Marathon runners know how to dig deep and that endurance translates into major fundraising when they take on a special cause. One of the hallmarks of the Mad Marathon is having so many runners helping a local nonprofit. Both Hannah's House and the Mad Marathon are celebrating five years this July. They have grown together, literally step by step, since the Marathon is Hannah's House's major funding source. Hannah's House has become an important resource for the Mad River Valley offering local access to quality counseling, information, community programming and alternative therapies. One of their primary goals is to expand the tools kids and teenagers have in order to prevent problems.
Hannah's House, Inc., a nonprofit psychotherapy center located at Mad River Valley Health Center, was founded in 2010 to honor the memory of Hannah Bedford, an athlete, artist and runner who grew up in the Mad River Valley. Hannah's House has grown to include three licensed therapists and a part-time executive director. Hannah's House provides office space that is easily accessible for affiliated therapists in order to counsel children and families. The therapists in turn volunteer hours to Hannah's House for consultations and group therapy sessions and offer other professional expertise.
"When my daughter Hannah began to change in high school from a happy, high-achieving student to a moody, depressed teenager, I found it very difficult to access help, let alone understand how to help her. Our journey continued downward until I finally connected with a wonderful counselor in Burlington. He introduced me to some communication tools that began to change our relationship in a positive way. The outcome was not what I wished, but I could only wish I had had the knowledge earlier; it might have helped both of us," said founder Cindy Carr.
Hannah's House was founded to pass these tools along and to focus on prevention by offering local, accessible counseling services to children, adolescents and families. They are able to supplement fees for people who are unable to pay and to help where insurance will not cover services (www.hannahshousevt.org).
Last year Hannah's House mental health counselors provided more than 1,000 therapy hours to children, individuals and families close to home. Hannah's House partners with local schools, businesses and organizations to build support in the community and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
"Team Hannah started with only four runners in the first year and has grown to last year's Team Hannah's 102 runners and walkers raising over $50,000. One hundred percent of the funds raised at the marathon, along with grants and individual donations, are used for operating costs. We are committed to providing community programing including youth outreach and counseling activities, parent and community education, client assistance, scholarships, information and consultations," said director Barbara Christie-Garvin.
"Running and fundraising for Hannah's House is very meaningful to me. Hannah was one of my closest friends. Growing up in this beautiful valley, memories abound at just about every section of the course. I run because it's my way of honoring Hannah, my life and abilities, as well as this amazing nonprofit, that has made a difference in so many people's lives. I hope you'll consider joining our team or making a donation to this wonderful cause!" Sara Pomerantz said.
To support a runner go to www.crowdrise.com/TeamHannahsHouse2015/fundraiser.
Another runner, Dennis Teravainen, has come from Boston all five years and is friends with Hannah's sister Meg.
"Running for Hannah's House is a fulfilling way for us to honor Hannah and her extended family. At the same time, we are also supporting a cause that universally impacts all of us. Hannah's House has helped to fill a void in the Mad River Valley by providing emotional health support services. Its concept was compelling to us as a cause from the get-go. And with every passing year, Hannah's House continues to impress us with its expanding reach. If all it takes to raise some money is running a few miles on lots of hills, that's the least we can do," he said.
"We pack up the minivan with our kids and a ton of gear, then show them the summer side of the Mad River Valley. The race weekend also operates as a de facto reunion for our UVM friends. Families are coming in from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Arizona. We throw all of our kids together, so they can entertain one another while the adults fire up a grill and enjoy whatever Lawson has brewed that summer. Honestly, it's a three-day party where we laugh a lot, get little sleep and end up driving home with really sore legs. We savor the memories and then look forward to next year when we can do it all over again," Teravainen continued.