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Shine To Be Kind gives grads something to celebrate during 'emotionally draining year'

'Our community continues to inspire us by creating virtual initiatives and these projects are so appreciated by us,' says CMHA official

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Simcoe County is getting a little help from a local initiative that shines the light on graduates of an unprecedented school year.

Teara Stringer and her husband, Dave, saw the effect that the current pandemic was having on people’s mental health and needed to do something about it. 

Stringer told BarrieToday that through their Shine To Be Kind group, they are running a six-month fundraising campaign for the CMHA of Simcoe County to promote positive mental health, all while helping graduates experience a little bit of normalcy 

“We’re hoping to raise $5,000 by the end of September, so right now we are currently selling 2021 grad packs, with $10 from each pack being donated to CMHA of Simcoe County,” said Stringer. “We could have donated money and that's it, but this gets people involved and doing things that they may have otherwise missed out on.”

Grad packs will include a Class of 2021 hoodie, water bottle, Shine To Be Kind face mask and a specialized grad hat chocolate from Chelsea Chocolates.

“Our daughter is graduating from Grade 8, so we know the importance of kids needing something special from a very emotionally draining year,” said Stringer. “This gives them something to have to mark their accomplishment and helps the CMHA locally.”

The grad packs campaign is part of what Stringer calls the Six Pillars of Positive Mental Health, which focuses on promoting a positive mental wellness through six aspects: physical, emotional, environmental, social, spiritual, and financial.

Mental health and wellness are important to the family.

“We have been focused on helping with mental health issues before COVID hit. My husband and I have both had our own mental health journeys and especially so during this last year,” said Stringer. “My husband was laid off because of the lockdowns, but was able to find purpose in doing all the work with editing and production with this campaign. It's even helping us.”

Liz Grummett, the CMHA's fundraising and communications manager, said Shine to be Kind and the Stringer family are “incredible” and the help is more important than ever.  

“CMHA Simcoe County is honoured to have the support of Shine to be Kind, their campaign the Six Pillars of Positive Mental Health brings much-needed awareness to the importance of taking care of your mental health, especially during these difficult times,” she said. 

Similar to other charity organizations, Grummett says fundraising looks different for CMHA Simcoe County during the pandemic. 

“Our community continues to inspire us by creating virtual initiatives and these projects are so appreciated by us,” she said. “We know that self-care and reaching out for support is imperative now more than ever.”

The campaign runs until September. The Stringers can only accept orders until May 28 due to the turnaround time on the items. Deliveries are the week of June 20. Stringer said if you live in Simcoe County, delivery is free. 

If anyone would like to assist with sponsorship or wants to know more about the grad packs and Shine To Be Kind, head to the website by clicking here. To head to the CMHA Simcoe County page for info on the Grad Packs, click on this link.