The glowmedia project provides mental health education for a new generation
Why did we start the glowmedia project? I can tell you that we founded the organization because nearly a third of teens suffer from an anxiety disorder. Ninety-five percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. One in six teens admits to taking prescription medications to get high or change their mood. All of those statistics are true, but beyond the numbers and statistics are the stories, including a painful personal story. I lost my son, Charlie, in 2011 due to an Oxycontin overdose. He had suffered from anxiety, depression, and substance misuse for much of his short life. Even with the support of a loving family and resources to help treat him, it was not enough. We know that we are not alone in our grief. Similar stories play out every day in households, schools, and communities around the country. Just like physical health, mental health affects us all. But unlike physical health, many young people coping with mental illness and difficult emotional issues have little support. If a student broke his arm playing basketball, he will return to school in a cast. Everyone, including his teachers will ask how he is. He will receive special treatment, maybe extra time to get to and from classes. People will offer to carry his books. If a student suffered a panic attack and missed a day or more of school, would his fellow students and teachers treat him any differently when he returned? There would be no outward sign of the emotional toll the panic attack had taken on this student. Schools lack the funding and resources to address mental health in a meaningful way. The stigma associated with mental illness can sometimes be enough for families to avoid seeking treatment. While touring our first short film, which addressed prescription medicine misuse, we met with educators, students and families in cities across the country. The response to our first film was overwhelming positive and the most frequently asked question, not only by adults, but students, was “What else do you have”? That question spurred us to take our organization to the next level and create a library of short films addressing various sensitive topics affecting today’s youth.
Trish Glowacki is a filmmaker, writer, and songwriter. Trish has written many short stories, screenplays and songs. Her first musical, WARNING: Take Only As Directed, was adapted for the screen. The award winning film, presented by Adventure Theatre-MTC, has proven to be an innovative and effective tool for teaching teens, their educators, parents, and guardians about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Trish has served on many different boards in the D.C. area and is involved with several volunteer organizations. She graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Vanessa is a passionate mental health and education advocate dedicated to helping children and teens. With a proven track record in fundraising and non-profit administration, she plays a pivotal role in advancing our mission. She has successfully orchestrated and implemented various fundraising initiatives, demonstrating an acute understanding of the financial intricacies crucial to sustaining and expanding our impactful programs. Prior to joining Glowmedia’s team, she founded a much needed nonprofit school for students with learning differences, providing a safe space for those unique and special students to thrive. Vanessa is the proud mother of an amazing son and daughter. And no matter what she is doing, you'll most likely find her sidekick Chewie by her side.
Chief Operating Officer
Music Director and Director of Community Outreach
Dale serves as Music Director for all glowmedia project films. He’s a well-traveled musician who has written and recorded with John Mellencamp, recorded and performed around the world, and even penned a commercial jingle or two. Fisher, an Iowa native, transplanted to Los Angeles after musical detours around the country and all over Europe. As Director of Community Outreach, Dale has cemented relationships with some of the largest school systems in the U.S., including LAUSD. These connections have allowed the glowmedia project to reach students and educators at a level that creates collaboration on current and future film projects.
Katie Ann Lemek, MSW, LCSW
Katie is a Clinical Social Worker at the McLean-Franciscan Child and Adolescent Inpatient Mental Health Program. The Child and Adolescent Inpatient Mental Health Program is a joint effort that unites the strengths of a premier mental health provider, McLean Hospital, with a nationally recognized leader in pediatric rehabilitation and special education, Franciscan Children's. The goal of the program is to work with each child and adolescent and their family to assess their individual treatment needs so they can successfully stabilize and transition to receive appropriate treatment for their mental health needs. Katie received her BA in Sociology from the College of the Holy Cross and her Masters in Social Work from Boston College. Katie lives in Boston.
Director, Student Advisory Board
Andrea Hansell, PhD
Script Writer and Consultant
Andrea Hansell, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist with many years’ experience working with children and adolescents and their parents. Dr. Hansell is also a published author of several short stories. To date she has co-written and consulted on four glowmedia scripts. Andrea received her BA in Psychology and Creative Writing from Princeton, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan.
Social Media Manager and Assistant
Carelle is a Media Studies graduate, with a dedication to Mental Health Advocacy, Media Literacy and research. Throughout her education, she worked as a Student Researcher for the Fillmore Activist Project collecting data and conducting interviews with historical activist organizations in San Francisco, California. Currently, she serves as the Social Media Content Creator and Assistant for all Glowmedia social platforms, raising awareness for youth mental health and stress management for students.
Elizabeth (Beth) Lemek has been a community leader for over thirty years. A mother of four, Beth began her volunteer career in Davenport, Iowa. She was involved with her children’s schools and local charities where she served on boards and countless committees. Beth and her husband, Brian, moved their family to Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1998. Beth embraced her new local school and church communities where she continued to nurture her leadership skills. Today, Beth serves on the Board of Directors of The Catholic Charities of DC/Maryland, and sits on the President’s Council. As a board member of Saint Ambrose University in Davenport Iowa since 2009, Beth has co-chaired a successful Capital Campaign and is currently co-chairing the Building Our Future Campaign which will fund a state-of-the-art Wellness and Recreation Center on campus. Beth understands how important the right balance of academic rigor, physical and mental health, and social opportunity can be to college students today and for years to come.
Susan P. Potter
Susan Potter serves as Chief Administrative Officer of The deNovo Initiative, responsible for all legal, contractual, operational, compliance, and human resources matters within the company. Susan has over 25 years of legal experience in both the for-profit and non-profit realms. Most recently, she has served as in-house counsel to two health care nonprofits in Oregon, gaining invaluable experience in the areas of operations, compliance, and risk management. Her experience in board governance matters is augmented by her volunteer service on several nonprofit boards of directors. Susan earned her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College and her law degree from New York University School of Law. After practicing law and raising her family in Washington, D.C., Susan relocated to Portland, Oregon in 2013. She enjoys exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and taking advantage of the theater, film, music, and other cultural opportunities available in Portland and Seattle.
Claire Joyce has been dedicated to educational non-profits for over 20 years. Her early years of volunteer work included organizing Read-a-thons, renovating outdated libraries, and sending books to children in developing countries. She then turned her focus toward serving students from the most vulnerable backgrounds. Claire worked at Greenhouse Scholars, a Boulder, Colorado based non-profit, that provided personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students. Claire led their mentor program which provided scholars access to role models and leaders from a variety of industries. In 2014, Claire joined the Georgetown Scholars Program, at Georgetown University, as the Director of the Alumni Mentor Program. She created and coordinated a program to support 640 primarily first-generation college students. Most recently, Claire served as the Board chair at the Consortium of Catholic Academies (CCA), a catholic consortium of four inner-city schools in Washington. These schools are committed to delivering exceptional academic, social-emotional, and financial support to 850 dynamic and diverse students in a safe and nurturing environment. Claire received her Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Claire and her husband Tom reside in Georgetown and enjoy spending time with their four children and two grandchildren.
Matt is the CEO for the Global Teaching Project. The Global Teaching Project provides a scalable platform for extraordinary teachers from leading schools around the world to bring blended, advanced curricula to students everywhere. Mr. Dolan, an attorney, previously practiced law at major law firms in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Texas, was a director with a Washington-based consulting firm, and served as a staff counsel in the U.S. Senate. In addition to his professional duties, Mr. Dolan has served in a volunteer capacity for many charitable, philanthropic, and public service entities. He has been an officer and director of the Todd Wagner Foundation since its founding over a decade ago; over that period the Foundation has donated tens of millions of dollars to various philanthropic initiatives, with a particular focus on expanding educational opportunity for underserved youth. For over 20 years, Mr. Dolan has been a board member of Archbishop Carroll High School, a college preparatory school operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington that serves a highly diverse student body, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds; during his tenure, much of which was as board chair, virtually all the school’s many hundreds of graduates have gone on to college. Since 2005, Mr. Dolan has served on the board of the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities Immigrant Services program, which provides medical, vocational, and other support to recent immigrants and others seeking assistance. Mr. Dolan also served from 2003-2007 on the Maryland State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, a gubernatorial appointment. Mr. Dolan is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Yale College, where he graduated cum laude with distinction in the History major. At Yale, he received the Fenmore R. Seton Award for community service for his work tutoring center city youth. Mr. Dolan and his wife, MaryEllen, have four children and live in Maryland.
Kevin Berry, Retired Colonel, Sales Executive Pepsico
A graduate of West Point Academy, Kevin served 27 years in the Army with active duty as an Apache Combat Helicopter pilot. Since retiring in 2016, Kevin has been a Sales Executive with Pepsico. He lives in Rockville, MD, with his wife, Monica. Parenting children suffering with mental illness while serving overseas, Kevin has become an advocate for better mental health awareness, support, and treatment options for military and non-military families.
Monica Berry, Sales Executive, Novo Nordisk
Monica is an award-winning performer with over 20 years experience in pharmaceutical sales. As a devoted wife and mother of three who managed a busy household during her husband’s multiple deployments, she has also become an advocate for better mental health support and treatment options for military and non-military families. She lives in Rockville, MD with her husband, Kevin.