When 17-year-old Ava Johnson, a junior at Osceola High School, took a class on problem-solving earlier this year, she decided to focus her class project on teen depression. For 24 weeks, she researched, interviewed mental health professionals and incorporated her own experience with depression into her project. Ultimately, she launched a fundraising project that raised $600 for Behavioral Health teen outpatients at Amery Hospital & Clinic.

Ava launched an informational website, and then initiated fundraising, selling succulents and stickers. Appropriately, she named her project Growing Good Feelings. Facing unexpected challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions, she raised money virtually by selling from her Facebook page, a family Christmas boutique and Go Fund Me page. She even held a raffle.


The origin of her project was Ava’s own experience. She had been going through various life stressors such as school sports, homework and struggling to fit in.

“I was practically fighting to fit in, but no matter how much I tried, I eventually came to the conclusion that I just don’t mesh with (other students),” she said. Soon, she slipped into what a therapist later diagnosed as situational depression, or adjustment disorder.

Using coping techniques including art and journaling, Ava said she “eventually made it back into my so-called ‘normal’ life and finally understood the importance of positive mental health.”

According to Ava, “Because this roadblock in my life was very significant and proved that I could overcome the most difficult of hardships, I decided I wanted to draw some attention to this mental issue. I truly felt that there were people just like me who could be struggling with the issue while being oblivious to what it actually is.”

The money Ava raised will be used for purchasing resources to best assist teenagers who are struggling with mental health.

If you would like to join Ava in supporting patients and families in our communities, please consider making a donation to one of our HealthPartners foundations. Like Ava did, you can designate your funds to go to a specific cause.

Please select from the foundations listed below to make your gift. Thank you.