Arm yourself with a kleenex. You’ll need it. This is an uplifting story!
This program that helps individual kids is not flashy. It doesn’t touch hundreds or even thousands. Because of that, it’s often less popular to grant funders due to the small footprint. Despite the huge demand, no philanthropist or corporate funder has yet to see the value of this program that helped over twenty grateful local families last year. Local caseworkers and school counselors love it. Finally, they can help the people who come to them. No one wants to turn down children.
Many times kids cannot access free services at school because they don’t have the evaluation that gives them the diagnosis to qualify. This OnRamp/Family Grant program does that. And it’s the only one we know of that does.
With Virginia ranking 49th for providing services for treatment of childhood major depression, Beacon Tree Foundation saw a critical need. Parents actively seeking help for a child were unable to access resources due to lack of money. I am President at Beacon Tree, Tom and Diana Leahy are the founders and it was Tom’s dream that families get the financial help they need to help treat children suffering mental health issues. Our most popular program is OnRamp, which pays for Psychological Evaluations not covered by insurance or medicaid. Many times it’s a $600 co-pay that the family is unable to cover. Caseworkers from partner providers are the ones who usually apply on behalf of a patient.
I’ve stood in those shoes. We ran out of money. And when Charles called us, we made the error of not responding immediately to his cries for help because I couldn’t figure out what to do or how to pay for it. I don’t want to see other families go through that. Although they do every day.
This time, DJ asked for help. And he bravely puts himself out there, talks publicly about his mental illness and struggles with Substance Use Disorder in a public video. This is unprecedented for our organization and DJ is clearly not ashamed and should not be. Neither his mother or DJ hesitated for one second when I mentioned doing this video. In fact, they leapt at the chance to obliterate the stigma around mental illness. Thank you Mary-ellen and DJ.
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