The Mental Health Association of Niagara County has purchased 50 Christmas/holiday cards from a Mount St. Mary Academy student-run business called “Cards for a Cause” to send to its supporters. The association is expanding youth programming.
“A friend, Tracy Diina, who has a daughter who goes to the school, told me about the cards that her daughter and some other students were making to bring attention to youth living with a mental health diagnosis,” said Daniel Colpoys, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Niagara County. “This resonated with myself and the staff at the agency, so we wanted to support these efforts.”
The Mental Health Association recently concluded annual poinsettia and wreath sales, which it uses as a fundraiser.
“We decided to use the cards to send to those people who made purchases of these items as a thank you, as it ended up being our most successful sale ever,” Colpoys said. “We made sure to include a note in each card that the cards were made by local youth to support their peers living with mental illness.”
“Cards for a Cause” is made up of a group of students from Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore. Handmade cards are created for various holidays and special occasions. The goal is to give back to the community and raise awareness about mental health.
“We wanted to pick a cause that we all felt passionate about, and settled on mental health because receiving a card can put a smile on someone’s face,” Mount St. Mary senior Ava Kuty said. “I love that our cards can bring such joy to others. Anything that can improve someone’s mood is a win in my book and so important to me, because I know how even something small can make a big difference.”
In 2020, the students had an idea to start this business. They felt they had a talent and decided to put that to good work. “Cards for a Cause” now has multiple designs printed, ranging from holiday cards to get well cards. Right now, there are more than 1,000 cards printed and ready to be sold.
“Cards for a Cause” was developed through MSM’s academy scholars, an entrepreneurship program for students. A hands-on curriculum enables students to build and run their own small businesses, allowing them to learn and engage in creativity in an exciting way. MSM student businesses include both real products and virtual businesses.
“Our goal as a business is to spread positivity through our originally designed cards,” Kuty said. “Academy scholars as a class have greatly benefitted me by teaching me so many useful skills for starting and running a business. I now know so many great ways to communicate with others. These skills can help me later in life if I ever need them. They can be used for so many situations like group projects, time management, and any type of entrepreneurship.”
Colpoys went on to praise MSM’s students: “I love these young entrepreneurs, as well as the school! They have chosen to bring attention to the struggles of youth with mental health diagnosis. Early intervention and treatment could help prevent these issues from getting worse as the kids grow into adulthood.”
“Cards for a Cause” can be found at www.cardsforacause.store.