“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel - have the strength to keep going through the darkness.”
This is the message Sharon Boyd is trying to spread through her work with Impact Northeast, an organisation dedicated to providing support for the region’s young people.
Set up by Sharon in 2013, Impact is based in Hendon and works to support vulnerable children experiencing problems with their mental health.
To spread the word and raise some money, Sharon will be lacing up her trainers this weekend to take on the Sunderland 10k. She hopes to raise £1,000.
She told the Echo: “It’s just trying to get people to understand what we do and that we are there to help children and young people.”
Inspired by her own childhood struggles, Sharon wanted to create an organisation where the door is always open and help is always available.
As well as supporting young people first-hand, Impact takes an approach which benefits the whole family by offering bespoke support packages across a range of issues including drug and alcohol support, anger management and bereavement.
One-to-one and group counselling sessions are also available, as are mentoring opportunities.
The organisation has no core funding and relies on the work of volunteer counsellors to continue its mission.
Since its launch, thousands of families have been supported by its services. There are currently 297 open cases on Impact’s books.
Sharon continued: “People can have a different ending to their story, regardless of how their story began.
“We are helping people to see that they can achieve something.”
The Sunderland 10k sets off at 10am on Sunday, May 12. The race both starts and finishes at the city’s Keel Square.
Sharon’s colleagues from Impact will be there on the day to cheer her along - and you can too.
She added: “It’s a bit like life, it’s difficult but I will get to the finish line.