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Without change, progress isn't possible

On Monday, July 31, The Zone Co-Founders Ivan Tchatchouwo and Erik Poldroo were guest speakers at the joint Patriot and Ivy League Mental Health Summit at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

The day-long event brought together student-athletes, coaches and staff from the Leagues’ member institutions to learn and discuss a range of mental health and well-being-related topics with experts, professionals and service providers in the space.

The Mental Health Summit was designed to teach strategies that promote a culture of understanding and empathy for the challenges that face today’s student-athletes and to de-stigmatize the perception of mental healthcare on campus and the broader society.

Ivan and Erik were joined by Lehigh volleyball star Kyleigh Brown.

The trio discussed their own mental health struggles as student-athletes as well as ways The Zone has helped through the difficult moments on her mental health journey. Following the discussion, attendees also heard a presentation on elevating student-athlete mental wellness through personalized support from Ivan and Erik.

The day opened with Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti, the Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services for the National Football League (NFL) and ended with Shoshana Engel Lewis, the Assistant Vice President for Athletics and Recreation/Governance and Performance at Brown University who led a campus-specific strategy session on mental health.

"One thing I learned at the summit was how much student athletes are speaking up about what they deal with on a day-to-day. Giving them a voice allows us and staff to care better for them and provide the support they need", The Zone CEO and Co-Founder Ivan Tchatchouwo said after the presentation.

"The Ivy League/Patriot League mental health summit was a special experience. Being around so many like-minded people who are truly passionate about making sustainable change gave me great joy," COO and Co-Founder Erik Poldroo added. "We need to continue to drive awareness about student-athlete mental health by participating in collaborative events such as these, to learn about different pain points programs might be facing, and highlight the innovative strategies that can be used to continue to support student-athletes as they navigate their day-to-day."

Thank you to Kyleigh for sharing your story as well as the Ivy and Patriot League for organizing an event that facilitated the important conversation around mental health and well-being for student-athletes.



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