May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

To recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, the Omega Phi Alpha Foundation would like to celebrate Alpha Lambda Chapter at North Carolina State University for their recent success at Outrace the Stigma 5K! Thanks to donations made to Omega Phi Alpha Foundation, Alpha Lambda Chapter received a service grant to help put on this race while raising awareness for mental health.

Each semester, OPhiA Chapters from across the country plan and execute one service project that relates to Mental Health. Chapters are free to choose most of their service projects. However, all chapters unite in efforts directed towards the National Permanent Service Project – Mental Health. At the 1971 National Convention, held at Alpha Chapter, BGSU, “it was decided that a permanent project was needed” (Chevron Newsletter, Winter 1980).*

group photo at Outrace the Stigma 5K

Since 2017, Alpha Lambda Chapter has hosted the Outrace the Stigma 5k in Raleigh, North Carolina, to raise awareness for mental health in support of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). In 2024, the race attracted over 180 participants and raised over $5,000 in donations for NAMI.

In the past two years alone, they have raised over $11,000 in support of mental health awareness.

“Outrace the Stigma is such an important event for not only our organization but also the North Carolina State University community and the greater Raleigh community. It is an honor to help spread awareness for mental health issues and support the National Alliance on Mental Illness,” Alpha Lambda’s Vice President, Naomi Bouedo, explains. “Having been personally affected by the effects of mental health, it means a lot to both me and my family to see so many people passionate about sharing resources and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.”

Race day was held on North Carolina State University’s campus in Raleigh on Sunday, April 14, 2024.

photo of people running from behind
two volunteers handing out water

“I could not be prouder of how Outrace was executed.

Witnessing an entire community come together in support of mental health awareness, following the tireless dedication of our chapter to ensure the race’s safety and success, is a memory I will forever hold on to.

Through our efforts and the community’s donations, our contributions to NAMI will help those across the state of North Carolina have equitable access to mental health resources. These resources are essential in today’s society, and Outrace the Stigma strives to break down the barriers associated with seeking out help.”

Emily Falconer

Mental Health Co-Chair, Alpha Lambda Chapter

The race’s founder, Nina Leger, now works for NAMI as the organization’s Director of Contracts and Grants. On race day, she handed out NAMI resources and spoke about the race’s inception and her outreach efforts.

Race founder, Nina Leger, shares the origin of Outrace the Stigma and her vision for spreading mental health awareness. 

“Originally when I came up with this race, I knew how important mental health was and knew that we could do something like this as an organization because it was within our mission as a sorority and everyone very much just rallied behind me,” Leger said. “I always take these opportunities to spread awareness. A lot of folks know about the existence of mental health and I think it’s important to see that services, which are free and accessible, exist beyond what your doctor can give you, and that’s where NAMI serves to fill a gap.”

Hallie Davis-Proctor, Alpha Lambda’s Treasurer, explains how she runs to help those who, like so many people close to her, struggle with mental health.

“Too often, those who are struggling don’t get the help that they need. Events like Outrace the Stigma help to combat this by raising awareness of mental health topics and helping anyone who feels isolated to know that they aren’t alone. Through this, I hope that everyone can feel seen and supported no matter what they’re going through.”

Hallie Davis-Proctor

Treasurer, Alpha Lambda Chapter

Jess Schinsky (pictured on the right) is Alpha Lambda’s Mental Health Co-Chair. Jess feels proud to have been a part of such a community effort. She shared how raising awareness for mental health as well as raising thousands of dollars for NAMI has been a highlight in her college career. She hopes to continue advocating for mental health as she progresses through graduate school and beyond.

Omega Phi Alpha Foundation’s service grant provided funding for essential race expenses such as food, event space, and a microphone system that will be used for all future Outrace races.

Alpha Lambda Chapter is incredibly thankful for the generous support of Omega Phi Alpha Foundation and eagerly anticipates the continuation of Outrace the Stigma in 2025 for the chapter’s eighth annual 5k.

photo of people running from behind
two volunteers handing out water

Donations to Omega Phi Alpha Foundation empower members across the country to bring their service project passions to life! 

When you make a gift to the Foundation, you are funding member scholarships, chapter grants (like this one), convention programming, and more. Every dollar adds up! You can make a donation of any size to the Foundation here in celebration of our Founders’ Day campaign!

*The history of the sorority’s Permanent Project was provided by the late National President Jan Schnack Sedory in the 1980 Winter Edition of the Chevron Newsletter.