Cupcake Buttons: Supporting Suicide Prevention

The Sophie Fund presented a donation check for $829.50 on Wednesday evening to the Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service (SPCS) of Ithaca. Cornell University’s Alpha Phi Omega Gamma Chapter and Active Minds at Ithaca College raised the funds in The Sophie Fund’s “cupcake button” campaign last fall.

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Alpha Phi Omega President Winnie Ho hands a check to Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service Executive Director Lee-Ellen Marvin

Both student organizations set up fundraising tables on their campuses as well as at GreenStar Natural Food Market’s stores in the West End and Collegetown. Alpha Phi Omega also raised funds in the Ithaca Commons during the Apple Harvest Festival. The Sophie Fund selected SPCS to be the recipient of monies collected in the 2017 cupcake button campaign.

“We sincerely thank Alpha Phi Omega and Active Minds, as well as all the many people who made generous donations, for supporting the cause of suicide prevention in Tompkins County,” said Scott MacLeod, an officer of The Sophie Fund.

“The student organizations not only collected money, but they engaged meaningful conversations within their own circles and with the campus and Ithaca communities about mental health. The commitment of these organizations is nothing less than amazing. Hats off to GreenStar for allowing us to raise funds at their locations and for their tremendous support for mental health and well-being in the community.”

Alpha Phi Omega President Winnie Ho handed over the donation check in a brief ceremony to SPCS Executive Director Lee-Ellen Marvin. Ho was joined by Alpha Phi Omega members Joanna Hua, Trisha Ray, and Ashley Kim.

“As college students who have the privilege to interact with so many different organizations across our campus and in our local community, we have had the chance to see how critical it is that mental health and wellness is supported on every level,” said Ho.

“The partnership between Alpha Phi Omega Gamma Chapter and The Sophie Fund is the result of a dedication to improving mental health on collegiate campuses. We are thrilled to be working with incredible organizations such as Ithaca Suicide Prevention & Crisis Services who have done so much for students and community members. There is important work still left to be done to support our peers, but we are optimistic about the future of this collaboration.”

S. Makai Andrews, co-president of Ithaca College’s Active Minds chapter, and an intern at SPCS and The Sophie Fund, led the Active Minds effort. “We wanted to participate in the button selling as a means to increase mental health visibility in the Ithaca area and reduce the stigma surrounding these situations,” said Andrews. “We were happy to serve as examples of college-aged students who have struggled with our mental health and spoke with many interesting people in the community about what changes they would like to see in how we talk about mental health.”

“Gifts like these always give us a lift, helping us continue the work we do by reminding us that the community cares,” said Marvin. “The staff, board, and volunteers of Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service are grateful for this donation because we know that it represents a big effort by student members of Alpha Phi Omega at Cornell and Active Minds at Ithaca College.”

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Peri Margolies and S. Makai Andrews of Active Minds at GreenStar Natural Foods Market during the cupcake button campaign

SPRC operates Crisisline, offering free and confidential crisis counseling, staffed 365 days a year by trained volunteers who respond to calls from Tompkins County and across the 607 area code. It also provides “The Chat,” an Internet chat service for young people who are reluctant to talk on the telephone.

The Crisisline is a member of the National Suicide Lifeline system and is accredited by the American Association of Suicidology. It is also a founding member of the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition established last July.

The overall mission of SPCS is to promote constructive responses to crisis and trauma and to prevent violence to self and others through direct support and community education.

SPRC’s Education Program provides suicide prevention and mental health programs to youth and adults in public schools, colleges, and universities, and community-based settings.

Another program is After-Trauma Services, which provides free short-term counseling and support groups to those who have lost a loved one to suicide or unexpected death.

SPCS traces its history back to 1968, when Ithacans lobbied for a 24-hour crisis line following a series of suicides in the community. Reverend Jack Lewis took the first call in 1969, from a young man who felt so upset that he had decided the only solution was to kill himself. With the help of SPCS’s first volunteer counselor, the young man renewed his hope and sense of possibility.

“We’re so thankful for the essential work that SPCS does to educate the public and provide support for people struggling with mental disorders and suicidal thoughts,” said MacLeod. “Calling the Crisisline, if you or somebody you know is experiencing difficulties, can literally save a life.”

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the Crisisline (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Coloring Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Coloring Contest! (And thanks to the team from Alternatives Federal Credit Union for running the event!)

1st Place (tie)

Caroleena Auge

Joumii Bard

 

2nd Place (tie)

Madelyne Myers

Elbie Rydzik

 

3rd Place

Olivia Phillips

 

1-Caroleena

Caroleena Auge—1st Prize

 

1-bard copy

Joumii Bard—1st Prize

 

2-MadelyneMyers

Madelyne Myers—2nd Prize

 

2-ElbieRydzik

Elbie Rydzik—2nd Prize

 

3-OliviaPhillips

Olivia Phillips—3rd Prize

Students and The Sophie Fund

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week at Cornell University, but for some college students in Ithaca, it’s seems like every week is mental health week. In a good way!

The Sophie Fund is privileged to partner on a host of projects with student organizations at Cornell and Ithaca College. Active Minds at Ithaca College, and Cornell Minds Matter, Alpha Phi Omega–Gamma Chapter and Phi Sigma Pi at Cornell all played vital roles in the 2017 Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest in the Commons on October 14.

APO-PSPVolunteers from Cornell University’s Alpha Phi Omega–Gamma Chapter and Phi Sigma Pi

Besides volunteering to register contestants, inventory the cupcake entries, participate in preliminary judging (okay, hard work!), and clean up the Bernie Milton Pavilion afterwards, students participated in a related fundraising effort for suicide prevention. In one week alone in September, APO Gamma collected more than $500 in donations. APO Gamma also delivered excess cupcake entries to the Friendship Center at the Ithaca Rescue Mission for the homeless.

Speaking at the cupcake awards ceremony, Winnie Ho, vice president of service for APO Gamma, said that working for mental health causes was one of her fraternity’s top priorities. Here’s what she had to say:

“I’d like to take this time to talk about the partnership that we have developed with The Sophie Fund over the past year. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of our chapter to get involved in all the mental health opportunities that exist in this town.

“For us, service remains one of our most important cardinal principles. We’ve seen an overwhelming response from many of our brothers to support for opportunities within APO and other opportunities outside of APO to serve and support their friends, their loved ones, and their community.

“At Cornell it is Mental Health Awareness Week, and APO Gamma is hosting many events, and so are many other student organizations. Which helps prove the point: anyone can get involved in mental health. You can start by asking yourself, asking your friends, taking care of the people around you. You don’t need to organize anything enormous to start improving the mental health of other people. Thank you so much for coming out today. Happy cupcakes!”

DSC_8712 copyWinnie Ho of Cornell University’s APO Gamma Chapter

Cooper Walter, president of Cornell Minds Matter, staffed a table at the cupcake contest to engage contestants and passersby on mental health issues. During the awards ceremony, he issued a special appeal to young people in Ithaca. Here’s what he had to say:

“In the couple minutes we have here today, I want to talk about mental health and young people. College age—18 to 24—is a pivotal turning point for everyone’s lives. It is at that age that most of the mental health disorders onset. And it is the age that we build the life skills and the coping strategies that set us up for success.

“At Cornell, 25 percent of all students have a mental health disorder, but only 30 percent [of those] seek help. I want to challenge every one here—especially the young people—to take a moment to engage with mental health. Ask yourself, ‘What does mental health mean to you?’ ‘What is your mental health?’ ‘How can you improve it?’ ‘And what are you going to do—today—to advance mental health and make your life better.’

“I also challenge you to take a moment to engage with your peers. Many friends are struggling with their mental health, or can improve their mental health, but aren’t thinking about it. Today, when you talk to your friends, ask them: ‘How are you doing?’ But don’t just take ‘Oh, I’m good,’ or ‘I’m fine,’ at face value. Ask them, ‘Are you struggling with anything?’ ‘Can I help you in any way?’ ‘Is there anything you’d like to discuss?’

“If we take these small steps, considering what mental health is to us, and reach out to our friends to help them engage with mental health, we can set ourselves up for a successful life, and successful health.”

DSC_8709 copyCooper Walter of Cornell Minds Matter

CMMCornell Minds Matter at the Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest in the Commons

PSPVolunteers from Phi Sigma Pi

APOWinnie Ho and Ivan Rios of APO–Gamma

APO Buttons 092517APO–Gamma brothers collecting donations for suicide prevention in Ho Plaza

AM-greenstar2Members of Active Minds at Ithaca College collecting donations for suicide prevention at GreenStar Natural Foods Market

 

Cupcake Joy, 2017 Edition

Enjoy a photo gallery from the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest, held in the Commons on October 14, 2017.

bannerBernie Milton Pavilion, October 14, 2017

 

registrationLet the Contest Begin: Angela registers Tamarynde Cacciotti’s entry, cream puff cupcakes with Earl Grey pastry filling that went on to win the Grand Prize.

 

alistrongwaterHappy Halloween: Ali Strongwater’s 2nd Prize-winning pumpkin and ginger cupcakes haunted by sugar ghosts.

 

alexanderRaspberries and Butterflies: Alexander Quilty’s 3rd prize-winning chocolate raspberry-filled cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting.

 

monicacottoEmerging Brightness: Monica Cotto’s vegan blood orange dark chocolate cupcakes topped with edible crystal geodes (Honorable Mention).

 

Beth Goelzer LyonsForest of Cupcakes: Beth Goelzer Lyons’s chocolate chip cookie dough-filled vegan chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate trees.

 

melaniehardyFall Foilage: Melanie Hardy’s Campfire S’more Cupcakes with marshmallow fluff frosting topped with a Hershey bar (Honorable Mention).

 

robynschmittWinter Wonderland: Robin Schmitt’s vanilla cupcake topped by an edible peanut butter and nutella pine cone (Honorable Mention).

 

Lianna White“Healthiest Cupcake” Award: Lianna White’s gluten-free carrot raisin walnut cupcake.

 

nataliemccaskellLand of Unicorns: Natalie McCaskill-Meyers’s unicorn cupcakes won an Honorable Mention Award and “Best Youth Cupcake” Award.

 

judgesThe Hard Part: The judging begins!

 

judging2Tastes and Scents: The judging continues!

 

debbielazinskyCupcake Joy: Debbie Lazinsky of GreenStar Natural Foods Market samples the cupcake submissions.

 

alternativesfcuColoring Contest: Volunteers from Alternatives Federal Credit Union run the Coloring Contest for Under-8’s.

 

jacobparkercarverJacob Parker Carver of the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County sets up an interactive mental health quiz for attendees.

 

amyleviereAmy LeViere of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County welcomes the contestants.

 

IMG_9981Lee-Ellen Marvin, executive director of the Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service, thanks The Sophie Fund for being a catalyst for change in suicide prevention in Tompkins County.

 

yukojinguMeet the VIP Judges: Yuko Jingu (friend and co-worker of Sophie)

 

deleilanormanMeet the VIP Judges: Daleila Norman of GreenStar Natural Foods Market

 

ameliasauterMeet the VIP Judges: Amelia Sauter of Felicia’s Atomic Brewhouse and Bakery

 

Mary Sever Schoonmaker“Richest Cupcake” Award: Mary Sever Schoonmaker receives a GreenStar gift certificate for her chocolate zucchini cupcakes with meringue frosting garnished with cashew toffee bark.

 

tamaryndecacciotti copyShe’s No. 1: Tamarynde Cacciotti with her Grand Prize award for her cream puff cupcakes with Earl Grey pastry filling and mocha buttercream frosting.

 

mickiequinnThe Maestro: Event Producer Mickie Quinn

Cupcakes: Winners on Instagram

Follow The Sophie Fund on Instagram to see stunning photos of the winning cupcakes in the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest. https://www.instagram.com/thesophiefund/

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Geneva Moreland won the “Best Dressed Cupcake” award for a blackberry-filled chocolate cupcake with vegan cream cheese chocolate sage frosting topped with fresh sage #ithacacupcakes #cupcakes #ithacany #ithagram #twithaca @greenstar_coop @alternativesfcu @latourelle_ithaca @wafflefrolic @downtownithaca @ithacaispeople