Resident Feature

You Rock, Let’s Walk!

The senior class of the Teen and Parent Service (TAPS) organization of Walnut Creek hosted a mental health walk—You Rock, Let’s Walk!—on May 1st at Heather Farms Park. The event began with two speakers. First, Las Lomas senior Esme Hurley talked about her mental health struggles during her final year of high school. Hurley told the crowd: “I am here to say that life doesn’t get better, but you get better.” 

Scott Chavez from the Contra Costa Crisis Center provided suicide resources, a safety plan, and guidance to teens on preserving their mental health as they transition to college. After the speeches, everyone shared a moment of silence and then had the opportunity to wear a sticker noting whom they walked for. 

The teens led the crowd on a 1.5 mile walk through the park. When they returned, the participants painted kindness rocks to distribute to friends and others in the community who could use support. 

Northgate senior Alyssa Lund explained that the teens picked a mental health walk as their project because many teens have struggled with their mental health during and after the pandemic and they have lost classmates to suicide. 

The TAPS senior class has worked together since their freshman year on a variety of service projects to benefit Love a Child, the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, the Monument Crisis Center as well as volunteering at a range of local organizations and doing outreach to improve their community. This walk was their final service project before high school graduation. 

Senior Holly McKay noted “volunteering has brought a lot of meaning into my life” and allowed her to feel connected to her community. Through TAPS she and her classmates could inspire other teens to contribute and make a bigger impact. 

This year’s senior class includes these girls from Walnut Creek high schools: 

Gillian Bowles 
Mayana Cockrum 
McKenna Doggett 
Esme Hurley 
Payton Laforteza
Megan Lewis 
Alyssa Lund 
Lucy McAfee 
Holly McKay 
Sydney Mendelson 
Madeline Murphy 
Kristin Saunders 
Sherya Sumanth 
Mimi Swanson 
Ashley Welday 
Rachel Zhang 

By Andrea Russi, TAPS Grade Level Coordinator for Senior Class