‘Movember’ event raises money and awareness for mental health at Medina schools

Posted 4 December 2021 at 1:28 pm

Photos courtesy of Medina Central School – Pictured from left include Jesse Mankowski, Jeff Dole, Doug Boje, Evan Giacomini and Mike Gray.  Back row: Mark Fitzpatrick, Jody Sargent, Eric Gross, Joe Byrne, Jon Sherman and Ed Williams.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Medina High School Social Studies teacher Joe Byrne challenges his male counterparts in the school district to grow some facial hair every November.

“If you see some of the gentlemen on staff without their masks on, you will definitely notice an unusual amount of hair on their upper lip,” he jokes.  “We all look like a throwback to the ’70s.”

‘Movember’ brings attention to the growing number of men, around 10.8 million globally, that are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. Mr. Byrne says this year the staff decided to bring attention to another health crisis that affects men.

“Across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day,” he said. “Men account for 75 percent of all suicides. Frankly I was shocked and horrified by that number. I think as men, we have a tendency to not talk about mental health and live with the stigma that tending to our mental health is not manly or macho. This year we decided to make a long-term impact on our community with the endeavor to help change the face of men’s health. We encouraged our staff at Central Office, Transportation Department, Oak Orchard Elementary, Clifford Wise Intermediate and the High School to donate so we could present a check to Orleans County Mental Health to help with their mission.”

Pictured from left include Joe Byrne (Social Studies and Medina Teacher’s Association President), Nola Goodrich-Kresse (Orleans Mental Health), Danielle Figura (Orleans Mental Health) and Medina CSD Superintendent Mark Kruzynski.

On Nov. 30, Mr. Byrne and Superintendent Mark Kruzynski were honored to present a check for $750 to Danielle Figura, Director of Community Services/Clinic Coordinator and Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Orleans County Public Health Officer.

“We are very happy to be able to present this money to them,” says Mr. Byrne.  “Our goal was $500 and we more than exceeded that.  I am very proud of our staff for their contributions to this important cause.”  Ms. Figura and Ms. Goodrich-Karesse both said they are very grateful for the donation.  “This is the first time, to my knowledge, we have ever been approached by an outside source to be considered for a monetary donation,” says Ms. Figura.  “This is extremely generous and will benefit the community.”

The Orleans County Mental Health offers a full range of services designed to meet the mental health needs of area residents.  The state-licensed clinic offers comprehensive programs representing a broad range of disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, social work and nursing.  Their number is (585) 283-5200.

Goodrich-Kresse says the money will be used towards Good Neighbor kits which contains information about mental health resources, coffee, tea and hot cocoa packets.  Mr. Byrne is also hoping that the Suicide Prevention Coalition and Orleans Mental Health can partner to provide a workshop on suicide prevention in the community.

Superintendent Mr. Kruzynski says he thinks the donation and workshop is a fantastic idea.  “The fact that this was staff driven is just amazing,” he said. “I think we are all aware of the impact that the pandemic has made on mental health and anything we can do at a local level to help is fabulous.”