Two Seniors Earn Elyssa's Mission Scholarship for Advocating for Mental Health
Congratulations to senior Hope Squad members Alex Brennan ’21 and Courtney Trueman '21, recipients of the 2021 Elyssa's Mission Scholarship. The scholarship awards up to $5,000 to high school juniors and seniors who have successfully applied the ACT (acknowledge, care, tell) technique to help themselves or a friend, peer or community member and have promoted the Signs of Suicide (SOS)/ACT message in their community.
“They did a tremendous job advocating for mental health this year,” says School Counseling Department Chair Mrs. Sheila Blanchfield.
Scholarship applicants had their choice of submitting an essay describing how they helped themselves or a friend by using the ACT technique or a work of art (song, poem, painting, video, etc.) in conjunction with a brief narrative.
“Being awarded this honor is honestly breathtaking,” Brennan wrote in a feature for the Elyssa’s Mission website. “My mission in life has always been to help as many people as I can, and through Hope Squad I have been able to start to live out that mission. This scholarship does not just feel as if it has been awarded to me alone. I feel as if it belongs to all the people who have helped me along my journey. From the rest of my Hope Squad at Loyola Academy, to the amazing counselors who have helped train all of us, and to my parents who have put into me the ideals of how to live a life for others. This scholarship is an honor I carry with me, not lightly however, I will use my talents and my training to further the Hope Squad mission far into life, no matter where it might take me.” Brennan will be attending Marquette University in the fall.
Also featured on the Elyssa’s Mission website was Truman, who is heading to Indiana University. “I am honored to accept the Elyssa‘s Mission Scholarship Award,” she said. “This award is special to me because it will help me pursue my education in the field of mental health. As I head off to Indiana University, I have chosen to focus my studies on social work. I want to continue to be part of the mental solution and teach people who struggle with mental health, that even though they are the most marginalized and underserved group in society, there are people like me who are there to stop the stigma and provide support along the way.”
Elyssa’s Mission provides resources to help prevent teen suicide. The organization funds and implements the evidence-based SOS Signs of Suicide in 250 middle and high schools in Illinois (19 counties, 107 suburbs). To see a full list of recipients and to learn more, click here.