Building Resilience with Lost&Found
Lost&Found, based out of Sioux Falls, is a nonprofit organization focused on facilitating proactive, data-driven, public health approaches to suicide prevention for young adults ages 15-34. What started as a student project in 2010 has grown into an extensive organization with a decade of outreach, advocacy, and mental health referral programs in South Dakota through college campus partnerships.
This organization envisions a world where every young adult has the courage and access to resources that help prevent suicide. When young adults are at the center of prevention efforts, Lost&Found can do more to build resilient communities now and in the future. The heart of their work is about more than just saving lives. Lost&Found focuses on what it means to live life well– with resilience and hope.
South Dakota Community Foundation’s (SDCF) Senior Program Officer, Ginger Niemann joined Erik Muckey, Executive Director of Lost&Found, for a conversation on the organization as a whole and the ways they are utilizing grants from SDCF to expand their reach. At 18 years old, Erik was one of the founders of the program when it was designed by students at the University of South Dakota.
“Lost&Found is very uniquely a South Dakota organization, and I know that’s really where my home is and where my heart is. So, it’s really cool to be a part of something that started when I was 18 years old and an audacious freshman, to now–13 years later–leading the organization with a really qualified and hard working team,” shared Erik.
Lost&Found has received a number of grants through SDCF’s competitive grant programs but was recently awarded a $100,000 Beyond Idea Grant (BIG) from SDCF. With this grant, Lost&Found is working to develop, launch, and fully integrate a mobile application that will be utilized to increase the impact of mental health and suicide prevention programs happening on college and high school campuses in key communities across South Dakota.
The goal of this project is to do two key things:
1) Integrate with existing in-person, resilience-building programs at several campuses across the state to increase the reach of peer support programs, build data-gathering capacity for mental health-related work, and give students access to critical resources both on campus and within their communities.
2) Allow students easy access to potentially life-saving mental health education and support. This app will be developed with South Dakota student developers and testers, increasing impact through a student-driven program.
“As our services have grown over the years, we’ve been able to touch just about every corner of South Dakota, and it always comes back to why we do what we do and what we care about as an organization,” said Erik.
“I can’t say enough how much of a part the South Dakota Community Foundation has played in advancing something really important in the state by partnering with us through their grant programs.”