Two 11-year-old Bayside twins are spreading the message of kindness as they prepare to walk this Saturday in the 5K Mental Health Run/Walk (50 states/50 days) in Coney Island to raise funds for mental health awareness.
William and Nicholas Pacheco, fifth-grade seniors at P.S. 209 in Whitestone, created their team “Jammers 4 Kindness” to participate in the June 8 non-competitive event at Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk. Their goal is to raise awareness, end bullying and to simply be kind.
“Being kind is very important to us and to our friends. We’ve experienced bullying in school and in sports,” the boys said on their fundraising page. “Bullying has hurt us and some of our friends. We think it’s important to also be kind to the bullies and to educate them because many bullies have been bullied themselves. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.”
The Pacheco twins have raised a total of $827.15 and they’re looking forward to exceeding their $1,000 goal on Saturday. As of late, 15 participants have registered to walk with William and Nicholas, said Christina Argyros Pacheco, the twins’ mother.
Having participated in past events with a team to raise funds for an important cause, this will be the first time the twins will walk in the 5K Mental Health Run/Walk.
“When I told them about this cause, the mental health walk and run, they saw some videos about it from previous walks and groups raising mental health awareness,” said Argyros Pacheco. “They just started going into how they know what it feels like to be bullied and they came up with the name ‘Jammers 4 Kindness’ after playing around with the words.”
For Argyros Pacheco, she and her husband find opportunities to have an open dialogue with their boys about bullying and speaking up for themselves. They have also worked together with a school psychologist and guidance counselor at P.S. 209, where students receive a great support network, she said.
Additionally, Argyros Pacheco became involved in sharing daily tips for mental health awareness from the National Alliance on Mental Illness calendar using their hashtag #4mind4body.
“I try to post daily from their calendar to help people deal with stress and other things,” said Argyros Pacheco. “Many people sent me private messages saying thank you for those posts … Just me posting I guess they realized that I’m posting for a reason, like I had some sort of connection to this mental health awareness and advocacy.”
As a family coping with mental illness and anxiety, Argyros Pacheco is proud of her twin boys participating in the event that they’re excited to share with others.
“I’m just so proud of them. As a mom, I’m super proud,” said Argyros Pacheco. “Our biggest motivator is all children. I just tell them constantly, ‘I don’t care if you’re a millionaire. I don’t care what you for a living when you grow up. I just want you guys to be good people and do the right thing and be kind.’”
For the twins, helping others is a fun and kind thing to do, and there’s simply “no awesome without we,” said Nicholas.