The LETS Effect!
Let's Erase the Stigma together!
We are here to say, let's talk! Do conversations about mental illness make you squirm? Get over it! The children and youth of LETS Educational Foundation are getting the word out about erasing the stigma of mental illness by reaching out to other young peers in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and community centers to get together and form a new kind of Club—a Club that understands that the first step to helping ourselves and each other comes from erasing the stigmas that stop kids from getting help. We can't change behavior without changing perception, and who better to create an empowering conversation around mental illness than the energetic children, teens, and young adults who can erase the stigma of mental illness—before the stigma ever starts?
If you are an adult who has ever marveled at the amazing ideas of a child, or if you are a young person who has ever felt you have something to say that can create a better world—then it's easy to see why LETS youth are the right people to change how we perceive mental illness, stigma, and tough topics. Kids of any age can open the door to education, prevention, and asking for help...because they can open up a new kind of dialogue! Let's begin education about mental illness in middle school or before; before kids begin to experience problems and begin to pull away from friends and family.
Today more than ever, young people need a children's charity like LETS that helps to...
- Increase mental health literacy, leading students to demonstrate greater understanding and less stigmatized attitudes toward mental illness from a young age.
- Foster greater peer-to-peer Support, empowering young people to increase their comfort in discussing mental health concerns with their peers.
- Improve help-seeking behaviors, helping kids become more willing to seek mental health help and treatment when needed.
Join us now by going to the "Let's Start" tab and beginning your own LETS Effect today! You can make a difference for yourself, your friends, and your family by starting a LETS Club in your elementary school, middle school, high school, college, university, or community center. That's the power of Generation LETS!
LET'S Begin Our Story
It’s time to talk. It’s time for youth to lead. It’s time for kids to be heard!
LETS started as a small group with a big mission: to erase the stigma of mental illness. We've all experienced it in some way. A grandmother with Alzheimer's. A cousin with depression. A younger brother with autism. Or even you. We see it, but many of us don't know how to help. With the way mental illness has been portrayed in popular culture (think: Psycho, Silence of the Lambs), it's easy to see why people fear mental illness. The social stigma against mental illness is so pervasive that even those suffering from it are afraid to talk about it. But silence does not make the problem disappear! The members of LETS spotted this problem and began to make change.
By connecting with school boards, health organizations, community centers, and educational facilities, our LETS team is reaching across the nation with a simple message: kids can make a difference. Kids can be the ones who erase stigma! By reaching out to children, adolescents, and young adults in their schools and communities, our goal is to educate as early as possible to erase stigma with generations to come. Mental illness is not something to fear, and if we listen to youth they will tell us just that. Our mission at LETS is to empower youth to educate each other and communities about mental illness, provide access to resources for those who need it, and connect kids with others who care. Whether you're a kid in middle or elementary school, an older student with a young heart, LETS can help you erase the stigma.
The youth of Generation LETS, from middle school through college, are recreating ideas of mental illness and letting everyone know that they're ready to talk about mental health like any other health need. We want mental illness to become welcome dialogue in everyday conversations. We want to find solutions to connecting everyone with supportive resources and knowledge. We want mental illness to matter to everyone, so that when someone has a problem their friends don't rush away, but rush to help. We know that youth can help. We know that YOU can help! Let's try something new. Let's make things happen. Let's erase the stigma. Let's!
How Is LETS Funded?
How far can passion and commitment take a mission to erase the stigma of mental illness? Let's find out!
With all the growth and enthusiasm surrounding Let's Erase the Stigma Educational Foundation, many have asked us, where do you get funding to support your outreach? In a word: passion.
So far LETS has received almost all of its financial support by LETS founder Philippe Fontilea's personal rock climbing business, On Belay: Rock Climbing Instruction and Fitness, LLC. On Belay is a subsidiary of the LETS Educational Foundation, with 100 percent of proceeds used to fund the LETS mission of empowering youth to erase the stigma of mental illness. The generous support from On Belay has helped LETS come this far, but we will need more support to establish educational programs in high schools and universities across the nation.
Why would somebody dedicate an entire business to funding a nonprofit without any gain? The answer goes back to passion. After seeing firsthand the harmful effects of stigma in his own family, Phil committed himself to erasing the stigma of mental illness. Now he is putting everything he can into LETS because he knows that LETS youth are doing important work, and he believes in them. As a devoted guide to climbers, father to his son, mentor to youth, and advocate against stigma, Phil is using On Belay to empower LETS.
"It's all about the kids! " Phil says. "Advocating for youth and helping them to erase the stigma of mental illness is one of the most important things I can do. I'm stoked that LETS is traveling with such great momentum and reaching an international level. I'm so proud of the awesome LETS kids!"
LETS Travels across the States
Take a look at LETS' geographic growth.What began as a Los Angeles based high school club has gained national awareness and enthusiasm and even generated international inquiries. We are currently building new chapters all over major metropolitan areas in the United States, including greater Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, Stanford, Boise, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C., and this is just the start. Young people today are creating a new movement against stigma; they are creating Generation LETS. The growth doesn't begin and end at the high school level either. LETS has expanded into middle schools and colleges and universities, expanding the age range of Generation LETS to younger kids who have the power to break the stigma before it begins, and older kids who continue the erasing the stigma into early adulthood and beyond!
LETS is not funded by other businesses or parties hoping for gain. LETS is 100 percent passion-driven. While On Belay's commitment has propelled us forward, we need more than one man's rock-climbing business to take the LETS mission of youth empowerment to new heights across the country. With your help, we hope to reach even younger kids and begin the conversation about mental illness even earlier.
We Have Climbed. Please Help Us Soar.
LETS youth are already erasing the stigma of mental illness with a far-reaching message, but we still need help.
We appreciate all levels of support. If you can, please make a tax-deductible donation or introduce us to resources that can help us sustain a great mission for great youth. Funding directly benefits LETS kids and youth by enabling us to provide:
- Grants of $1,000 to each high school who starts their own Club
- Mentorship Funding for university-to-high-school and high-school-to-middle-school and middle-school-to-elementary programs
- Funding to develop and implement a toolkit for elementary and middle school classrooms
- Funding for universities to set up LETS chapters
- Research funding for universities to explore LETS outcomes
- Annual LETS Conferences for High School Students with no registration fee for students
- Youth symposiums for youth who want to make a difference
- Outreach opportunities for community service and education
- Stigma-erasing projects conceptualized and initiated by LETS youth
- Toolkits for elementary and middle school students to bring the conversation about erasing the stigma to the younger kids
If you take a look at how the LETS kids are making a difference, we're sure you'll believe in them too. We see that youth have an answer, and that their energy and drive can erase the stigma of mental illness for their communities and for future generations. We are excited for them! Passion is taking LETS far, and when we add the support of even more passionate people, LETS will soar.