Erika’s Lighthouse is celebrating its 15 year anniversary! I can’t believe how much we’ve grown over the years. In 2004, after the loss of their daughter Erika, founders Ginny and Tom Neuckranz set out to prevent this from ever happening to another child. In April 2004, our first meeting was held and by May, Erika’s Lighthouse was officially incorporated. By 2008, 54 middle schools were trained to use our first program and just one year later, our Parent Handbook on Childhood and Adolescent Depression was launched.
Ten years after Erika’s Lighthouse was founded, 11 high school Teen Clubs impacted 22,525 teens and 2,776 people were impacted through community awareness events. Our first middle school program, Real Teenagers Talking About Adolescent Depression: A Video-Based Study Guide was taught to 1,745 teens and our high school program, Teen Depression: Stories of Hope & Health curriculum was taught to 3,177 teens. In 2015, 124 schools were using Erika’s Lighthouse programs in 18 states. The following year, Erika’s Lighthouse programs were serving 184 schools and organizations and 24 states and two countries were teaching our programs.
In the fall of 2017, we launched our new high school program, the Erika’s Lighthouse Program: Depression and Suicide Awareness for High School Students. In the fall of 2018, we launched a new website that features a new resource portal for educators, strengthening how we connect with school partners and housing all of our programs and resources in one place. Our Erika’s Lighthouse Teen Clubs continue to make strides against stigma and have expanded into middle schools and high schools across the United States in Illinois, Colorado, California, and Florida. The pilot of the original high school program, Real Teenagers Talking About Adolescent Depression (RTTAAD), was published in the Advances in Social Work journal out of Indiana University in January, 2019.
Today, Erika’s Lighthouse Programs are being used in 320 schools across 39 states and three countries. Our growth has been tremendous! We are so appreciative of all the support we’ve received and what we’ve been able to accomplish—raising awareness of adolescent depression and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
We invite you to join our Erika’s Lighthouse 2019 Gala on May 18th as we celebrate 15 years of success as A Beacon of Hope for Adolescent Depression. Our Gala will feature dinner, dancing, a raffle, and a live auction, which will include a limited number of high-end exclusive and experiential packages. Register now and help us continue to “Get Depression Out of the Dark.”
Thank you to our media sponsor Make it Better and to our Official Sponsor Compass Health Center! We couldn’t have done it without the support of our sponsors, and people like you. Thank you!