The kid on the scooter sidled up to me with a smile on his face.
“My mom is running in this race,” he told me proudly, as another group of sweat soaked runners charged past us.
Last Sunday I found myself posted in the middle of the course for the Lucero 5K, a major fundraising effort to support the Latino Mental Health Program at MSPP. My main duty involved cheering on the runners and signaling the water station up ahead. I was assisted in this task by my young friend on the scooter, who enjoyed circling the paved paths to take stock of how many runners had passed and how many were on their way.
After the race wrapped up, volunteers, runners, walkers, and their supporters gathered in the MSPP parking lot to enjoy a barbecue. The day felt like a celebration – I had a wonderful time cheering on the participants and meeting other MSPP students. However, the mission of the Latino Mental Health Program is serious: to assist psychology students in becoming bilingual, bicultural professionals who can better meet the mental health needs of underserved Latinos/as. This race is run in memory of Dr. Cynthia Lucero, an MSPP graduate who was committed to improving mental health services for the Latino community.
I am also committed to working with Latino students and families in Massachusetts, and I felt gratified to see so much support for the MSPP program and Cynthia’s family. I look forward to volunteering next year – maybe I’ll even have my own scooter by then!
All photos were taken by Alie Stoddard: