MEET THE JANA MARIE FOUNDATION
Since our incorporation in February 2012, Jana Marie Foundation has devoted its energy to opening minds and saving lives through educational programming and community mobilization to empower young people in the Centre County region.
Community Engagement Manager
Jana Marie Vicere was a beautiful, intelligent, talented young woman who graduated with a GED from the State College (PA) Area School District in 1999. She went on to Penn State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Sociology in 2005. As a student at Penn State she was named to the Dean’s List, Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, and to the College of Health and Human Development’s Women’s Leadership Initiative for her demonstrated potential as a leader in the field of human services.
Although Jana struggled with depression throughout her lifetime, she always had a generous heart and an unwavering commitment to helping people. Her sense of pride from receiving her GED led her to tutor others working towards their diploma. Because of her dedication to tutoring and to the GED program, Jana was appointed to the State College Area School District’s Community Education Advisory Board. Her continued commitment to helping others earned for her a statewide award from the Pennsylvania Association for Adult Community Education (PAACE) in 2006 for her volunteer efforts. Later in her career Jana was a counselor for at-risk teenage girls through the State College Area Youth Service Bureau where she displayed an unyielding devotion to helping her girls get back on their feet.
Jana also loved to express herself through artistic and creative endeavors. Her poetry, collages, drawings, jewelry, pottery, and love for music showcased her personality, emotions, and free spirit.
In 2011 Jana lost her battle to depression and died by suicide at the tender age of 30. The Jana Marie Foundation is dedicated to her commitment to helping others and to her love of creative expression and the arts.
The mission of Jana Marie Foundation is to harness the power of dialogue and creative expression to spark conversations, build connections and promote the mental well-being among young people and their communities. We achieve our mission by focusing on three areas of growth:
- Opportunities for creative self-expression and personal development for young people. Research proves that art and creative endeavors promote dialogue, reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness and improve overall mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
- Educational opportunities for parents and caregivers. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well informed parents and caregivers are the first line of defense. Therefore, it is crucial that parents have access to relevant resources and information so they can be proactive in supporting our youth.
- Community engagement. Jana Marie Foundation provides opportunities for open and honest dialogue about topics of vital social concern so that we can continue to grow and develop as a community.
We believe in a world that treats every person with dignity and provides help and hope to those who are facing adversity.
We create opportunities to foster openness and acceptance for individuals facing mental health challenges.
We believe everyone has a creative spark that deserves to be nurtured shared.
We facilitate inclusive environments full of acceptance, understanding and appreciation that encourage community members to reach out for help and to reach out to help.
We harness collaboration, new perspectives and bold ideas to bring powerful solutions to community challenges.
Our passion is to make a positive impact in the lives of the people we serve.
- Build awareness, understanding and commitment to promoting mental well-being and suicide prevention
- Provide creative programs to empower and enable young people to make positive choices, practice self-respect and maintain healthy relationships.
- Spark community wide [and dinnertime] conversations around topics of vital social concern that impact the mental well-being of individuals and the development of our community.
- Advocate for effective services and policies that promote mental wellness through unique and innovative strategies of community collaboration.
- Develop a sustainable and dynamic organization that judiciously assesses scope and scalability of ideas and programs.