More than $3,000 was raised for the Hopkins student wellness centers at the “Break the Stigma of Mental Illness” event on Jan. 10. Hopkins High School seniors, Noah Zaroff and Sam Segelbaum, teamed up with Hopkins DECA, Hopkins Education Foundation (HEF), and the Hopkins Wellness Centers to make the event possible.
Attendees of the event heard speeches from from Miss Minnesota 2018 Mandy Peterson and motivational speaker Kwame Anderson. Anderson talked about how students can overcome anxiety and depression. There was also a resource fair, opportunities to donate to the cause, and raffles.
Donations came from private donors, event attendees, and a GoFundMe that will continue to stay open until mid-February. The money that was raised will be used to support Hopkins’ wellness centers, drop in spaces located at the high school and junior highs that students can access after school to get mental health help and support.
Zaroff and Segelbaum crafted the fundraiser around the guidelines of the community service project for DECA, a club in which they are both members. It is an optional event that requires a lot of time and effort.
“Sam Segelbaum and I took this opportunity, as the cause we are funding for is as timely as ever,” Zaroff said. “I hope that with this event, Hopkins DECA members, and non-members alike, will feel the passion Hopkins DECA holds for philanthropy as it pertains to our students.”
Mental health is an important topic. Segelbaum said it is specifically crucial to young people because he recognizes that everyone should be able to feel comfortable in their environment.
“High school should be a safe environment and we are trying to let the community know that our school is trying to make those extra steps to ensure that all students are cared for,” Segelbaum said.
The Hopkins wellness centers are available to all Hopkins students free of charge and are staffed by a Hopkins High School social worker, a school psychologist, and a therapist provided by MoveFwd, a partnering nonprofit.
“The significance of Thursday's 'Break the Stigma' event is much more than fundraising,” said HEF communications manager Michele Pasko. “Students are far ahead of adults in their understanding that mental health is health. Period. They are willing to address these issues head-on, encourage their peers to talk, and to remove the barriers to getting help.”