Cyclists taking part in Minds over Mountains in 2018. Supplied by CASA
In 2011, I wrote an article for the Boyle McCauley News entitled “How My Bicycle Saved My Life.” This summer I will ride my bike to save the lives of young people in our community who struggle with mental health problems. But I need your help. (For details go to: www.mindsovermountains.org.)
The Minds over Mountains bike tour begins on June 15 in Jasper and ends in Haida Gwaii on June 23. I will be one of 50 cyclists pedaling over 900 kilometers to support the CASA Foundation. CASA has been a leader in providing family-centered treatment and support for children for over 25 years. One of CASA’s major initiatives focuses on Indigenous youth and the high rate of suicide in their communities.
I am most familiar with CASA’s traumatic attachment group program (TAG), which I have two chapters about in my book, Raising Grandkids. TAG addresses the mental health of children separated from their parents by addiction, war, and other causes. TAG gives caregivers the tools to help their children develop new parental attachments, which will become the foundation for healthy future relationships and success in life.
TAG, like other CASA programs, is based on research into the most effective ways to address mental health issues in young people. As a TAG participant, I was amazed to learn that caregivers – and in fact, all parents – affect the development and health of their children’s brains, not only in developing neural circuitry in the brain, but down to the molecular level! We do this by hugging, engaging in play with them, and in virtually everything we do.
If you are able to make a donation to support this work, please go to the website above, click on the Donate tab, and search for Gary Garrison.
Gary lives in McCauley.