Hi, my name is Ezekiel. I’m a senior at OPRF High School and the executive director of A Step in the Right Direction, a student organization that aims to walk 5,000,000 steps (2,500 miles) for mental health on Sunday, Sept. 25. I’d like to share with you some information about this challenge.

A little over a year ago, my friend Jackson and I walked 100,000 steps in one day and raised $15,000 for mental health charities, NAMI and Thrive, so we decided to build off that idea this year. But instead of walking on our own, we created an event where everyone is invited to walk and log their steps on our website during the day of the event. I got in touch with five people at now partner cities across the nation, where college students are walking for the cause. These coordinators are in charge of their locations and we set a national collective goal of 5,000,000 steps in those 24 hours.

Locally in Oak Park, we’ve been able to book a physical location for this walk. The high school has agreed to provide us with the outdoor track on Lake Street from 5:30 p.m. onward (likely until 7:30) so we’ll be hosting an event with tables, food, etc. to raise awareness, raise funding, and raise calves for mental health.

The money raised in Chicagoland goes toward NAMI Metro Suburban and Thrive Counseling Center, organizations that provide 24/7 crisis support, psychiatric help, therapy, and more resources to the community. We believe mental health is an overlooked issue, so we think it’d be really cool to use the connection between going outside/exercise and mental health to establish an event.

We also have been working closely with the business community and have five business sponsors in Oak Park and Forest Park, and we’re also promoting our event through those organizations.

We’re excited to get the community involved in as many ways as we can, and if you like the story, we look forward to hearing back.

Website: https://www.astepintherightdirection.us/

Promo video: https://youtu.be/3M9U3xTH4lo

Ezekiel Wells
OPRF High School senior

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