Kicking for a Cause

Students raise money for mental health awareness


Delaney Ellebracht, Reporter

On Mon., Oct. 10, seven enthusiastic teams competed for the Out of the Darkness kickball championship title. Students gathered together on the football field for excitement and a greater purpose.

The rivalry of AP Squares and AP Cubes brought students out for some friendly competition, and since the Cubes were last year’s third place team, the stakes were high. 

It goes much deeper than the game, though, because our players and supporters had an important goal to reach. Each year, this tournament, organized through the collaboration of Battle Volunteer Corps (BVC) and Youth Kindness Ambassadors (YKA), raises money for the Missouri chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The foundation uses that money to give back to schools in the area. 

The Out of the Darkness Walk, put on by AFSP, is an opportunity to recognize the effects of mental health conditions and suicide on our community and the people we care about. This year marked Columbia’s eighth walk. “The walks make sure that you are not alone,” Beth Hendren, Columbia walk chair, said. “It brought me out of the darkness”. 

At last year’s kickball tournament, there were seven teams with a total of seventy players and over 150 students participating in the event. This year we came close to that turn out with seven teams and 56 players, with about 150 total participating in the event. At five dollars to play and five dollars for food, a drink, and a snow cone, students raised over 600 dollars for AFSP.

 “We are working to destigmatize mental health in public education,” Matt Leutchmann, [BVC and YKA sponsor, said. 

 The Squares came out on top, winning every game they played. At the end of the day, the team was handed the grand prize, a trophy topped with a golden kickball.

President of YKA and BVC, Allison Harris, said, “The AP Squares went over the top on everything ‘team’. Even though it took 30 minutes to find a usable kickball, it was a great experience that I hope continues for as long as Battle is open.”