providing opportunity for open, supportive conversations. Through educational programs and community events like the SpeakUp5k, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation is elevating mental health with physical health.

Cameron Gallagher was a 16-year-old who suffered from anxiety and depression. She designed the annual SpeakUp5k race as her expression of hope and to erase stigma associated with mental health. Cameron lost her life due to an undiagnosed heart condition just after she finished the 2014 Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. The 7th Annual Dominion Payroll SpeakUp5k presented by Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU is September 12, 2020. This year to comply with community health priorities, it is a virtual race. Participants can register individually or with a group.

Other programs include: CKG Mental Wellness Education - an online toolkit available through schools and other groups, Conversations with CKG - a platform for expert led dialogue, SpeakUp Clubs, SpeakUp Race Team, and a CKG Community Speakers Bureau.

The CKG Foundation amplified strategic priorities already in place. Like many, their team always seeks efficiency and lean processes. COVID-19 made that critically important to their survival. They identified the critical aspects of their business operations and output to achieving mission delivery and focused completely on these functions.

Additionally, because of long term successes with in-person delivery of CKG Mental Wellness Education Programs, requests for more access increased over the years. CKG was working with scalability as a strategic priority. When COVID-19 hit, urgency for them to develop digital resources, online versions of their workshops increased. They are developing an innovative set of CKG Mental Wellness Digital Toolkits available as a 'first - to market' phase in Fall 2020. Internally CKG branded their new operations model as 'CKG 2.0' and with great leadership the critical team leans fully into a laser - focused, efficient operating model. They rely heavily on Zoom, Teams, StreamYard and other platforms to meet with their stakeholders in the best way they can.

Perhaps the most important take away from COVID-19 is the leveling up of their personal and professional commitment to walking their talk - something they already prioritized. Their own mental health is top priority. Taking a pause when needed to reset, practicing mindfulness concepts to promote good judgement and stress awareness, fastening their own oxygen mask so they can help others is a COVID-19 reminder for all time.

CKG put urgency on their scalability priority which has a positive economic result. They align with the critical need of prioritizing teen mental health amplified by COVID-19. They reorganized their weekly work operations to minimize cost by working from home as much as possible. By collaborating with funders and with ahead-of-the-game communication, CKG engineered their grant awards to sustain program delivery in a virtual environment.

A way the community can help is by living their mission by prioritizing mental health, your own and the youth of your world. You can participate in their free program offerings like Conversations with CKG. Follow their social media channels and share, share, share. You can start or participate in mental health conversations. Feel free to reach out and make CKG aware of funding opportunities.

To learn more or register for the SpeakUp5k, visit www.ckgfoundation.org.

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