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Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation visits The SPOT

Pop star’s organization highlights support the center offers

by Judy Martin FinchNovember 20, 2017

Karen Elshout

Representatives from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation stopped by The SPOT in the Central West End on Thursday, Nov. 16, to celebrate and promote youth empowerment and the importance of positive environments. The foundation is visiting and bringing gifts to selected youth-based nonprofits in cities on Gaga’s Joanne World Tour, including St. Louis. The singer performed before a sellout crowd Thursday evening at the Scottrade Center.

Foundation representatives are visiting nonprofits that support mental wellness, create positive environments and work toward building a kinder world.

Katie Plax, MD, a professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and medical director of The SPOT (Supporting Positive Opportunities with Teens) was delighted that the foundation chose to visit and highlight The SPOT.

“Both organizations are committed to building positive support networks and improving access to physical and mental health services for young people,” Plax said. “It’s so vitally important for young people to realize there are people who truly care about them and that there are barrier-free resources available to help them.”

The SPOT offers free services to teens and young adults ages 13-24, among them: testing for pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health and substance-abuse counseling. The center has a stocked kitchen, laundry and shower facilities, and computers for job searches or checking email. Many of the center’s activities incorporate stress-reduction and skill-building. The SPOT also offers drop-in workshops focused on suicide prevention and healthy relationships.

During the visit Thursday, foundation representatives talked with SPOT clients about how the center has impacted their lives, and encouraged them to apply for the foundation’s  Channel Kindness project, for which a group of 50 youth “reporters” across the country will find and report acts of kindness.

Shadille Estepan (center) and Alex Aide (right), both with Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, learn about The SPOT from clients who receive services at the center.Karen Elshout
Shadille Estepan (center) and Alex Aide (right), both with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, learn about The SPOT from clients who receive services at the center.
Jay Gaskin (left) and Patrick Easley (right) talk with Alex Aide, of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, about The SPOT.Karen Elshout
Jay Gaskin (left) and Patrick Easley (right) talk with Alex Aide, of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, about The SPOT.
Noah Lowery, a client at The SPOT, creates a magnet with a picture of Lady Gaga, during a visit to the youth center by representative's of the pop star's Born This Way Foundation.Karen Elshout
Noah Lowery, a client at The SPOT, creates a magnet with a picture of Lady Gaga, during a visit to the youth center by representative’s of the pop star’s Born This Way Foundation.
(From left) Shadille Estepan of the Born This Way Foundation; Denise Willers, MD; case manager Liz Neuf; Katie Plax, MD; Alex Aide of the foundation; and Kim Donica, executive director of The SPOT, smile for a group shot at the youth center.Karen Elshout
(From left) Shadille Estepan of the Born This Way Foundation; Denise Willers, MD; case manager Liz Neuf; Katie Plax, MD; Alex Aide of the foundation; and Kim Donica, executive director of The SPOT, smile for a group shot at the youth center.