Stepping up to pedal for youth mental health

APM Employable Me CEO Fiona Kalaf is pictured with the Hawaiian cycling team

7,000 kilometres of training and more than 30,000 metres of climbing up hills on bicycles. And that’s before they even get to the start line

The Hawaiian Ride for Youth begins on Tuesday 23 March and will see 136 cyclists ride 700 kilometres over four and a half days on one of three routes from Albany to Perth.

The three routes are laid out through Western Australia’s stunning South West, Great Southern and Wheatbelt regions.

Along the way, the pelotons stop at regional high schools and riders share personal stories of resilience, wellbeing, and the importance of good mental health.

Around 3,000 students attend the presentations, which are connected to the work of youth mental health and suicide prevention service, Youth Focus.

Youth Focus are an independent organisation who support vulnerable young people in Western Australia. They offer a range of mental health services from a highly trained team of professionals to provide a range of early intervention and prevention services free of charge.

Riders will do more than turn over the pedals: the Hawaiian Ride for Youth turns over around $2 million each year in fundraising to support the life-saving work of Youth Focus.

APM has been a corporate supporter of the Ride since 2019.

APM Group Compliance Director Greg Meyerowitz has completed the ride twice, and Employable Me CEO Fiona Kalaf completed it in 2019, although her plans for 2020 were put on hold when the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. This year, Fiona is back on her bike.

“It’s a hugely rewarding experience – it’s a difficult physical challenge to complete the training and then to do Ride Week itself, yet it’s made easier by knowing that the cause is so vital. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged under 25, and I believe we all have a responsibility to help our youth,” Fiona said.

“The support of APM in community is very meaningful – I feel so proud to ride as an APMer!” she said.

To show your support for the riders and Youth Focus, you can make a donation via the Ride For Youth website.