New Professional Community Ambassadors program is up and running!
Our newly launched Professional Community Ambassadors (PCA) program brings together volunteers nationwide to help Erika’s Lighthouse reach more youth. This group of dedicated professionals is made up of school-based educators, social workers, and counselors who have used our programs and strongly believe in the effectiveness of Erika’s Lighthouse.
Each PCA will present at local conferences on behalf of Erika’s Lighthouse and champion our programs to their peers. The response to the PCA program has been amazing–we already have 14 professionals signed up!
Cassie is a Health & Physical Education teacher from Brownsburg, IN, and the President of Indiana SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators). She has already presented on behalf of Erika’s Lighthouse at multiple conferences, including the Indiana SHAPE Conference and West Virginia SHAPE.
She recently took time to answer questions about why she joined the PCA and her view of Erika’s Lighthouse programs:
What drew you to the PCA program?
I have a strong alignment with the mission of Erika’s Lighthouse and a desire to bring it to a larger network of people working with youth.
How long have you been utilizing Erika’s Lighthouse programs? Which program(s) do you implement in your school?
About three years. I use the Level II Depression Education lessons for my middle school students.
I truly believe that the self-referral card saved the life of one of my students.
In your opinion, what sets Erika’s Lighthouse programs apart from other mental health programs you have used or investigated using?
To me, it’s one of the most age-appropriate programs. The videos show young people so it catches their attention. Also, there is good representation – all different “types” of teens. My kids comment that they like the true accounts of personal struggles. Our school guidance counselors and I like the self-referral cards so students can quietly indicate their need. I truly believe that the self-referral card saved the life of one of my students.
Have students been receptive to Erika’s Lighthouse programs? Have you noticed any positive impact from the programs?
Yes. It opens up conversations that might otherwise be too uncomfortable. It helps us start the conversation and reduce the stigma. Students come to me more to express concerns about others and themselves after we use the ELH program. I think it sets up the environment and gives them the language to talk about mental health.
What has been the most compelling part of the curriculum for you? For your students?
For me, it’s using the self-referral card. For my students, it’s the videos that normalize mental health struggles and explain that sometimes there is no obvious “reason” for depression.