Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 5:42pm
John Willcock College in Geraldton has been announced as the first school that Hawaiian Ride for Youth riders will visit on the new Mid West route from Geraldton to Perth in March next year.
The 43 riders will stop off at John Willcock on March 21 which is the first day of the 4 ½ day ride from Geraldton to Perth.
Two riders will talk to students and discuss this year’s theme of “connect” which relates to the importance of young people connecting to services as well as to their friends and families when they need help with mental health issues. The theme also emphasises the connections that the riders have with each other.
The award-winning Hawaiian Ride for Youth raises funds for Youth Focus which is a Western Australian for purpose organisation that works to support young people aged 12-25 with mental health issues and to prevent youth suicide.
The Ride also includes three pelotons from Albany to Perth – Coastal, Inland and Wheatbelt.
Youth Focus CEO Fiona Kalaf, who visited John Willcock College today (December 14) said she was pleased the school was supporting the Hawaiian Ride for Youth which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2017.
“John Willcock has a strong commitment to caring for young people and for supporting their physical and mental health needs along with their education,” Ms Kalaf said.
“The Hawaiian Ride for Youth will further strengthen our relationship with the school which is already strong through our work in the Geraldton headspace office.”
Ms Kalaf said the 700 kilometre Mid West ride would start from the Geraldton Mantra carpark and travel through Morawa, Dalwallinu, New Norcia, Toodyay, Northam and then onto Kings Park on March 25.
She said a second school would be visited on the new route but this was still to be announced.
“We are delighted that a peloton of eight teams will ride the new route with cyclists raising awareness about our life-saving services, as well as raising funds for Youth Focus,” Ms Kalaf said.
“Not only will the riders visit two schools along the way but they will also engage with various community organisations about Youth Focus and the Ride.”
Next year’s Hawaiian Ride for Youth will comprise a total of 185 riders across 34 teams that will cycle almost 3,000 kilometres on the four pelotons from Albany to Perth and from Geraldton to Perth.
Riders will visit 23 schools promoting positive mental health and awareness to more than 3,500 students.
“The statistics around suicide are alarming,” Ms Kalaf said.
“One Western Australian takes their own life every day including one young person under the age of 25 each week.
“That is why events like the Hawaiian Ride for Youth are so important in raising awareness about mental health issues as well as raising the funds needed to support vulnerable young people.”
The event has raised more than $15 million since it started in 2003 with $10 million raised in the past five years alone.