In many American towns, there are risks that are around and can prove to be dangerous, especially with families and youth around the dangers that are present in said towns.
The Counseling Center, Inc. and Compass Community Health, however, aren’t going to let said dangers win without a fight.
That was proven again on Saturday morning, when the duo joined forces once again to hold the Ninth Annual Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival at Earl Thomas Conley Park in West Portsmouth.
The Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival, which offered Iron Body Fitness Boot Camp, SOMC Cardio Drumming, and Yoga in the Park classes on Saturday, uses the entire profit obtained from participants and donating business to fundraise for the Summer Outreach Club, a free nine-week summer day camp for Scioto County children from the ages of five to 12.
And without the help that comes from the communities all across Scioto County, Melissa Whitt, who is the community relations and development director at Compass Community Health and The Counseling Center, Inc., believes that many of the kids involved with the program would miss out on the enrichment that the program offers.
“A lot of these kids wouldn’t be doing anything all summer,” Whitt said. “They’d just be hanging out on the street or sitting in the house. This gets the kids out. They learn, it’s enriching, they go to the museum, and they go to the library. The program helps stimulate their minds and keeps them active throughout the summer.”
Shawnee State University junior-to-be Megan Shupert, who is a 2015 Portsmouth West High School graduate and a softball player for the Bears, has seen the struggles that some of her fellow classmates have gone through. So she has used what she’s used over the course of her lifespan to give back by participating as a volunteer in the program.
“It’s really great because it gets those kids involved,” Shupert said of the Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival. “It shows them what it’s like to be a healthy and active adult. Seeing adults do that sets a really good example for the kids. There’s a lot of drug activity in our communities, too, so to make kids aware of the activities that they can do in the area and get them out there doing them is a really great thing. All of the communities in Scioto County really help us a lot by donating and being involved in this event, too.
And in her short time of being involved with the program, Shupert’s already noticed some excellent qualities that have helped the program stand out on its own.
“It’s great to see their lives being changed from what they were to what they are now,” Shupert said, “with them being active and involved in their respective communities.”
Reece Brown and Bri Tudor, who are former Shawnee State University graduates and were cross country/track and field athletes at the school, were the male and female winners of the 5k.
To donate, go to thecounselingcenter.org or call at (740) 354-6685.