JOINING TOGETHER TO MAKE A
Move for Mind was co-founded by Emily Hudak and Taylor Newman in 2019 after the two came together to organize a community 5K event to raise money and awareness for mental health.
Emily was pursuing her Master’s in clinical mental health counseling at The College of New Jersey, and while reflecting on why she chose to organize an event, she says “As someone who likes to run races that support causes, I felt like there weren’t many mental health races, at least locally.”
Taylor, mourning the loss of his cousin Sam who died earlier that year from a drug overdose, was looking to give back to the community and help those struggling with mental health. “Running saved my life from my own depression and near suicide, so after Sam died, I was looking to help others and share what I had learned about running; that it’s a powerful tool and can help improve our mental health.”
A DESIRE TO DO MORE
As Emily and Taylor partnered and got to work, both felt more could be done to improve mental health in our communities. Both agreed more people could benefit from movement and living healthier lives, and working towards advocating for this was necessary. Two months later, on December 11, 2019, The Move for Mind Foundation was officially incorporated as a New Jersey Non-Profit Corporation and subsequently granted 501(c)(3) tax-exemption.
PERSEVERING THROUGH CHALLENGES
As interest and support in Move for Mind grew, over the coming months, Emily & Taylor prepared to launch the organization on April 26th, 2020 with the original planned 5k event in Flemington, New Jersey. As event preparations were taking place, and the non-profit expanded to bring on new team members, Move for Mind was faced with the challenge of the new COVID-19 pandemic.
While the 5K event permit was pulled, and as the nation and world went into lockdown, Emily and Taylor were faced with a decision: push forward with announcing and launching Move for Mind in the midst of a global pandemic, or wait for a more opportune time in hopes of garnering more support. Emily and Taylor decided to move forward with the launch, uncertain what the future would hold, and on April 4th, 2020, Move for Mind was announced to the public.
TWO YEARS OF IMPACT
Move for Mind began fulfilling our mission in April 2020, while the world was facing lockdowns and fearing an unknown virus. Promoting advocacy and open dialogue was our solution to a cultural and clinical mental health problem that was only worsened by the effects of COVID-19. We launched our online blog and podcast media platforms and began sharing stories of how mental health has affected us and the ones around us. Ending the silence became the focus, and we spoke up.
We launched our internship program in January 2021, and to date have provided over 50 internship positions to young adults all over the nation seeking to improve mental health through their education and future careers. In April 2021 we established our organization headquarters in downtown New Brunswick, NJ, and have broadened our reach to cover the regional tri-state area.
2021 also saw the creation of our annual Addiction Sucks campaign, an awareness and fundraising campaign created to fight for an end to addiction. Through our digital media platforms, we advocated for fighting addiction, hosted nationally recognized speakers Tony Hoffman and Ken Bartolo, and raised nearly $15,000 dollars for the campaign.
Through our commitment to education, we developed our first educational outreach program Steps to Success, a movement-based social-emotional learning program for high school-aged students. In partnership with the Genesis Program, Steps to Success was piloted and launched over the summer of 2021 in Whilton, Connecticut.
RUNNING INTO THE FUTURE
Through the last two years of establishing our organization and impacting those around us, Move for Mind has redefined who we are and what we do. We are pleased to announce our new mission, vision, and values, and are in the process of announcing and launching multiple new aspects to our organization including community activities, educational outreach initiatives, and a variety of events offered throughout 2022. We are currently developing partnerships to ensure our mission is achieved at the highest possible level, and have expanded our operating communities to include Southern California. It is our goal to improve mental health in our communities through running, and we are positioned to continue on our path of growth and deepened impact. To learn more about us and our 2022 plans, you can read our official 2022 Strategic Plan.