Heart of Gold Festival for youth mental wellness in Nevada County

Saturday, October 7th, 2023


Outside Eric Rood Center in Nevada City

Supports youth mental health & wellness 

Heart of Gold Festival 

The Heart of Gold Festival celebrates the role of outdoor recreation in supporting youth mental wellness.

The festival directly follows the Heart of Gold Gravel Ride, a grueling bike race that starts and finishes at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, with a 46- to 70-mile gravel ride through the Yuba River Canyon in between. Proceeds from the race go to local organizations working to support youth mental wellness, including Bright Futures for Youth, Child Advocates, Tahoe Forest Hospital, and Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County.

Greet the riders as they cross the finish line and stick around for great food, live local bands, lawn games, FREE kid zone, and a vendor village with staff from local organizations focused on recreation and youth mental health.



Kids coloring page. Color and turn in at the Heart of Gold festival for a free popsicle!!! Download coloring page HERE

Young people, including children as young as nine, have reported experiencing depression over the last year of the pandemic. Your registration and participation will support young people and build resilience, empowering the next generation in our community. Together, we provide a path for our youth to thrive.

Children and young adults face many challenges growing up. It’s a time to figure out who they are, what they value and hope to achieve. Our collective organizations provide a safety nets and guideposts to help these young people thrive within our community.

It’s normal for children and adolescents to experience various types of emotional distress as they develop and mature, from anxiety about school to short periods of depression. But serious mental health concerns may emerge due to challenges in their home, school, community and interpersonal relationships. Mental illness, if not treated early, can affect them for the rest of their lives.  

Just some of the challenges facing youth in Nevada County:

  • 83.6 per 1,000 children face abuse or neglect, higher than the statewide average of 52.9 per 1,000 children
  • About 8% of children face abuse or neglect, higher than the statewide average
  • Almost two of every five ninth-graders have feelings of depression, slightly higher than the statewide average
  • One in 10 ninth-graders missed school during a recent 30 day-period because they felt sad, hopeless, anxious, stressed or angry.
  • Food insecurity is a serious issue, with 30% of ninth-graders eligible for free or reduced meals.

Source: California Department of Education’s California Healthy Kids Survey, Nevada County 2019-2020 Main Report.

Extra guidance and support can help youth address mental health issues, navigate the complexities of life, adapt to change, develop relationships and realize their potential.

Making a Difference Together

The Heart of Gold bike ride supports efforts in Nevada County to improve mental wellness and reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and trauma that can lead to unhealthy choices and suicide among young people. It takes a community to provide the tools and resources for young people to grow into healthy adults.

Proceeds will benefit organizations such as Child Advocates of Nevada County, Bright Futures For Youth, Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County (YBONC), and Tahoe Forest Health System, committed to helping youth in Nevada County thrive.