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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Graduates' Statewide Advocacy Work Honored

Three MSW graduates worked to expand teen hotline.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 11-5-2012

Mankato, Minn. – Three graduates of the 2012 Minnesota State University, Mankato Master of Social Work Program will be recognized on Saturday, Nov. 10 at a conference in Washington, D.C., for winning a national award for advocacy efforts resulting in the statewide expansion of a texting hotline for teens struggling with mental health issues.

The national award is sponsored by the organization, Influencing State Policy, which represents social work educators at more than 600 colleges and universities from across the United States. Influencing State Policy recognizes one advocacy project at the master of social work level and one project at the bachelor of social work level for efforts to create positive social change in their states.

The three Minnesota State Mankato graduates to be recognized include Caylin Cedergren, Grand Rapids, Minn., Elizabeth Keck, Owatonna, Minn., and Lori Sanborn, Waseca, Minn. Each graduated from Minnesota State Mankato’s Master of Social Work Program in July.

They will be honored during the Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education on Nov. 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Columbia Hall Room 10 at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

As part of a class assignment, Cedergren, Keck and Sanborn developed and carried out an advocacy project to expand the texting hotline, TXT4LIFE, which was established to aid teenagers dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, from northeast Minnesota’s Carlton County to the entire state.

The students’ advocacy efforts included developing a press release for distribution to several newspapers, professional associations, children’s mental health case managers and a children’s mental health collaborative. They also distributed opinion editorials and letters to newspaper editors and posted a YouTube video.

Cedergren, Keck and Sanborn also participated in Social Work Day at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., where they met with legislators, shared stories of teens affected by suicide and passed out brochures in the shape of a cell phone.

Their efforts led to commitments from four state representatives to support TXT4LIFE, requests from two others for additional information and a suggestion from one senator for a possible permanent funding source for the hotline.

Cedergren, Keck and Sanborn worked on their project under the guidance of their faculty mentor, David Beimers, Master of Social Work Program director at Minnesota State Mankato. For more information, contact Beimers by phone at 507-389-6190 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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