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Self Care Fair to Raise Awareness About Mental Health

Local Girl Scouts, NAMI raise awareness about mental wellbeing among youth at fun, family event


The community is invited to a Self-Care Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at Girl Scout Camp Honi Honta in Bradenton. The family-friendly event will feature a variety of hands-on activities focused on health and wellness for all ages. Activities will include arts and crafts, games, yoga sessions, parent resources, and more.

Additionally, there will be pet therapy dogs and light and healthy snacks available. The Self Care Fair is one of several activities the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida has undertaken recently in partnership with NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties to encourage mental wellness among families. The event is being offered as part of the 2024 Giving Challenge.

The Giving Challenge is a bi-annual 24-hour fundraising event that will take place from noon to noon on April 9 to 10. Presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Giving Challenge is designed to build relationships, support diverse causes, and create enduring impact in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. Donations between $25 and $100 are matched dollar for dollar throughthe generosity of The Patterson Foundation. All donations made during the Giving Challenge are unrestricted gifts to the nonprofit organization of your choice.

“We are excited to offer activities and training to help families identify and provide solutions when someone, no matter what age, might not be feeling their best,” said Mary Anne Servian, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. “By working with NAMI on the 2024 Giving Challenge, we are working together to fulfill our organization’s broader mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.”

In 2023, a study by Mental Health American reported that more than 1 in 10 youth in the United States are experiencing depression that is severely impairing their ability to function at school or work, at home, with family or in their social life.

“NAMI offers a variety of programming to assist people of all ages, from youth to adult, on their journey to mental wellness, and we are excited to assist the Girl Scouts in reaching area families with important tips on how to handle well-being challenges,” said Colleen Thayer, executive director of NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties. “For the Self Care Fair, our staff has intentionally created fun, engaging activities for all ages designed to raise awareness about mental health.”

The partnership between the two organizations extends beyond the local level. NAMI National recently collaborated with Girl Scouts USA to create a mental wellness curriculum for the organization’s Junior (4th-5th grade), Cadette (6th-8th grade), and Senior (9th-10th grade) troops. The new Mental Wellness Patch program includes activities that foster resilience and help girls to better understand their world. The program reminds girls that they are never alone in facing challenges and further invites them to dive into and understand their emotions.

“The Giving Challenge was the catalyst for both NAMI and the Girl Scouts to start the conversation about ways that we can work together,” Thayer said. “We are thrilled with what we have achieved so far and looking forward to even more programming together in the future.”

On March 23, the two local organizations will join with HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital to host an event to help local Girl Scouts earn mental wellness and first aid patches. Therapists and nurses from the hospital and trained staff from NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties will lead a workshop for youth in 4th through 12th grades. In June, the local Girl Scouts will be hosting a gathering at the Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice for their volunteers and troop leaders. During the event, NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties will facilitate a 30-minute wellness-based training activity that the Girl Scout leaders can then present to their troops.

“We are incredibly thankful to be partnering with NAMI and offering mental wellness opportunities for our families,” Servian said. “We hope the community will join us on April 6 at Camp Honi Honta for an afternoon of fun, healthy activities.”

To learn more about the Self Care Fair and register for this free, family-friendly event, click here.


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