(Chelsea Update would like to thank Bobby Maldonado for the information in this story.)
Meet Alexandra “Alex” Duranczyk, a coalition director for SRSLY, a community coalition of youth, parents, neighbors, teachers, librarians, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, religious leaders, local businesses, civic group members, and anyone else who wants to promote healthy choices and prevent youth substance use.
SRSLY coalitions serve four communities in Michigan, which include Chelsea, Dexter, Stockbridge and Manchester.
As coalition director for SRSLY Manchester, Duranczyk has been working with her coalition director peers in neighboring communities to help organize Pedal for Prevention, a virtual event aimed at getting people outdoors and moving this summer.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A: I have been involved with SRSLY for three years. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a master’s degree in social work. My main academic interest while in school was how to improve the lives of children and families. Since graduating, my professional experiences have consisted of lots of community work, implementing family and youth programs, and coordinating volunteer opportunities in Washtenaw County.
Q: What is Pedal for Prevention?
A: Pedal for Prevention is a virtual health event open to members of the community. The goal of the event is to bring awareness to youth substance use and empower young people to make healthy choices for themselves. Individuals, friends and families are encouraged to bike, run or walk from any location they choose. They get to run their own race, at their own pace, and time it themselves.
The month-long virtual event is being held between Friday, July 16 and Friday, Aug. 13. Participants also get a t-shirt and a medal at the end of the event.
Q: Why was it important for SRSLY and St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea to team up for this event?
A: At SRSLY our mission is to empower youth to live healthy, substance-free lives by bringing our community together. For many people living in Manchester, Chelsea and surrounding communities, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation and reduced overall physical exercise. As COVID-19 cases continue to fall throughout the state and as we return to our more normal lives, we feel we are in a position to help organize and encourage our community to participate in safe physical activities. Spending time outdoors with family or friends offers us all a really good opportunity to reconnect with others, while seeking to improve both our physical and mental wellbeing.
Q: Why is physical activity so important?
A: According to CDC guidelines, adults should have at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day and children should have one hour of physical activity each day. Physical activity is proven to help manage and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. The mental health benefits don’t end there either. Getting out of the house and involved in a safe physical activity also gives us an opportunity to establish healthy social connections.
Q: Who can participate in this event?
A: Any member of the community can participate. If you have a friend, family member or a neighbor, this virtual event is a good opportunity to call them up, reconnect, and commit to doing something fun and healthy together.
Q: What is the cost to participate in Pedal for Prevention and where does the money raised go?
A: The cost is $30. Funds go towards the purchase of t-shirts and medals. All remaining funds will support the SRSLY Coalitions in Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, and Stockbridge.
Q: Where can people sign up for this event?
A: Members of the community interested in participating can sign up on our website: https://www.stjoeshealth.org/classes-and-events/pedal-for-prevention-1. When registering online, participants will be asked for their mailing address. All event t-shirts and medals will be mailed to them.SJMC_SRSLY_Pedal_Prevention