A SI360 alum and current junior at the George Washington University, Kyrah Altman runs LEAD, Inc. (Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do, Inc.), a non-profit that provides students, educators and organizations with training and curriculum to promote mental health education and wellbeing.
When the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, Kyrah Altman was very upset and determined to understand how such a tragedy could happen — and how to prevent future tragedies from occurring. She and a group of Leominster High School sophomores set out to plan a benefit to honor the lives of the Sandy Hook tragedy victims, increase mental health and gun violence awareness, and raise funds for community organizations. Over 500 people attended the event — and the crowd heard from over three dozen guest speakers, including experts in mental health and gun violence.
This event was a huge success and lead to her creating LEAD, Inc. Since launch, the organization has grown immensely and refined their model. After discovering the mental health framework is twenty years outdated in Massachusetts, the organization wrote a 900 page updated curriculum that takes a holistic view on mental health — with plans to incorporate the curriculum in every high school in the state. The curriculum received $32,000 award from a business competition at George Washington University to make this model a reality and educate teachers to identify high risk mental health.
LEAD Inc. now provides three services: the health curriculum supplement, an online platform, and training for educators and school staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid. The curriculum takes a holistic view on health education by incorporating mental health into existing health education frameworks and empowering students to utilize coping mechanisms and self-care strategies. The pilot has taken place in Leominster, Massachusetts, for over a year and has seen increases in care-seeking behaviors, utilization of self-care strategies, and a reduction in stigma. Kyrah is hoping to pilot LEAD’s models in more school districts in Massachusetts.
The SI360 Connection
SI360 was her first taste of entrepreneurship at GW. She never considered herself a business student and didn’t think she had the business skills to apply to an entrepreneurship program. She soon found, however, that SI360 helped her combine business skills and entrepreneurship with social impact to make a real difference in the world.
“Social Impact 360 is an unique opportunity. No matter your background or skillset, it shows that you can make a difference.”