Cupcake Joy, 2022 Edition

Enjoy a photo gallery from the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest, held in the Commons on October 15, 2022

Aušra Milano and friend receive an Honorable Mention award for their Chai Latte Cupcakes

Julia and Taylor from Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity work the registration table

Laurie and Skip Knoll hang The Sophie Fund banner in the Bernie Milton Pavilion

Megan Martinez enters her Grand Prize Award-winning Tiramisu Bouquet Cupcakes

Megan Martinez’s 1st Place cupcakes

Emcee Carley Robinson of the Civic Ensemble

Akiko Cliteur’s Baked Cheesecake and Swan Cream Puff Cupcakes

Akiko Cliteur receives 2nd Place Award

Maddie Ulrich briefing the registration team

Ayumi Pereira’s Matcha Green Tea Cream-Filled Cupcakes

Ayumi Pereira receives 3rd Place Award

Katy Holloway’s S’more Cupcakes Please! Cupcakes

Katy Holloway receives the Youth Award

Suzuki violinists from Ithaca Talent Education

Kristina LaPage’s Sweet Bee’s Honey-Maple Cupcakes

Mary Sever-Schoonmaker’s Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service’s You Matter Cupcakes

Remarks by Crystal Howser of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Greater Central New York

Remarks by Kathy Taylor of NAMI Finger Lakes

Question of the Day!

Anna Brown receives the Most Fulfilling Award for her Payasam Cupcakes

Cy Centano-Pearlman receives the Peachy Keen Award

Suzanne Beltz’s Gingerbread and Mango Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Takoda Warner’s Layer Cake Cupcakes

Scott MacLeod, co-founder of The Sophie Fund, and Darrell Harrington, of Be Kind Ithaca

Cornell University volunteers

Final-round judges

Sponsors from Visions Federal Credit Union

Laurie Knoll and Virginia Cook

Event producer Cara Nichols from CRN Events

That’s a Wrap, Ithaca Commons!

Thank You, Mental Health Heroes!

Leaders of the mental health community spread messages of support and hope during the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest.

Darrell Harrington, of Be Kind Ithaca, shared a personal story of getting help for crippling anxiety, and how it led him to create the bright red “Be Kind” hearts that adorn lawns and porches throughout Ithaca and beyond.

“I wouldn’t be here right now, or got to be on this amazing journey with Be Kind, if I hadn’t gained control of my anxiety,” said Harrington, crediting his wife and a close friend and band mate for guiding him into therapy.

 “If you are suffering, please talk to someone. I know it’s hard. It’s extremely hard. But there is help out there. There’s some amazing people that want to help you. It’s those nine out of ten people that will help you, and take care of you, and make you feel better, and enjoy your life like I am today.”

Kathy Taylor, of the Finger Lakes affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), related how a child’s mental illness turned her family’s world “upside down and inside out.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness Finger Lakes

“We thought we could fix his problem through love and support,” she said. “But it wasn’t enough. I had heard about NAMI. It really took a lot of courage to make that phone call and admit we couldn’t fix the problem ourselves.”

Taylor and her husband joined a 12-week NAMI class called Family to Family. “These people were non-judgmental and they helped us so much,” she recalled. “We learned a common language so we could talk to each other about mental illness in a more educated way and understand what our son was going through.

Crystal Howser, of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Greater Central New York, said everyone has a role to play in protecting mental health.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

“Together, we can make a difference,” said Howser, one of the Ithaca area’s most relentless suicide prevention advocates. “We can let others know they are not alone. Together, we are strong, together we are making a difference. Suicide is preventable and suicide prevention begins with all of us.”

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service

Mental Health Association in Tompkins County

Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca

Advocacy Center of Tompkins County

Be Kind Ithaca

The Sophie Fund

Thank You, Cornell Students!

Cornell University students from six campus organizations spent two weeks in October supporting the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest and the Cupcake Button fundraising campaign for mental health.

Participating groups included Cornell Circle K, Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Sigma Pi, PATCH (Pre-Professional Association Toward Careers in Health), Cornell Health International, and Reflect at Cornell.

In remarks at the cupcake contest awards ceremony on October 15, Max Fante, a Cornell Circle K leader, thanked Ithaca mental health providers for supporting student wellbeing.

“Students around the world are constantly struggling, with worries of failure and disappointment,” he said. “Without any direction or help, they find themselves lost. The young mind is especially fragile, as we are taking our experiences, and shaping how we respond to stress and decision making in the future. Your support for such an important cause is critical for students.”

Cupcake Contest: The Morning Crew

Fante and his fellow student volunteers spent the first two weeks of October raising funds for the Finger Lakes affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The annual Cupcake Button campaign is coordinated by The Sophie Fund to support mental health organizations in the greater Ithaca community.

At the contest, also organized by The Sophie Fund, the student volunteers set up the venue, ran contest registration, served as preliminary-round judges, created special award certificates, and cleaned the event space afterwards.

Cupcake Contest: The Afternoon Crew

“We are immensely grateful for the support of Cornell student organizations,” said Scott MacLeod, co-founder of The Sophie Fund. “The students are fantastic advocates for mental health on campus, and their efforts to raise money supports the vital work of Ithaca community mental health organizations. And, the student volunteers help us make the cupcake contest a mental health awareness event every year.”

Cupcake Contest: Members of the Phi Sigma Pi team

Cupcake Contest: That’s a Wrap!

Thank You, Judges!

The Sophie Fund extends its gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the finalist judges of the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest: Ashley Case, Case Sera Sera; Melissa Kenny, Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop; Racquel Riccardi, Sinfully Delicious Baking Co.; Via Carpenter, Via’s Cookies; and Yuko Jingu, Akemi Food.

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