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About the Ed Lally Foundation

MISSION: We seek to inspire and empower individuals, families and communities to adopt a proactive approach to mental health & suicide prevention through accessible evidence-based practices of self-healing, stigma-shattering self-expression and interpersonal connection.

VISION: We envision a world where people commonly utilize simple tools and techniques to tangibly improve their mental-emotional well-being; a world wherein people can openly discuss their mental health struggles, just like any other health issue, and find compassion and understanding waiting for them.

Together we heal.

_____

As a family, we walked hand in hand with my beloved father Ed Lally as he suffered through multiple bouts of clinical depression - the last of which culminated in suicide. Through my Dad’s journey, as well as our own personal experiences, we know first-hand the pain and isolation of depression and anxiety. 

Since his passing, we’ve also come to know the profound healing born out of proactive approach to mental health. Through the Ed Lally Foundation, we endeavor to share the research-based practices of self-awareness and self-expression that have helped us to find healing; practices that improve our ability to cope with, navigate and heal from experiences of depression and anxiety; practices that foster our recognition that we are not alone in our mental-emotional struggles, and that together, we have the power to heal.  

We welcome you to join us online or in-person at any of our classes, events or experiences, and we encourage you to come as you are - anxious, stressed, depressed or at ease. We promise to meet you with an open heart and an open mind.

Sincerely,

Jordan Lally, Co-Founder

The Ed Lally Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation established in 2018.

 

Our History

 

With the support of his family, Jordan Lally started the Ed Lally Foundation (ELF) after his beloved father Ed lost his battle with clinical depression to suicide. Jordan, who has navigated his own personal challenges with social anxiety and depression, spoke openly about his family’s struggles, for the very first time, at his father’s funeral. The next day, with nothing more than an earnest desire to understand and to heal, he turned to meditation.

With no experience and no teacher, just the memory of his father held close to his heart, Jordan embarked on a daily practice of meditation and mindfulness. Slowly and surely, he garnered an ability to cope with his anxiety and depression, and with his continued practice, he began to realize a tremendous amount of healing. As friends and family inquired into his well-being, Jordan would share vulnerably about his mental health struggles, as well as the meditation strategies and breathing techniques he was using to heal. Organically, these conversations led him to help individuals and families who were also struggling. As he continued to give voice to his journey of truth and meditation, he began receiving requests to speak, and Big Infinite, his band, began receiving requests to play, at mental health related events. A turning point arrived when he was invited to serve as the Plenary Speaker at the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Conference in Harford County, Maryland in 2018.   Given his history of anxiety, the thought of standing on stage for an hour giving a standard plenary speech, with powerpoint, sounded dreadful. So, Jordan vowed if he was to accept the plenary invitation, he would do so by expressing himself as authentically as he could - through music, storytelling and guided meditation. His Big Infinite bandmates DJ Fritzges and Andre Toney, joined him at the event and that plenary served as the beginning of the Power of Expression program.  After the conference, schools began reaching out and the mental health outreach started to take off - school presentations, meditation classes, support groups, and more.  The time had come to formalize the ELF and work towards a more sustainable model for the mindful mental health outreach.  In 2018, Jordan Lally and current Board Members, Megan Lally and Pete DeCapite, established the ELF as a 501c3. 

The ELF fills the void in the mental health service community when it comes to proactive solutions that are independent, affordable and accessible. Many of the mental health resources that are available are short-term crisis interventions, and the proactive solutions that do exist are often ineffective and/or too expensive (not to mention, the long wait lists just to see a therapist).  The ELF aims to inspire and empower individuals, families and communities to take their mental health in their own hands through stigma-shattering self-expression, uplifting interpersonal connection, and evidence-based practices of self-healing proven to heal the brain and improve the ability to cope with, and to heal from struggles with mental health.  

 



ELF Staff

Jordan Lally
Executive Director

569d670b-9cae-4086-b3dc-ea027f8bd187.jpgJordan Lally is a mental health advocate, meditation teacher, singer-songwriter and speaker. Following the loss of his beloved father to clinical depression and suicide, Jordan established the Ed Lally Foundation to raise awareness for mindful mental health and suicide prevention. Through a mix of personal stories, original songs and guided meditations, Jordan shares his own struggles with mental health and teaches the practices of self-awareness and self-expression that helped him to heal. He tours with this bandmates in the Big Infinite, sharing their music and mental health message through a wide variety of concerts and community events on behalf of the Ed Lally Foundation. Jordan earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mount St. Mary’s University and his Advanced Certification in Yoga Nidra, Meditation & Mindfulness from the Amrit Yoga Institute. He is both QPR and Mental Health First Aid certified. Jordan lives in Pleasant Hills, MD with his wife Megan, their two daughters and his mom Sharon. 

Heather Bond, LCSW-C
"Power of Expression" Program Manager

img_2781.jpgHeather Bond is a clinical social worker who practices traditional therapy and PSYCH-K, energy psychology.  She is passionate about mental health, helping people to heal, and to be the best version of themselves.  She has over 20 years of experience supporting children, teens and adults. She currently has her own private practice, and works contractually with a community mental health clinic for the chronically mentally ill, and with an adoptions agency providing home studies to adoptive parents. She is also an avid meditator, lover of nature, and supporter of the work, dedication and passion of the Ed Lally Foundation.  

Heather has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and has been trained in basic and advanced PSYCH-K. She is also attuned to reiki. She lives  in Catonsville, MD with her two beautiful children.



Dj Fritzges
Communications  Coordinator

img_8163_copy.jpgDonald Fritzges Jr, also known as Dj is a certified QPR GateKeeper Instructor, worked as a crisis text line counselor, certified Meditation Instructor through the Centre of Excellence, and is Mental Health First Aid Certified. Dj is also a multi-instrumentalist for the Big Infinite.

Dj lives in Forest Hill with his wife, Kim, Daughter, Annela, and their Cavapoo pup, Nesta.

 

Andre Toney

image0-3.jpegAndre Toney is QPR Gatekeeper Instructor Certified, Mental Health First-Aid Certified, and has worked as an elementary school behavior coach.  He has been involved with the Ed Lally Foundation since it’s inception and appreciates the opportunities it offers to reach out and help in the community. Andre also plays percussion and sings vocals for Big Infinite.

Andre lives in Pasadena, Maryland with his partner Natalie, their 5 children, a dog, and soon to add a cat (it’s a zoo).

 



ELF Teachers & Facilitators 

 

Candace Minnicks
Legacy Board Member

6e32764a-ce38-4efd-beeb-79d4b2ebe5b1.jpegCandace (Lally) Minnicks is a legacy board member of the Ed Lally Foundation. Following the loss of her father to clinical depression, she was in full support of her brother Jordan and his vision for the Ed Lally Foundation. Candace currently co-facilitates the foundation's Suicide Bereavement Support Group with her mother, Sharon Lally. She is also the co-host of the podcast, Truth & Levity, which often delves into topics like mental health and mindfulness. Candace is a Certified Children’s Yoga and Meditation Instructor by the YACEP and a graduate of Stevenson University. Candace resides in FL with her husband, children and 3 rescue pups. Her goal is to expand the Ed Lally Foundation into the southern region.

 

Carol Suzdak 
Teacher/Tai Chi

f49e71df-cade-4e5a-b2b7-b33ca6bfda93.jpegCarol Suzdak has been a Tai chi practitioner for over a dozen years. Her brother had bipolar disorder which he managed by drinking. Alcoholism took his life 4 years ago. Tai chi, like meditation, can assist with anxiety and depression. Tai chi practice helps one connect the mind with the body and helps balance life's energy.

Carol is certified as a teacher by Tree of Life Tai Chi, whose protocol is outlined in The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai chi. She has studied with Grandmaster Sam Tam for over 10 years. Carol has taught the last two years at ELF on Zoom, classes are Mondays at 7am EST. She also teaches Tai chi at Cromwell Valley Park in Towson.

Caitlin Vockroth 
Teacher/Mindfulness for Teachers

screenshot_20240410_155721_gallery.jpg Caitlin Vockroth is a teacher, professional developer, life coach, and meditation facilitator. Caitlin aligns all of her actions with her four core values of service, mindfulness, connection, and growth.

She began her career as an elementary school teacher for five years and has worked as a professional developer for teachers for eight years. Along her journey working in professional development, she became a certified coach so that she could better serve the teachers she worked with. Caitlin gained certification through the International Coach Federation as an Associate Certified Coach in 2020 and now works as an Adjunct Professor at Anne Arundel Community College, where she trains other coaches working towards certification. 
Caitlin began her mental wellness journey in 2014, through which she discovered meditation as a transformational tool. She has consistently meditated since then, and gained a certification in Yoga Nidra Meditation through the I AM Yoga Nidra program in 2023. Caitlin passionately and wholeheartedly believes that consistent meditation can alter the trajectory of one's life, as it has done so for her; therefore, she enjoys sharing this passion with others.
Michelle Webster 
Co-Facilitator - Suicide Loss Support Group

Michelle Webster is a registered nurse who is QPR trained and has worked extensively with teens in her past work as a high school nurse. Michelle’s son Teddy lost his battle with depression at the age of 16, which makes her uniquely qualified to journey alongside other bereaved parents. She is passionate about supporting those who are experiencing grief, especially as it applies to suicide loss, and is a co-facilitator of the monthly Ed Lally Foundation’s Suicide Loss Support Group. 

Michelle lives in Bel Air with her husband Dan and has two surviving adult children, Gabriel and Olivia. 

 

ELF Board of Directors

Justin T. White
President

elf.jpgJustin T. White, a native of Philadelphia, earned his B.A. in Sociology from Loyola University Maryland in 2009.  Directly after graduating, Justin spent eight years as a Theology teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit – Baltimore.  Also, during that time he directed the school’s Community Service Program as a component of the Campus Ministry Office.  Since 2017, he has worked at Loyola Blakefield in the areas of campus ministry, community service, diversity, inclusion & equity work, enrollment, as well as teaching Theology and Psychology.  Racial equity and its intersection with education, spirituality, and mental health are areas of great personal and professional interest.  In his free time, Justin enjoys fellowship with family and friends, Marvel movies, kayaking and tubing.  He has the hopes of graduating from Loyola University in Maryland, once again, with a Masters in School Counseling in May of 2022.

Megan Lally
Co-Founder / Vice-President

1bb963ae-7805-4475-bd6c-d08ac65ca8f5.jpgMegan Lally is the co-founder and the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Ed Lally Foundation. After the passing of her beloved father-in-law, Megan, and her husband Jordan, committed to ending the stigma associated with mental health and promote overall health and wellbeing through holistic measures. Megan is the Associate Director of Development for the Heart and Vascular Institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Formerly, Megan served as Director of Development at Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna. She has over 19 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and business development and management. She is a graduate of the Harford and Cecil County Leadership Academy. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s College in 2001 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice.

Megan lives in Pleasant Hills, MD with her husband Jordan, their two daughters, mother-in-law, Sharon and their labradoodle, Jobin.

Pete DeCapite
Treasurer

resized_20220128_121645.jpgPete is the current president and treasurer of the Ed Lally Foundation.  He graduated from James Madison University in 2003 with a degree in Accounting and John Carroll High School in 1999. Pete also received his CPA license in 2005.  He is the owner of his accounting firm, DeCapite & DeCapite, PA in Bel Air, MD.  He has also served on the board of many non-profit organizations, including the St. Margaret School Board, St. Margaret Parish Finance Committee and the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail.  

Pete lives in Bel Air, MD with his wife Kristin and their three children.

 


Kimberly Fritzges
Secretary

image0.jpegKimberly has 12 years of experience in health care and is currently a Registered Nurse of 5 years. She is a mom, wife and board member because she is passionate about the foundations mission, the resources they provide and the support they offer to the community. 

Kim lives in Forest Hill with her husband, Dj, Daughter, Annela, and Cavapoo pup, Nesta.

 


Chris Brown

Chris BrownChristopher S. Brown is a lifelong resident of Bel Air.  He attended John Carroll High graduating in 1999, where he played basketball with Executive Director Jordan and Board President Pete.  Chris attended Syracuse University, graduating from the distinguished S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2003.  Chris then returned to Maryland, attending the University of Maryland School of Law, graduating in 2006.  

Since then Chris has worked in the field of insurance defense, mainly focusing on defending Employers and Insurers in Workers’ Compensation cases.  He enjoys sports, especially watching and coaching his sons. Chris lives in Bel Air with his wife and their three sons.

 

Adam Letschin

20220126_102131.jpgAdam has known Jordan and the Lally family for 25 years during which time, he experienced and witnessed strength, love and laughterWhen he heard the news that Ed Lally succumbed to his life long battle with depression through suicide, it had a profound effect on him and vowed to be there for the entire Lally family through this difficult time. He was moved and inspired by the family’s strength as they went on the offensive against mental health, challenging the status quo of mental health treatment.

Adam was struggling with his own mental health issues and per the suggestion of his beautiful wife, Kim, he reached out and connected with Jordan. This interaction changed the course of his life as he absorbed Jordan’s light and strength and allowed Adam to take control of his own mental health. He began reading and meditating tirelessly and was a sieve to any new and all ideas that would change the course of his mental health.

When the Ed Lally Foundation was born, he accepted the invitation to join the board of directors with the utmost gratitude and appreciation. Adam remains committed to serving this wonderful foundation and work towards combating mental illness through mindfulness and the power of expression!

Adam lives in Bel Air, MD with his wife Kim and their three dogs, Ozzie, Ava and Ziggy.

 

ELF Advisory Board

 

Emily Batten

0dc9bde4-4a33-46be-acaf-c7bd35797b13.jpegEmily Batten works full time as a school psychologist for Harford County Public Schools.  She is truly the product of the public school system, being the daughter, niece, and granddaughter of public-school educators and attending Howard County Public Schools for kindergarten through high school.  Emily went on to earn her bachelor's degree from James Madison University, and her master's and Educational Specialist degrees from the University of Delaware.  Emily returned to her home state of Maryland to complete a yearlong internship with Anne Arundel County Public Schools and then began her full-time employment with Harford County Public Schools in August 2009.  Emily has had the privilege of working with students ages 5-21 throughout her career but remains the most passionate about the adolescent developmental period.  The messiness of self-discovery and the opportunity for blossoming that she gets to witness, and sometimes assist with, as young adults find themselves as human beings in the world is what keeps her coming to work every day. Though her role as a school psychologist is often variable, she strives to work through a mental health lens in all she does.  Outside of her professional life she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons at home in Bel Air reading, playing outside, hiking, running, relaxing on the beach, and traveling… to spend more time doing these same things with friends and family across the country!

 

Joann Blewett

img_1688.jpgJoann has spent thirty years in community leadership roles, including a ten-year career as Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna. After leaving her nonprofit career, Joann began an inner journey of awakening, engaging deeply in reflection and meditation. She completed a two-year spiritual direction training program, a seminary program immersed in contemplative spirituality, and became an Enneagram Harmony Triads facilitator. She has a Master’s Specialization in Spiritual Transformation.  Joann launched and ran a nonprofit offering contemplative teachings and retreats, and provided spiritual direction. After many years, Joann closed the nonprofit to work more independently. Joann now provides nonprofit support, helping leaders and their organizations during times of transition and in areas of uncertainty.  

Brian Boehm

img_0198_copy.jpgBrian Boehm has been professionally designing for about 20 years creating a wide range of graphic design projects from logos to award-winning books and magazines. He graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor’s in Clinical Psychology initially pursuing a career in counseling but then fell in love with the creative expression of graphic design and shifted to that while attending Loyola for his Masters in Psychology. He experienced a major depressive episode in 2015 which started a big shift in how he prioritized his own mental health and reignited his desire to help others with their own struggles. It was after the loss of Jordan’s dad, Ed, that he started sharing his story with Jordan and discovered a profound connection to a path into meditation. It has been this practice, becoming a witness to his thoughts, separating himself from the automatic stories in his head, and practicing self-compassion that has helped him with his ongoing struggles with depression and anxiety. Recently, he has been putting more time into his first love, illustration, realizing how meditative and therapeutic art is for him, and sharing his creations on Instagram (@briericidesign). He also streams his illustrative process on Twitch (twitch.tv/Mantlebeard) where he also talks about all things mental health, meditation, and self-care. At least he tries to. Mostly, he talks about cartoons. He lives in Bel Air with his wife Kellie, their 2 children...and a handful of lizards.

Rev. Lisa Bryson

lisas_head_shot_-_ed_lally_foundation.jpgLisa is the Founder and Executive Director of Praising Through Recovery a non-profit organization which umbrellas the Trinity Recovery House for Men & Covered Bridge Recovery House for Women. She is an ordained minister, businesswoman, mentor, international missionary, and an active partner of the Bridgeway Community Church where she leads the Praising Through Recovery Meeting of Support, Lisa has dedicated her life to serving others while advocating and educating on the topics of caring for stigmatized and marginalized populations, restoration, deliverance, forgiveness, grace, wholeness, and how to overcome and persevere when everything in you wants to throw in the towel. Lisa’s schooling has extended into the fields of Human Services Counseling and Certified Substance Abuse Counseling. She has worked in the clinical & mental health fields of addiction for over 15 years and has completed over 20 years of coursework in the fields of trauma, addiction & recovery. With over 17 years of administrative & management experience she now dedicates her life to doing the will of God by serving others. Working in local communities and traveling the world as addiction & trauma are universal concerns, Lisa hopes to share her story, her mission, and her deliverance with all humankind while educating professional & faith-based communities on the importance of inclusion for people like her.  Living on purpose with purpose is a given for her as much help is needed with those who are brokenhearted and feel they have no hope. Not forgetting where she comes from, her life is an open book as she leads by example humbly yet brilliantly displaying the light that led her out of darkness. 

While Lisa has many quotes that she relies on, the one that touches her most is “Go as far as you can and then one step further.” Father Joseph Martin

Jesse Fairchild

Jesse FairchildJesse Fairchild graduated from Loyola University in Maryland in 2006 with an MS in Clinical Psychology. She earned her license as an LCPC in 2008 and as an LCPC Approved Supervisor in 2012. She was certified as a Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional by the International Association of Trauma Professionals in 2020.

In, 2011 Jesse established Bodhi, a mental health counseling private practice in rural Cecil County, Maryland, with the vision of empowering people on their journey of self-discovery and mental wellness. Bodhi focuses on providing compassionate, knowledgeable, and efficient services to those who seek to awaken to their inner world. Bodhi has grown from a practice of one clinician to a practice with 20 clinicians supported by a team of admin staff and a thriving supervision program for graduate students