The Inspiration behind the DoGood-er Awards
The event idea started in the Fall of 2014 by Frederick MD native, Caressa Flannery. At the time doing research to help her son suffering from drug addiction, she discovered that many of the folks who have the disease, also suffer from some sort of mental illness. Research shows that a positive coping mechanism for tragedy, trials, chaos or crisis, is doing good in your community and for others; putting the focus on others, can relieve the pain you personally feel. The pleasure centers of the brain that are affected by opiate drugs (maladaptive), can also be affected by Doing Good (adaptive). Doing good does us good and has positive results on mental health.
The idea was shared with a few mentors and friends who thought it was a great event for our community to honor and recognize those doing good in the community, but supporting non-profits with the efforts. Research also shows recognizing achievements builds character strengths, life satisfaction and the continuation of doing good toward others. In early 2015, chaos then emerged in Caressa's life and to combat it, she was busy giving back to the Alzheimer's Association as a participant dancer in the Memory Ball (not realizing it was total therapy). The event idea was tabled, temporarily.
The final decision on the name was inked, when in May 2015, her Delta Gamma sorority sister from University of Maryland, Amy Savopoulos, was brutally murdered. Attending her funeral and learning about Amy's philanthropic life of serving others, she realized that both she and Amy had something in common. They lived the DG motto of "Do Good" and shortly thereafter, the event emerged as the DoGood-er Awards. The hyphen was moved to put emphasis on DoGood, and the logo, domain name and more were sealed, over the next several months.
The event initially was to be 6 categories of winners, but in the Fall of 2015, after learning of all the great things her son was doing while incarcerated, a final category -- 2nd Chance DoGood-er, was added, to recognize individuals who have overcome trials and crisis, to give back and better their own lives.
It was decided in the Winter of 2016 to have it later in the year and a committee was formed. We are excited to honor and recognize many DoGood-ers annually each October. These individuals, without perhaps realizing it, are supporting positive mental health for themselves and others.