Musicians for Mental Health

The Sophie Fund expresses its gratitude to the wonderful musicians who preformed at the 8th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest on October 14: SingTrece & Kenneth McLaurin, Rachel Beverly, and Joe Gibson & Dan Collins. Thank you for amplifying the mission for mental health in our community!

SingTrece & Kenneth McLaurin

Rachel Beverly

Joe Gibson & Dan Collins

Thank You, Cornell Mental Health Advocates!

Cornell University students from five campus organizations supported the 8th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest and the related Cupcake Button fundraising campaign for mental health.

Participating groups included Cornell Circle K, Pre-Professional Association Toward Careers in Health (PATCH), Alpha Phi Omega–Gamma Chapter, Phi Sigma Pi, and Cornell Minds Matter.

In brief remarks at the contest award’s ceremony on October 14, Cornell Circle K Vice President Max Fante spoke about his organization’s commitment to community service and the importance of campus mental health.

“A lot of us are dealing with high stress, uncertainty about the future, and it is important to recognize that youth have mental health needs,” Fante said. “I’m very grateful for all of you to be [mental health] advocates.”

Leaders of Cornell Circle K volunteering at the Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest

Fante along with leaders from other student groups spearheaded the Cupcake Button campaign, which is coordinated by The Sophie Fund and collects donations for a local nonprofit organization supporting mental health.

This year, the campaign raised monies for the Greg Eells Memorial Fund at Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca. The fund, established in honor of the late Greg Eells, provides wellness support and continuing education opportunities for the organization’s own staff members.

At the cupcake contest, the student volunteers set up the venue, conducted contest registration, served as preliminary round judges, created special award certificates, and cleaned the event space afterwards.

Volunteers from Cornell’s Phi Sigma Pi chapter

“We are forever grateful to work together with Max Fante and all the other student volunteers in creating the cupcake contest and the fundraiser every year,” said Scott MacLeod, co-founder of The Sophie Fund. “Both activities are designed to help raise awareness, fight stigma, start conversations, and provide support around mental health. The Cornell student organizations are wonderful advocates for mental health on their campus.”

Saluting Mental Health Heroes

Mental health leaders in Tompkins County highlighted available community services and underlined the importance of supporting the well-being of mental health workers during the 8th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest.

The organizations participating included: Be Kind Ithaca; Free Hugs Ithaca; Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service; Mental Health Association in Tompkins County; National Alliance on Mental Illness Finger Lakes; Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca; Health and Unity for Greg; and Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, and Tompkins County Bullying Prevention Task Force.

Kayla and Michelle Eells of Health and Unity for Greg

Alecia Sundsmo, director of Clinical Services at Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca, said that her agency provides mental health care across the age spectrum regardless of ability to pay.

“One of the amazing things about Family and Children’s is that we can really provide mental health care from our zero-to-five program all the way up to our geriatric mental health program,” she said. “Somebody is never turned away. We know that equity across access to healthcare is so critical to making sure that people have the care that they need in the community where they live and work.”

Sundsmo also noted the agency’s outreach programs “to make sure that we reach folks who might have some additional stigma or barriers to seeking access to care. We go out and help them and find them and make sure that we can provide social supports in the community.” She said that the outreach includes community education programs and extends to supporting mental health in local businesses through their Employee Assistance Programs.

Michelle Eells of Health & United for Greg thanked Family & Children’s for establishing the Greg Eells Memorial Fund in honor of her husband, who died by suicide in 2019. Greg Eells was a veteran psychologist and active member of the Family & Children’s board.

“The fund helps provide wellness support and education to the Family and Children’s Service clinicians and staff,” Eells explained. “As mental health providers and caregivers who care vehemently for others and take it all in, they also need to be supported and make a priority to care for themselves.”

The Greg Eells Memorial Fund is the recipient of the 2023 Cupcake Button fundraising campaign organized by The Sophie Fund, which collects donations every year to support a local mental health nonprofit.

Lovisa Johanson of Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca

Samantha Shoemaker of Free Hugs Ithaca and Darrell Harrington of Be Kind Ithaca

Olivia Duell of the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County

Brandi Remington of the Tompkins County Bullying Prevention Task Force

Skip Knoll and Virginia Cook of The Sophie Fund

Stacy Ayres and Crystal Howser of AFSP Greater Central New York

Kathy Taylor and Sandra Sorensen of NAMI Finger Lakes

Appreciation for the Cupcake Judges!

The Sophie Fund extends its heartfelt appreciation to the finalist judges of the 8th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest. They not only volunteered to serve, they also baked up some treats of their own—350 treats, count ‘em!—to pass out to contestants and passersby. Thank you Yuko Jingu of Akemi Food; Ashley Case of Case Sera Sera; Racquel Riccardi of the Sinfully Delicious Baking Co.; Melissa Kenny of Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop; and Via Carpenter of Via’s Cookies.

Racquel Riccardi, Ashley Case, Melissa Kenny, Yuko Jingu, and Via Carpenter

Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop

Via’s Cookies

Case Sera Sera

Sinfully Delicious Baking Co.