Alumna Uses Photography to Raise Money for Mental Health

Since it began, 2020 has been a challenging year. There were fires in Australia, tensions with Iran, a global pandemic, and an economic crash, to name a few. Like much of the world, Katie Maryschuk (’18) has wondered what she can realistically do to make a positive difference in these troubled times.

One night, while Katie was with her church Community Group, she felt troubled by the big and daunting things going on and the needs of her community. She couldn’t help but wonder if there was anything practical she could do.

“We see other people fundraising, or baking bread for the neighbors, but I didn’t really know how I fit into this,” says Katie. “Then I started to think about my photos of all the trips I took.”

Katie has always loved photography and creative arts, which is one reason why she studied Media and Communications at Trinity Western. From as early as 2017, she has had the opportunity to travel around Canada, America, Mexico, and Israel with friends and family. Wherever she went, she took pictures of the things that moved or inspired her.

“It’s interesting now that we can’t go anywhere, because we’re locked down. And I have all these pictures sitting on my desktop,” says Katie. The idea came to her that maybe she could take her photos and turn them into a fundraiser of some kind.

The Postcard Project

As the idea developed, Katie began to talk with some friends who work in graphic design. These friends suggested to her that adding words of hope and encouragement to the pictures could help make them more relatable to people and provide context for the images.

She began to brainstorm some words, phrases, and Bible verses that were encouraging, then found ways to combine them with the images she’d taken. Before long, she had a collection of postcards. She then set up a digital shop online and began selling these postcards as a way to raise money for The Canadian Mental Health Association.

“These postcards come as an ode to a time of the past, while looking ahead with encouragement and hope for the future,” writes Katie on her blog. “A postcard serves as a fun and simple yet thoughtful gesture to let someone know you’re thinking about them.”

Katie hopes that in a world saturated with technology, people will look to these postcards as ways to send encouragement and provide a visual reminder that there is beauty in the world and hope in uncertain times.

Why Mental Health

Katie says that the subject of mental health wasn’t really on her radar until her third year at Trinity Western, when she went through a difficult season. She struggled to balance things emotionally and spiritually and wasn’t sure what to do. A friend suggested she go see a campus counsellor, which she reluctantly did. It ended up being exactly what she needed.

“It was such a sweet experience for me to go from being in such a dark place, literally at the bottom of a pit unable to get out, to the end of third year being able to look back on that season, emerging as a healthier human in terms of my relationship with God and my own headspace,” says Katie.

Today, as Katie looks around at the worrisome things on the news and hears of lost jobs and people forced into isolation, she knows that mental health is an issue for many.

“I’ve experienced the goodness of having tangible tips and strategies for building a routine and moving forward,” says Katie. “I think other people would benefit from that as well.”

Although she doesn’t know what will come of this Postcard Project, she’s thankful to have been able to raise over $1,000 in support for the cause and has nearly sold out her stock. She hopes that through her efforts, a little more hope will be in the world.

Learn more about The Postcard Project and Katie.