Five bands comprised of Lehigh students, each sponsored by a fraternity, competed in the Frattle of the Bands on Friday and raised a total of $1,111 in support of local organization Cafe the Lodge.
Cafe the Lodge, a South Bethlehem charity, is a full-service cafe and mental health program less than five minutes from Lehigh’s campus. The lodge seeks to support adults living with mental health issues in South Bethlehem by providing them with employment opportunities and social events.
“This program offers just the right level of support to provide individuals the option do what they want to do with their life,” said Ian Panyko, director of Cafe the Lodge. “The idea of the cafe is just because somebody has a mental health diagnosis doesn’t mean that they are not capable.”
In total, 64 people attended the event, a lower turnout than last year’s event.
At the time the winner was announced, only $918 had been raised. Once this figure was announced, there was audience was encouraged to raise that mark over $1,000, and a flurry of donations came in as those in attendance stepped up to provide support for the cause.
Lehigh’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness co-sponsored the event with Music Box. Between acts, representatives of NAMI spoke about mental health issues pertinent to Lehigh students on topics ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression, as a part of the organization’s continued efforts to decrease the stigmas surrounding mental illness.
Carine Leslie,’17, the president of NAMI, spoke of her challenges with mental health problems and how she got help.
“Through the years my depression worsened… My grades were lower than they had ever been… I had no desire to get help,” Leslie said. “Luckily some of my friends realized I was suffering and took action.”
Leslie urged others to do what they could to help those who might be struggling.