Lily & Shawna's Story

“It wasn’t until mental illness affected my family personally and dramatically that I truly understood the lack of knowledge, services and compassion within our system… So what do you do? When you’re done being frustrated, hurt, and angry – you reach out to your dearest friend and say let’s do something positive to turn the tide. Let’s take our little Pictou County voices and join the choir that seems to be singing more strongly about mental illness every day.”
— Lily DeYoung

Go-getters Lily DeYoung and Shawna Coleman have been friends for years. When they identified a need for mental health funds in Pictou County, they set straight to work.


“We chose to fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia because it represents our province, and because of its efforts to raise awareness and funds. The fact that Pictou County born Starr Dobson was at the helm certainly helped make it a good fit for our community!”

DeYoung and Coleman hosted the fundraiser in New Glasgow on November 2, 2014. Community members took part as models, and a local business provided clothing. The local Scotiabank branch matched all proceeds from ticket sales.

Lily and Shawna were amazed by the number of people from the community who came out to support their event. They raised $7,000 for the cause.

Through the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s Named Community Grants program, contributing organizations or individuals are able to allocate funding to support mental health programs in specific areas or with specific functions. Lily and Shawna wanted their event’s legacy to be shared with those in their local community. Proceeds from the event will fund a 2015-16 mental health based grant in Pictou County

Building on the momentum of event’s success, Lily and Shawna are already preparing for the second annual Models for Mental Health fundraiser in Fall 2015.

“We both like to make things happen! Models for Mental Health was a wonderful way for us to combine our creativity, energy and planning skills. Our thinking was: ‘Let’s put our shoulders behind the wheel of this cause and give it all we’ve got.’ It paid off! We were so happy that we took the risk; and to quote Shawna, ‘Put ourselves out there like the models who paraded down the runway!’”

Community fundraisers help build greater capacity for mental health programs and services in Nova Scotia. People like Lily and Shawna are helping to change the way people think about mental illness!

Interested in hosting your own community fundraiser? Learn more!

Learn more about the Pictou County Community Grant


 Story photography generously provided by Scott Munn, PhotoMunn.