2019 Scholarship Recipients

garrett-obrien Garett O’Brien
Graduate of Naperville North High School. Will Be Attending Loyola University Chicago”I am truly happy to be involved with Elyssa’s Mission. Winning this scholarship not only helps with the cost of books but it also means my story will live on. Ultimately that was the goal for my mental health fair: keeping the prevention and awareness circulating throughout the world. As long I have read and understand the above as I know my story and the fair had an impact on at least one person, I know it was a success. In the end, I hope my story will inspire others to be the change that they seek in the world and act upon it.”

hannah-schilling Hannah Schilling
Graduate of Maine South High School”I am beyond honored to have received the Elyssa’s Mission Scholarship. Most importantly, however, I am honored to have been a part of such an impactful program in the first place. Not only have I been able to inform others about the ACT steps, but I have also used them in certain circumstances throughout my high school career. What makes this program so special is that it is teen initiated. Students reaching out to students. Friends reaching out to friends. Being a recipient of this scholarship reaffirms my belief that I am doing meaningful work and having an impact on those in my school. I would like to thank Elyssa’s Mission for being a part of my continued education.”

emily-karling Emily Karling
Graduate of Downers Grove South High School”Receiving the Elyssa’s mission scholarship means more to me than words can explain. I have a passion for helping people struggling with mental health. I have firsthand and personal experience with the devastating effects of mental illness and suicide. I hope that in the future I can become a social worker for youth in need of support and guidance along the path of recovery. Being gifted this award only inspires me further to pursue my dreams.”

joshua-slavin Joshua Slavin
Graduate of Yorkville High School. Will Be Attending Washington University in St. Louis”With High School graduation on the horizon, it is very sad to reflect that not all students reach this milestone. As the 3rd leading cause of death for youth aged 10-24, over 4600 young lives are lost by suicide each year. With a mother who is a psychologist, I learned how to do suicide assessments in elementary school. While I had hoped I would never know anyone feeling so depressed, desperate, or hopeless that they would consider harming themselves, I have had many friends in crisis and have realized the power of acknowledging, caring, and telling. It is an honor to receive the Elyssa’s Mission Scholarship. My hope is we all are kind and responsive to ourselves and each other, uniting together and taking action so high school graduation is a reality for all children.”

kamila-bochenek Kamila Bochenek
Graduate of Maine South High School. Will Be Attending Loyola University of Chicago”Thank you so much for choosing me as a recipient of this meaningful scholarship. Receiving this scholarship, to me, means continuing to advocate for mental health and healthy coping mechanisms. I am committed to keeping the ACT steps with me throughout my whole life to emphasize the importance of being there for one another, especially when times are tough. As young adults heading into a new chapter of their lives, we might feel overwhelmed with new beginnings, but ensuring that we have a good support system will make the process easier. I am excited to be a part of the Elyssa’s Mission program because it is to them that I owe my knowledge that helped me save my friend’s life.”

charlotte-geier Charlotte Geier
Maine South High School, 11th grade”I am so blessed and honored that I was chosen to receive the Elyssa’s Mission Scholarship. Since my freshman year, I’ve known that the Suicide Awareness Program at my school has undoubtedly saved lives. Specifically, this program allowed me to speak up about one of my own friends and find them help before anything got worse. I never would have been able to do this without learning the ACT technique and learning that it is okay to speak up.Being a newbie at a huge school can seem overwhelming in itself, but not knowing what to do about a friend who is depressed or thinking of suicide can make the new experience ten times more frightful. I can speak from personal experience that this program and training is an invaluable experience and a life saver for freshman, as it teaches them exactly how to handle such a frightful situation, whether it be a friend or themselves who is going through it.Now, in being a part of the Suicide Awareness Team at my school this year, I truly believe I was able to help in spreading this information and the ACT technique to all freshman. Therefore, by earning the Elyssa’s Mission Scholarship, I hope to continue to teach the ACT technique and advocate for suicide awareness as I pursue a higher education.”

kayla-mish Kayla Mish
Graduate of Burlington Central High School. Will Be Attending University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign”I am honored to be awarded the Elyssa’s Mission Scholarship. Elyssa’s mission is a wonderful program that allowed me to share my story of how I was able to use the ACT Technique and help an amazing friend of mine. Without a doubt, I will continue to keep helping others and advocating that we don’t have to go through hard times alone. Thank you for awarding me this very meaningful scholarship to help me further my education.”

crystal-monarrez Crystal Monarrez
Graduate of Batavia High School. Will Be Attending Brigham Young University”Overcome with love and gratitude for the beautiful people embracing mental health at Elyssa’s Mission, I am honored to receive this scholarship to further my education in Anthropology: Sociocultural at Brigham Young University where I will remain committed to forwarding a lasting change in the world, one that will provoke a deep desire to spread love to as many people as possible. Thank you, Elyssa’s Mission, for generously supporting me in achieving my dreams. I look forward to creating worldwide magic with you all!”

jessica-nena Jessica Nena
Graduate of Batavia High School”It means so much to me to be a recipient of the 2019 Elyssa’s Mission Scholarship. Suicide awareness and prevention is deeply personal for me, and tragically, I know the pain felt by those who have lost a loved one to suicide, such as the family and friends of Elyssa, and the void that will forever be felt for the loss of their loved one. Being awarded this scholarship is not only validation of the efforts I have already made toward suicide awareness and prevention, but it will also fuel my efforts as I continue to go forward and make strides in trying to help reduce the stigma of mental illness and the tragedy of suicide.”

isaak-robert-porter Isaak Robert Porter
Graduate of West Oak High School (South Carolina). Will Be Attending Tri County Technical College”I am not going to lie; I wish I never knew to seek out a scholarship from a suicide awareness agency. I wish my brother was still with us, so I didn’t know to look for a scholarship on this nature. However, I do appreciate the scholarship and I will put it to good use. I plan on always telling my brother’s story, and I plan on always checking on my friends and family. My new motto and now “check on your happy friends.” As we all know, the brain needs to be checked on as much as our hears.Thank you again for choosing me for the recipient of the Elyssa’s Mission scholarship. Your scholarship will help me work toward graduating debt free from college.”