Editor’s note: In the second half of 2019, Lost&Found is expanding its effort to end suicide for young adults in the United States in four significant ways: adding new campus chapters, refocusing its programming on resilience, expanding its mental health research efforts, and seeking new sources of financial support. This is the first in a four-part series looking at those efforts.

Lost&Found will grow to four dots on the South Dakota map this fall as student chapters start up at the University of Sioux Falls and Dakota Wesleyan University (Mitchell). They will join long-standing chapters at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion) and South Dakota State University (Brookings).

“For some time, we’ve been considering, ‘where does Lost&Found go to create more impact?’” Lost&Found CEO Erik Muckey said. “Over the course of a few weeks in early 2019, we found a clear answer—there is a need right here in our backyard, and we’re ready to meet it. To serve a campus in Sioux Falls, where we are headquartered as an organization, and a campus so closely tied to our founding roots [former President DJ Smith grew up in Mitchell] is incredibly meaningful to our team.”

UNIVERSITY OF SIOUX FALLS JOINS LOST&FOUND CHAPTER NETWORK

In spring 2019, a coalition of student affairs leadership and campus counselors championed efforts to start a chapter at the University of Sioux Falls. The newly-founded USF chapter will include a team of 11 students and a new adviser, Brooke Murphy.

“We want our students to live fully engaged lives while at USF and beyond,” said Murphy, who is also an assistant professor of education at USF. “L&F provides opportunities for students to learn and grow in what that means for them as individuals and as members of a community.”

Student Hannah DeHoogh-Kliewer, who will lead the chapter as its president, says starting a Lost&Found chapter makes a statement about the kind of community USF wants to be. “The University is taking a progressive step in addressing the importance of resiliency and mental health on a college campus,” DeHoogh-Kliewer said. “As President, I hope to help form a community that more openly engages in conversation about the joys and hardships of life and how we can navigate this stage [of life] together.”

LOST&FOUND COMES HOME: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY JOINS THE FOLD

Reaching Dakota Wesleyan is a natural fit for Lost&Found, as the organization emphasizes many of the institution’s values, including the need for innovative approaches to complex problems facing rural communities, which includes mental health and suicide prevention. The new DWU L&F chapter will launch with a team of five students, led by Chapter President Maryssa Nohr. Jenny Noteboom, Director of Counseling at DWU, will serve as their adviser.

“In my opinion, the most crucial role of the Lost&Found chapter at DWU will be developing a peer mentor program to assist our students,” says John Kippes, Director of Student Life. Kippes and Prevention Education and Training Coordinator Katie Salden played a critical role in bringing DWU Lost&Found to campus. The DWU L&F chapter will collaborate with student affairs and prevention education services as part of its on-campus efforts.

KEY PARTNERSHIPS DRIVE FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR NEW CHAPTERS

Both chapters received critical financial support from local grantmakers and long-term partners of Lost&Found to make these new chapters possible.

The Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation gave $2,500 through its Spot Grant program to launch the new USF chapter. The Spot Grant program provides grants of up to $2,500 for projects that meet an important community need and are expedited for review within 10 business days.

Long-time partner and friend of Lost&Found, American Bank & Trust, gave $2,500 as part of a sponsorship for Lost&Found’s participation in the annual Kicks for a Cause event held in Sioux Falls. All of AB&T’s gift was applied to launch the Lost&Found chapter at Dakota Wesleyan. Kicks for a Cause is an annual event held in Sioux Falls, bringing together 16 local nonprofits to compete in a friendly kickball tournament while raising funds and awareness.

“We are fortunate to have community partners who understand the need for investment in improving lifelong mental health in South Dakota,” says CEO Erik Muckey. “The support of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation and American Bank & Trust will leave lasting legacies of mental well-being at the University of Sioux Falls and Dakota Wesleyan University.”

Lost&Found ready to launch, and so are our chapters. We’re hosting a Lost&Found Launch Event from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019, at the Fernson Tap Room in Sioux Falls.

Come hear more about the way Lost&Found is ramping up its efforts this fall and for the years to come!