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Service Spotlight: Light Up Project

In today’s Service Spotlight, I am thrilled to share the story of Ellen Goncharov, one of the leads from an international organization called Light Up Project.

Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Please share a “Happiness is.”

Ellen: Happiness is a smile. 

Liz: Tell me about the Light Up Project.

Ellen: Light Up is a student-led initiative to reduce mental health stigma and to raise awareness on social issues around personal wellbeing. 

Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?

Ellen: Helping people is a driving force. Mental health is so overlooked in the healthcare system and bringing awareness with multiple levels is our goal—whether it is art up and creating art for mental health; Team Instagram which is our blog posting team; Column which is our newsletter team; and the newest Team Podcast that is a peer level discussion team that posts weekly on Spotify.

Liz: What does service mean to you?

Ellen: Helping others and just being there for someone to listen to them and be an advocate if they need somebody to stand up for them.

Liz: How can people get involved?

Ellen: You can follow us on our website at or on Instagram at light.uppproject. Please look out we are opening up a volunteer initiative as soon as we become 501 3C certified.

Liz: Do you have a favorite quote to leave us with?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people's permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

From the movie Coach Carter

Originally from Marianne Williams


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