Gratitude for Impact Spotlight Stories

A personal note from DMF Youth’s Executive Director, Lindi Duesenberg.

Two weeks ago, an amazing dancer and human, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, died by suicide. Like millions of his fans, my heart broke.  Stephen and I went to college together; I bonded with him in choreography class–we would often commiserate about the difficulty of the course and our amazing but tough professor! 

He was a beacon of light, filled with positivity, contagious energy, and a smile that could brighten any room. Though we lost touch, I celebrated his journey from little-known dancer to world-famous star. So, when news of his death surfaced, like many, I asked myself, “Why?!”


But, I was immediately reminded of why I started DMF Youth.

Like Stephen, I am often described as happy, upbeat, positive, and motivating. While I am those things, I am also a person who, like many of you, struggles with all kinds of emotions. So In my mid twenties, I began learning tools and habits that could help me overcome overwhelming feelings of hopelessness. I discovered more about how the brain works and the power of mindfulness in overcoming negativity bias. I learned to separate thoughts and emotions from facts, and grew to understand why I felt so good when I danced or moved–as my brain flooded my body with “feel good hormones.” Ultimately, I learned about the power of gratitude, purpose, and meaningful relationships. 

I only wish I learned these valuable emotional social tools as a child–and THAT is why I founded DMF Youth.

Our national  mental health crisis is growing and children NEED these skills and tools. DMF Youth programs are critical, as they nurture and develop students’ physical, emotional, and mental health. 

That’s why in 2023 we are expanding–the time is now! Help us close out 2022 with the support needed to launch 2023 strong. Together, we will empower more children with tangible tools that they can use when facing darkness.