The Engage and Heal Foundation seeks to provide mental health resources for Lake Travis community

(From left to right) Kathleen Hassenfratz, Tom Kilgore, Amelia Floyd, David Sheenan and Kerri Elliott attend the Bubbles and Bags Luncheon Feb. 27. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
(From left to right) Kathleen Hassenfratz, Tom Kilgore, Amelia Floyd, David Sheenan and Kerri Elliott attend the Bubbles and Bags Luncheon Feb. 27. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)

(From left to right) Kathleen Hassenfratz, Tom Kilgore, Amelia Floyd, David Sheenan and Kerri Elliott attend the Bubbles and Bags Luncheon Feb. 27. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following the death of a Lake Travis ISD student, newly formed local nonprofit The Engage and Heal Foundation is working to challenge the conversation surrounding mental health, according to President Amelia Floyd.

Floyd said the Lake Travis region has witnessed immense change and growth over 20 years, including developments to roadways, schools, parks, homes and other infrastructure, and to add to all of that, the community is now tasked with building a system of support for those struggling with their mental health.

“With this growth, our youth have been particularly impacted,” Floyd said, adding that pressure to succeed within LTISD's highly competitive academic and athletic environments has placed extra stress on students.

Along with a board of community members, Floyd created the Engage and Heal Foundation in 2019. It was founded in honor of Erik Hanson, a 2017 Lake Travis High School graduate who died in 2018. Engage-Heal is used as the slogan for the Erik Kyle Hanson Scholarship, which has so far awarded $10,000 to three LTISD students.

The foundation was established in an effort to initiate conversations on mental health and erase any perceived stigmas surrounding seeking help. Floyd referred to this mission as “shattering the silence.”

“Over time I’ve come to find out that everyone is connected to this in some way, shape or form,” Floyd said. “We all have mental health issues---everyone.”

The foundation kicked off its first annual Bubbles and Bags Luncheon on Feb. 27, which hosted more than 150 people and raised money for student scholarships.

The newly created foundation is awaiting an official nonprofit designation, and Floyd said its board members hope to establish community gatherings and recently launched an online platform.

The Engage and Heal website seeks to connect community members with critical education and mental health resources through its partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Health.

Floyd said she knows the foundation will have served its purpose when the conversation on mental health and depression becomes as casual as small talk over coffee.

“Someone asked me, ‘How will you know if you’re doing something?’” Floyd said and added: “If one person asks for help.”
By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


Rollingwood City Council discussed measures to offset Zilker Park traffic during a June 16 meeting. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rollingwood to install barrier to reduce Zilker Park traffic through city streets

The city will install barriers at peak times from Friday evening to Monday morning to reduce cut-through traffic.

Leander ISD admin building
Leander ISD board passes $387M budget with 2% raises, new campus staffing

The budget includes 2% midpoint staff raises, campus positions for Tarvin Elementary opening in August, start-up positions for Elementary School No. 29 opening in 2022 and other district expenditures.

Leander ISD is expected to add over 12,000 students in 10 years to its current population of 40,761 students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Committee suggests $933M bond project list to Leander ISD board

The $933.4 million reccomendation includes elementary school, middle school, high school and districtwide projects.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Lakeway council to discuss proposal to build houses, extend Flint Rock Road

Development agreement between city and developer would identify right of way for road extension

Photo of a woman and girl walking the trail with the Austin skyline behind them
Travis County commits to electrify fleet, doubles down on climate goals

Commissioners directed staff this week to develop a plan to fully electrify Travis County's fleet of vehicles, a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions for the county.

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

All employees will receive a 2% increase off their midpoint salary. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis ISD approves a 2% midpoint raise for staff

Trustees approved salary adjustments for the upcoming school year.

The former hotel off I-35 had most recently been used as a COVID-19 homeless Protection Lodge. (Courtesy City of Austin)
East Cesar Chavez encampment residents move into former South Austin hotel

Through Austin's HEAL initiative, residents of an encampment near East Austin's Terrazas Branch Libarary were relocated to a South Austin shelter before that camp is cleared away.

Lake Travis ISD will apply for the final round of funding from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Program, or ESSER III. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis ISD will seek community input on how to spend federal COVID-19 relief

Lake Travis ISD opened a community survey focused on how to best use this federal funding in its COVID recovery.

Rollingwood City Council continued the discussion June 16 surrounding regional plans for a MoPac expansion. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rollingwood continues conversation on South MoPac expansion

Rollingwood, alongside a contracted law firm, will send a letter to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authroity for more information on the MoPac South expansion.

The regional blood bank appealed for further donations in the wake of the June 12 shooting in downtown Austin. (Courtesy We Are Blood)
We Are Blood appeals for blood donations following weekend shooting in downtown Austin

The Central Texas nonprofit also said its blood supply remains depleted due to decreased donations through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin City Council's Housing and Planning Committee met virtually June 15. (Screenshot via City of Austin)
Austin City Council members, city Realtors talk housing market increases and affordability

The median sale price of Austin homes surged past $500,000 through the first five months of 2021.