“Shine the Light - Be the Light”

There was a super moon last week, but the brightest stars were three teenagers whose poise, courage, and hearts shined brilliantly at Glen Allen High School. Lucy Hildrup, a junior at Glen Allen High School, organized “Shine the Light - Be the Light.” It was an evening intended to shine a light on teenage depression. I had the privilege to share the stage with Lucy, along with Molly Herring and Maddie Riddock. Lucy eloquently and lovingly spoke of why she created this project, and her drive to fulfill Cameron’s dream by being a positive force and offering a space for us to SpeakUp.

Molly Herring spoke with incredible compassion and honesty about having an older sister who struggled. As she shared her story, her perspective, I felt as if I was able to see through Molly’s eyes, and feel what was inside her heart. A little sister who was confused, at times irritated, grew into a sister who loved unconditionally, and speaks with such pride that her eyes sparkle when talking about her big sister.

Maddie Riddock courageously shared her battle with depression and her triumph over self-harm. The light coming from inside Maddie certainly radiated throughout the auditorium. I know through her bravery many people who live in darkness now have hope. I know the pride I felt watching her was shared by the entire audience. Thank you, Maddie, for having the courage to SpeakUp.

I am grateful I was able to be a part of shining a light on teenage depression. The night was impactful and inspiring. As our sun sets earlier and our nights get chillier, I ask you this question. Can you be the light that offers warmth and hope?

Katherine Cook