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The Antelope

Lopes for Hope makes debut as student organization

Students welcome community to organization’s kick-off event. Photo by Jill Smith / Antelope Staff

 Purple T-shirts and smiling faces decorated the Student Union at the Lopes for Hope Club’s first event in the Nebraskan Student Union. 

They want to spark conversations about mental health.

“We want to normalize talking about mental health by having events that have a mental health message in the background,” said Todd Shermer, one of the club advisors and founder of McKenna’s Rae of Hope Foundation.

Lopes for Hope was established in the fall of 2022 and it’s affiliated with McKenna’s Rae of Hope Foundation. The current membership includes seven executive members with four advisors. Their goal is to have meetings once a month.

The team hopes that the fun will entice people to be a part of their mission.

“We put this executive team together and said, ‘you know what, let’s host an event and get the students excited about us,’” said Zoie Jacobsen, the president of Lopes for Hope. 

The activities from the evening began with free T-shirts given to the first 50 students who showed up. Pamphlets shared information about the club, mental health resources and outside awareness events.

Students were invited to eat food and mingle as the raffle prizes were announced throughout the evening. The gifts were donated or sponsored by businesses and individuals in Kearney, such as Jimmy Johns, Hyvee, Lopernites, Fanatics Sports Bar and more.

Although the mental health theme was intended to be in the background, one student shared that she had hoped for more of an informative presentation.

“I understand that they are kind of getting it started, but I wish they had a little more information going on,” said Kenya Garcia, a junior at UNK. “I see a lot of potential here and I love that this is happening. I am looking forward to how they keep it going.”

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JILL SMITH, Reporter
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