By Meghan Nelligan
Jessica Kwok is a volunteer for the New Jersey chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Specifically, she is a part of the Spring into Wellness committee, an event that began last year during the peak of COVID-19 which aimed to give individuals an online space to practice wellness by setting goals for the month of May which is also Mental Health Awareness Month.
These goals related to wellness, with an emphasis that this term could mean something different for everyone. People could set goals for the month such as reading a certain amount of hours or running a certain amount of miles and would keep track of their progress through the fundraising site Donor Drive. Kwok said she and her team didn’t want to limit the event to just physical activity as, “mental health is so much bigger” and the way in which one practices self-care is different just as everyone’s experience with mental health is.
Despite having the first Spring into Wellness fundraiser virtually, the New Jersey Chapter went above their goal, raising more money than anticipated and having a ton of people participate. The committee is starting up again soon, preparing for the next fundraising event this May. Kwok says if anyone is interested in being a part of the event planning, they should reach out. Their goal is to make this year’s fundraiser bigger and better than the last. Jessica Kwok also uses her creativity to help in her volunteer role with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; creating graphics for the chapter such as logos on t-shirts and personalized cards for Volunteer Appreciation Week. She first got involved with the organization in 2017, after several people she knew died by suicide. Her activism began with community walks and from there, she reached out to do volunteer work, becoming a committee member for the NJ team.
Kwok says that holding fundraisers such as Spring into Wellness is important because it spreads awareness and reminds people they’re not alone: “the more we have events or talk about it, the more we can make people aware...Mental Health is just as important as your physical health, if not more.”
To get involved with the Spring into Wellness Committee, contact Beth Stapleton, Volunteer Coordinator for the NJ Chapter at email@example.com or 908-798-1701.