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

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.

Cupcake Joy, 2023 Edition

Explore a photo gallery from the 8th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest, held in the Commons on October 14, 2023.

Bees Rule! Hudson & Gamay arriving with their masterpiece!

Alecia Sundsmo and fellow bakers receive 2nd Place award

Contest Emcee Amber Robson

Finalist judges brought cookies to give away

Free treats from Via’s Cookies, Case Sera Sera, Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop, and Sinfully Delicious Baking Co.

Trays of cupcakes awaiting the judges

The music of singer songwriter Rachel Beverly

Setting up at the Bernie Milton Pavilion

Kathryn Holloway entering her “Brunch Means a Waffle Lot!” cupcakes

Live, from the Ithaca Commons!

Answer: It means a lot!

And there’s no charge

The beats of Joe Gibson & Dan Collins

DJ Eric Dixon on the media deck

Contestant No. 1: Ana Beltz registering her “Tea in the Garden” cupcakes

Lucy Jiang takes home the 3rd Place award for her “Happy Capybara” cupcakes

Producer Cara Nichols of CRN Events, LLC

Drum roll, please!

SingTrece and Kenneth McLaurin, singing notes and slinging jokes