What We Do
The Champions of Change program works with a variety of community, youth and parent groups to bring teens together to talk about the challenges of mental health and perceived causes of increased youth suicide. The goals of the gathering include:
- Youth to connection and discussion about this difficult and stigmatized topic in a safe environment
- Education about mental health symptoms, causes and treatment options
- Development of ideas and solutions to combat depression and anxiety, and reduce teen suicide
- Creation of activities and projects that may help in the reduction of teen suicide and increased positive mental health
- Data collection and assimilation to share with legislators, school and community leaders and parents
What Outcomes Do We Want?
- Happy, healthy, balanced, confident, well-adjusted kids
- Decrease in the incidences of teen suicide
- Decrease in teen anxiety and depression
- Acceptance of mental illness as any other illness of the body
- To reduce shame and stigma surrounding mental illness
ABOUT CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE
The Champions of Change program started in 2019 as a collaboration between the Grace & Kindness Foundation and The Lemonade Project.
Grace & Kindness was formed in memory of Grace Holt, who lost her life to suicide in 2016. The Foundation has three pillars to its mission – a 5k run, scholarships for youth camps and enrichment programs, and education focusing on teen mental illness and suicide. Around the anniversary of Grace’s death, her mom, Susan Holt, and a board member, Lisa Hutchins, started the Run With Grace 5k which has ignited youth, community and business support. Over the past three years, the event has grown exponentially, as has the financial support, which has been used to fund youth scholarships.
In 2019, Grace & Kindness asked the founder of The Lemonade Project, Andrea Childreth, to partner with its organization to help fulfill the third pillar of its mission – education. Andrea started The Lemonade Project after starting her blog, BipolarLemonade.com, and publishing the book, ON THE EDGE: Help and hope for parenting children with mental illness. Andrea and her family experienced the stigma, shame and crises many families face with the presence of mental illness. Her daughter, Chloe, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at six-years-old until a final diagnosis of a neurological disorder, anxiety and depression were diagnosed at a therapeutic boarding school at the age of 15.
Champions of Change was created by the two organizations with the goal of educating our community and youth about teen mental illness and suicide prevention. The program aims to specifically empower youth to affect change surrounding teen mental illness and suicide through conversation, information and advocacy.