Shedding light onto this years philanthropy project


Kelly Jankowski

Erika’s Lighthouse is a non-profit organization that is built for supporting children and teenagers who suffer mental illnesses.

DGS chooses to support a different philanthropy project each year to raise money for. This year the selected organization is Erika’s Lighthouse.

Erika’s Lighthouse is a nonprofit organization that shines a light on depression literacy and reducing anxiety. Student Activities Director Jennifer Martinez explains how Erika’s Lighthouse was not necessarily the winning result after sending out a survey, but the message delivered what most students wanted to hear.

“We had many options to choose from and to be honest, the choice that was selected, I cannot remember the organization, it was a National organization, and I met with the student that put forward the idea and we talked about having a philanthropy project that connects a little more close to home that gets at the same issues and goals. After speaking with the student, based on the characteristics of the philanthropy, we selected together Erika’s Lighthouse because it’s something that connects to our whole school,” Martinez said.

This philanthropy is unlike any other philanthropy DGS has done before. Junior Bella Oberg describes how in the past, DGS focused on giving back to organizations with conditions that were physical, but with Erika’s Lighthouse, mental health gets its well-deserved recognition.

“[Erika’s Lighthouse] for sure differs [from past philanthropies] because this is for mental health, not physical. I know DGS has done [philanthropies] for cancer and last year’s was Lungevity. Those are great, but mental health is and should be treated equally with physical health,” Oberg said.

Similarly, senior Tyler Jardine talks about the many people that suffer from mental illnesses but are too afraid to get help because of the resources that have been provided in the past. This philanthropy can be useful to everyone who is not yet comfortable talking about their issues.

“…I feel like there’s a lot of people at our school that struggle with mental health and not many people are aware of that factor. There are so many people that I know [that] struggle with mental health that I never thought would. [Erika’s Lighthouse] will definitely make [people] feel more comfortable speaking out about what challenges they have had to face with their mental illness; like not being afraid to acknowledge that they may or may not have a mental illness,” Jardine said.

Fundraising events pertaining to Erika’s Lighthouse will start around January at the beginning of second semester. In the meantime Martinez encourages students to contribute by emailing her ideas as to what should happen to promote this year’s philanthropy project.

“I’m excited to welcome conversations from students. I think the more we can do to help get the conversation started around de-stressing; I’m glad to, because there are so many good causes out there. But I think that more and more people are feeling that pressure and stress and so talking about the reduction of stress and anxiety and just taking a moment for mindfulness is good,” Martinez said.