Ridgeview seniors target powderpuff game to support mental health

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 9/21/22

ORANGE PARK — A pair of Ridgeview High seniors are raising money for charity with a powderpuff football game.

Students practice with their instruments and doing homework in the school’s …

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Ridgeview seniors target powderpuff game to support mental health

Posted

ORANGE PARK — A pair of Ridgeview High seniors are raising money for charity with a powderpuff football game.

Students practice with their instruments and doing homework in the school’s courtyard when school ends. In a classroom, students work on banners for the game at 7 p.m. on Thursday, which is when students hope to secure $1,000 in ticket sales and donations to support Clay Behavioral Health Center.

Powderpuff football refers to a high school outing where football players and cheerleaders trade places. International Baccalaureate program students Kloe Goolsby and Abby Bressler decided for the program’s community service component they would raise money for Clay Behavioral.

Bressler said the school had similar events before, but those events were recreational. The IB students have Community Activity and Service projects with seven criteria, about 150 service hours.

“This started in the middle of last year,” she said. “We had to get it approved by our CAS coordinator and (Principal Becky) Murphy to see how she felt about it.”

Mental health is a serious topic that’s often overlooked, Goolsby said. Social media and a school environment can place stress on students, she said.

“Since it is a community-based project we really wanted to raise money for something that isn’t as talked about,” Goolsby said. “Mental health is kind of brushed past.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in six children ages 6-to-17 will experience a mental health disorder each year such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression or anxiety.

However, about half of young people categorized with mental health conditions received any kind of treatment in the past year, the organization said.

“We wanted to stay local just so we weren’t putting money into an organization that already gets a bunch of fundraising,” Bressler said.

“It’s something that hasn’t been done at Ridgeview in so long,” Goolsby said.

Goolsby said they needed a teacher to oversee the financial aspect of the project while they organized the event. Teachers Carolyn Holt and Rachel Ryan filled those supervisory roles.

“It’s impressive you have two students kind of putting this whole thing together,” Holt said. “We’re in the background.”

“We’re the ones annoying them with the reminders,” Ryan laughed. “But they’re organizing students to take tickets, they’re organizing students to volunteer. That’s what’s neat about it, there’s a lot of people getting service hours.”

Ryan referred to teachers versus students’ festivities that could occur in the future. The powderpuff game is a completely after-school endeavor, she said.

“This is the first time we’re having an entire game,” Ryan said.

Holt said she immediately told the students yes when she heard the idea.

“I just thought it was a really good cause,” Holt said. “I was like, ‘Absolutely we can do that.’”

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