While many students get involved in their school by joining clubs, participating in a school sport, or running for student council, senior April Reynolds found another way to get involved.
No Eagle Left Behind was created during her sophomore year and since then Reynolds has stepped up and played a huge role in promoting mental awareness and positivity around Godwin.
In the past few years, the organization has hosted various “kindness weeks,” as well as put up displays around the school promoting mental health.
As their name suggests, No Eagle Left Behind promotes inclusivity around Godwin.
“We like to believe that everyone is involved in No Eagle Left Behind. There is no club membership. If you have a sticker on your computer you are a part of it, if you participate in chalk days you are a part of it,” said Reynolds.
Mental health awareness is very important to Reynolds and she does all she can to help those around the school.
“I just hope we can reach people, even if it’s just one person, I hope that it does something for someone,’’ said Reynolds.
No Eagle Left Behind has done many things to spread awareness. “Chalk days,” schoology surveys, “mindful Mondays,” and positive sticky notes posted on the counseling room windows are just a few.
Recently, Reynolds and others participated in the SpeakUp5k.
The inspiration to create the SpeakUp5k was from Cameron K. Gallagher.
Gallagher struggled with depression and anxiety throughout her teenage years.
However, she turned her experience into something positive and used her passion for mental health to spread awareness and help others through the SpeakUp5k.
On March 16, 2014 sophomore Cameron Gallagher passed away minutes after crossing the finish line of a half marathon she had been training for. Cameron’s family then formed the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation and completed the plans for the 5k.
“The SpeakUp5k is a really positive, colorful 5k. It’s more on the side of celebrating life and being super happy to be who you are,” said Reynolds.
The money raised through the SpeakUp5k goes toward the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, which is a non-profit organization in Richmond, Va.
The program spreads awareness by hosting events and activities around the community.
For example, they offer community screenings, parent “chat nights,” yoga classes to reduce stress, and more.
The outcome of the walk was better than expected. In prior years, not as many Godwin students had attended, but this year enough Godwin students participated to make a team.
“It was so much fun, normally it is just me as our only ambassador so the fact that we had a team was pretty cool. Everybody was super happy to be there, and it was just a super positive environment,” said Reynolds.
No Eagle Left Behind will also be participating in the Out of Darkness 5k walk in Oct. It is not a run, but a walk to celebrate the life of those who have passed away from suicide or have dealt with suicide.
The walk will take place Oct. 19 at Deep Run Park and is largely promoted by Godwin. A link will be released on schoology with more information for those who wish to sign up and participate.
Reynolds believes that mental health is a pervasive matter that is prevalent throughout schools, communities, and the world.
However, she believes it oftentimes goes overlooked. Reynolds has taken the initiative to try to curb this problem, starting with Godwin.
The SpeakUp5k and the Out of Darkness 5k are both steps that have been taken to help spread the word about mental health awareness, but what matters even more to the members of No Eagle Left Behind is that they are affecting individuals in a positive way.
Reynolds describes her experience with the group in one word – powerful.
“It is really cool to see people’s reactions, they are so shocked that people care about them,” said Reynolds.