Recognizing a need for counselling services among BIPOC, Felicia Mazerolle put forward a call to action to Victoria’s skateboarding community. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Recognizing a need for counselling services among BIPOC, Felicia Mazerolle put forward a call to action to Victoria’s skateboarding community. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Victoria’s skateboarding community raises $18,000 for BIPOC counselling

The fundraiser aims to provide 10 BIPOC with a year of counselling

This year weighed heavy on Felicia Mazerolle.

As the Black Lives Matter movement took hold of the news and social media, Mazerolle was constantly inundated with videos and photos of people who looked just like them “being murdered, lynched and/or beaten.”

Struggling with the weight of it all, Mazerolle started looking into counselling and was shocked at both the cost and lack of services specific to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC).

“Finding out that there are little-to-no resources here for queer Black people was eye-opening for me,” they said.

“If I’m struggling, I can only imagine all the other people here are feeling similar and having the same challenges.”

So Mazerolle put out a call to their skateboarding community to make a financial contribution or pledge to fundraise money with the goal of providing a year of counselling services to 10 BIPOC.

“Access to mental health support, therapy, and counselling can vastly improve the lives of these populations in our community but it is often hard to access,” they wrote in their call to action. “Many people who need therapy don’t have the funds to access it. You can help change that.”

Since September, the community has raised $18,000 of the $48,000 goal.

Mazerolle is planning an application process for the funding, with priority given to LGBTQ2S people.

Now, Mazerolle said they’re hoping that a local organization will take what they’ve started and turn it into something more permanent.

Since starting the fundraiser, Mazerolle said they’ve been fortunate enough to access counselling and that it’s made an enormous difference in their life.

“I can only imagine how much this would help other BIPOC people,” they said.

Anyone interested in getting involved can reach Mazerolle at bipoctherapyvic@gmail.com.

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