This spring, The Haverford School cross-country program partnered with the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania to raise funds for mental health care for veterans. The team raised more than $4,000 that will help provide services to military veterans and their families who are challenged by mental health issues.
Fifth formers and cross-country teammates Colin Stewart and Ben Szathmary spearheaded the campaign. The boys were inspired by the fundraising efforts of retired Navy Seal turned ultra marathon runner David Goggins, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation through different running and endurance events. Colin, Ben, and the cross-country team were extremely proud of the money they were able to raise for the Cohen Clinic.
“When Ben and I started raising funds we weren’t sure how well we would ultimately do,” explained Colin. “When we got the final number back, it was unbelievable. I remember recounting and checking the addition because I believed we must have something wrong.”
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic’s mission is to improve the quality of life for military families and veterans, including those from the National Guard and Reserves, regardless of role or discharge status. The organization has served over 1,700 veterans and family members since 2016 and focuses on post-9/11 veterans. The goal for the Cohen Clinic is to provide all veterans and their families access to high-quality mental health care that allows them to lead fulfilling, productive lives.
Our community has been hit hard by the pandemic, and our team is working tirelessly to rise to the challenge. Community support keeps our services accessible to veterans and their families, and our entire team has been so inspired by Colin and Benjamin's passion, hard work and leadership in organizing the fundraiser.
The students raised the funds through three different means. They held an advisory raffle in which prizes were given out to the raffle winners. Prizes included gift cards to Shake Shack and Dunkin Donuts, and a dress down day. The cross-country team also held a paid dress down day where Upper School students donated a few dollars to come to school in the clothing of their choice. The boys also held a sponsored run called Miles for Money. There were a total of 12 students who participated in the run and the participant’s sponsor contributed a set amount of money per mile completed. Colin and Ben plan on holding even more events next year to raise money.
“In the future, Colin and I simply want to get even more students involved and continue to spread awareness surrounding veterans’ mental health,” Ben said. “Nothing is concrete, but we have brainstormed some new ideas. We are thinking about hosting the sponsored run during the cross-country season because then it would involve the entire team.”
The Cohen Clinic’s Director Dr. Leah Blain and Executive Director Dr. David Oslin, along with Marketing & Communications Strategist Chelsea Lewis, held a Zoom call with Colin, Ben, and Jini Loos, The Haverford’s School Director of Service Learning, on Wednesday, May 26 to share their appreciation for their fundraising efforts.
“When Colin and Benjamin first contacted us, we were nearly speechless. Their message couldn't have come at a better time,” explained Dr. Blain. “Our community has been hit hard by the pandemic, and our team is working tirelessly to rise to the challenge. Community support keeps our services accessible to veterans and their families, and our entire team has been so inspired by Colin and Benjamin's passion, hard work and leadership in organizing the fundraiser. From everyone at the Cohen Clinic - thank you to Colin, Benjamin, Ms. Loos, and everyone who supported the campaign!”
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania provides high quality mental health care for veterans and military members at no cost and with no long waits. Their services include personalized, evidence-based mental care.They offer early morning and evening hours, transportation assistance, and telehealth to help military families easily access the care they deserve. Click here to learn more about the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic and their services.