Allcove youth meet the 49ers!

Players caught training in action!

Players caught training in action!

Every summer as the 49ers get ready for a new season, they host Training Camps where one position group has the opportunity to select a cause they support and invite community members involved in work relating to the cause to attend a special viewing of their practice. This year, the Defensive Line selected mental health as the cause they wanted to support, and thus the Community Corner, the special place on the field dedicated to these community members, was filled with mental health advocates from across Santa Clara County. Amidst the crowd on Monday were our friends from allcove, including some of our very own from Youth United: Zoe, Phebe, Ellie and Nura. 

It’s really amazing when celebrities advocate for mental health because they are commonly idolized by many members of the public. When these figures promote healthy conversations and lifestyles surrounding mental wellness, it encourages people who view them as role models to do the same.
— Ellie Fitton, 17
Allcove/Youth United friends pose for a picture wrapping up a meaningful conversation with our new friend Solomon Thomas! What a guy!

Allcove/Youth United friends pose for a picture wrapping up a meaningful conversation with our new friend Solomon Thomas! What a guy!

After watching the team practice for a few hours, some of the players came to the Community Corner including a renowned fellow active mental health advocate, Solomon Thomas. Thomas started off his football career at Stanford in 2014 where he stood out for his talent that caught the eye of the 49ers in 2017 when he was selected as the 3rd overall draft pick for the team that year. In 2018, his sister, Ella Thomas, died by suicide prompting his involvement in suicide prevention and mental health advocacy efforts in the community. This past June, he and some of his fellow teammates participated in the Out of Darkness Walk put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The walk hosted a diverse group of community members and raised several thousand dollars for AFSP. 

Solomon Thomas asking Phebe and Ellie about the effectiveness of youth leadership and voice in carrying out work relating to brining the allcove centers to Santa Clara County.

Solomon Thomas asking Phebe and Ellie about the effectiveness of youth leadership and voice in carrying out work relating to brining the allcove centers to Santa Clara County.

The overall experience the youth had on Monday was unforgettable and a testament to the openness of all types of people when it comes to empowering youth to continue carrying forward with efforts to transform their communities. Big thanks again to the 49ers for inviting us and to the players for their time and insight!

It was really incredible to have the opportunity to meet the 49ers! It is one thing to see them play and think of them as athletes, but it is a whole other thing to get to see them as human. One of the kindest 49ers we met was Solomon Thomas. What stuck out to me about our conversation with him was his genuine interest and patience. As we described some of the work we do, he continued to ask questions; he wanted to know more. I think that if these players and other celebrities are willing to step forward and advocate around mental health, it can be super powerful. Even just Kevin Love, the NBA player, coming out about his anxiety attacks was powerful because it normalizes. Celebrities create trends; they normalize. I truly believe that people like Solomon Thomas have the potential to majorly help reduce stigma for young people everywhere.
— Zoe Adelsheim, 18
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Nura Mostaghimi