Togathon Supports Mental Health Services

On February 20 and 21, Easton High School’s Latin Honor Society presented Togathon, a virtual online event raising awareness of the need for additional mental health services in local schools. Every year, the Latin Honor Society (LHS) holds an independent fundraiser; this year they chose to coordinate their event with the Hopeful Campaign and elected to support mental health services for students since recognizing those in the education system have been greatly affected by the pandemic and the challenges of virtual learning. The event provided online entertainment featuring different performances by local talent, school clubs and community organizations with donations being accepted on a GoFundMe platform, as well as directly to the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Local entertainers and artists provided content and generous citizens made donations. Of special interest were the interviews with local mental health practitioners including Dr. Rob Schmidt, TCPS Mental Health Coordinator, and State Senator Addie Eckardt, who has a mental health background.

The Easton High School Latin Honor Society partnered with The Hopeful Campaign to host a Togathon fundraising event to support mental health services in the schools. Dr. Kelly Griffith (left), Superintendent, Talbot County Public Schools; Dr. Robert Schmidt, TCPS Mental Health Coordinator; Senator Adelaide Eckardt; Latin Honor Society members Lily Harrison, Vlad Rada, Kate Chapple, Chloe Dixon, Billy Haufe, Madeline Principe, and Sara Chapple; Laura Heikes, Education Foundation Board Chairman; EHS Honor Society member Sophie Leight; Inna Kunz, Latin Teacher; and Sherry Bowen, EHS Principal.

Inna Kunz, Easton High School Latin Honor Society advisor, stated, “I am so proud of the hard work Chloe Dixon, Vlad Rada and Madeline Principe, the officers of the Latin Honor Society, and other LHS members have put into this Togathon. I never imagined the event could be so successful, but they proved that passion and a dedicated team can really make magic happen. The performances they gathered were varied, engaging, and ranging from funny to emotional in a very effective way. While many of us have spent this past school year in a state of frustration and ennui, the LHS students and the Hopeful team really showed us it’s possible to still be inspired and do good for the community,”

At a recent school ceremony, a check for $20,000. was presented to Laura Heikes, President of the Talbot County Public Schools Education Fund Foundation. State Senator Addie Eckardt also issued citations to the Easton High School students from the MD Senate, Governor Hogan, and Delegates Chris Adams and Johnny Mautz.

Laura noted, “The TCPS Education Foundation is honored to accept this significant donation from Dock Street Foundation’s Hopeful 2021 Campaign.  This investment in youth mental health demonstrates a shared commitment to ensuring that Talbot County Public School youth have the resources they need to learn and to thrive, both today and in the future.  This donation will be pivotal in the Education Foundation’s mission to enhance student learning outcomes, as we know that children’s mental and emotional wellbeing is closely tied to their ability to learn, to grow, and to reach their fullest potentials.”

One local couple, Hugh Panero and Mary Beth Durkin, who made a significant contribution commented, “Books will be written about the negative impact that a year of social isolation and impersonal Zoom learning has had on our student population, especially among lower-income and other at-risk groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It is very forward-thinking to get out in front of this looming mental health issue as students return to school. We applaud the Hopeful Team for first reminding us to be Hopeful and then giving us a concrete plan to make it so much more than just a slogan. We are happy to lend our financial support and urge others to do so as well.”

Local businesses participated in Togathon by providing donated gift cards, themed baskets, and professional services as prizes to support the event. Prizes were awarded to donors and performers for their participation, including the performer with the most watch-time during the event.

Togathon was funded in part by the Talbot County Arts Council providing a grant to bring in professional consulting on implementing an online event. Additional support has been provided by Affordable Tree Service, Carrion Electric, Sprout, and Vintage Books.

View some of the Togathon videos at dockstreetfoundation.org or donate directly at https://www.gofundme.com/f/togathon2021 The Hopeful campaign continues through the end of April.

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