Student Volunteer Raises Awareness, Funds & Compassion

Erik Woody, a junior at Westfield High School in Massachusetts was challenged by Mrs. Biancuzzo in his Honors ELA class to do a project on something he wanted to do in the future.  Being sure that his future includes a degree in social work and eventually becoming a therapist, Erik began thinking of what his project could be.

With his passion being helping people impacted by trauma to get therapy, Erik began researching organizations that fit what he had in mind and found the Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc.

“It’s important to bring awareness to trauma and the need for therapy,”  Erik explains, “and to help people know it’s ok to go to therapy. There shouldn’t be a stigma about getting the help you need and talking about your mental health.”

Erik’s project has had two goals.  One has been to raise funds to spread this awareness through ATN.  The other has been to challenge everyone in the school to write positive letters to teens and youth who are challenged by trauma. 

Erik reports that over 100 letters have been written so far.  He promoted his project throughout the school by speaking at clubs and making posters.  His teacher assisted by letting other teachers and classes know about the project.  “It’s been a lot of work.  At first I stayed after school every day and attended a different club to talk about the importance of this work,” says Erik. “I was energized about this work and it helped others to get excited about it too.”

Erik has clearly thought about his future and what it will take to be able to help people as a therapist. “There’s such a shortage of therapists,” he explains, “which means people are waiting many months to get the care they need.”  Erik will be taking AP classes and dual enrolled in the local community college in his senior year.  He also plans on joining the Peace Corps for additional experience.  He knows that becoming a therapist is going to take time and may not be the most lucrative career choice.  But he’s also passionate about helping others in this important way.

ATN is honored that Erik chose our nonprofit to be the recipient of this project.  Erik’s  project at Westfield ends June 14.  However, if you’d like to boost what Erik and his school have been able to do on this project, you can still get involved.  Make a donation by June 30. Select “Yes” this is a tribute donation.  Then note  “Erik’s Project” in the box. 

Thank you Erik and Westfield High School!  We’re excited to see what the future holds for you and for all the people you help!

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