Hope Dehnert launched Sean’s Legacy, an online grassroots organization elevating the conversation around LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention to encourage others to foster a safe space in their communities. The organization was born in honor of Sean Myers who lost his battle to suicide in 2009 when he was 13 years old after the school failed at provide dire mental health resources to him. Following graduation, it became obvious to Hope that there was a gap in the service area for LGBTQ+ identity education, self-harm and suicide prevention education, and trauma awareness.

In their first year, Sean’s Legacy has launched training offered to big corporations along with smaller groups, from focusing on becoming a better ally to learning about the basics of the LGBT+ community, and supporting the community in places of employment. Hope says, “The resources and information that we offer will help educate our community on the need for more support for the LGBTQ+ community. With helpful resources for youth, workspace allyship training, and informative pages on LGBTQ+ health, we hope to inspire and create a supportive environment for our LGBTQ+ community.”

Future offerings will include:

  • A scholarship for LGBTQ+ youth to pursue their dreams of higher education.

  • A mentorship program that pairs LGBTQ+ 1 to 1 with mentors with similar life experiences and interests.

  • Newly website featuring a hub style information center for LGBTQ and self harm and suicide prevention education.

For more information, please visit the links below:




More about Hope:

Hope’s public health research expertise is in the areas of female genital mutilation/cutting, LGBTQ health, and the social environment. She is a champion of social justice, human rights and LGBTQ equity. She developed the vision for SL while enrolled in an accelerated dual degree program at Drexel University. Hope completed internships and co-op experiences while going to school full time for a Bachelor and Master’s degree simultaneously, earning both degrees in 4 years, 5 months, and 27 days.

More about Sean’s Legacy:

Hope and others founded this nonprofit because her and many classmates felt as though the school they attended did not properly handle the passing of their friend Sean. There was an extreme lack of support for Sean within the middle school. His attempts to seek guidance from the guidance counselor for repetitive harassment and verbal abuse he endured were disregarded. He was ignored by the guidance counselors, disciplined unfairly by teachers, and was tortured by classmates for expressing his identity. Following his passing, the Middletown Area School District denounced every effort his friends made to memorialize him, from as simple as writing his name on their hand, to forbidding his photo or name from appearing in the yearbook. This battle between the district and Sean’s friends lasted until his class graduated in 2014, during which time, he was not allowed to be honored or memorialized in any way. The Sean’s Legacy team is made up of both students and graduates from the country’s top public health universities including Yale, Brown, George Washington, and Drexel. They are a team of public health practitioners and health educators all working or going to school full-time while furthering their mission.

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