Laura Stob, Grandville Jenison’s Chamber’s 2019 Jenison Citizen of the Year – Nominated by Family Friend, Amanda Harig.
When Laura lost her precious daughter Erika in 2011, she became an activist for the stigma of depression and sprung into action creating a foundation in her daughters name. their website. For more information and fundraising events, please visit https://erikamwest.com/
Laura will be celebrated at the Chamber’s Community Awards Ceremony held on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. The event is free to attend and open to the public but registration is required.
We love you, Erika Marie West
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults. Although it’s hard to believe that teenagers and young adults could be so desperately unhappy that they would plan to kill themselves, more than 5,000 U.S. teenagers commit suicide each year. The toll of grief and suffering that suicide exacts on young people and their families is incalculable.
Erika completed suicide on November 27, 2011, after battling manic depression for eight weeks. Erika would not want to be remembered for her final choice, but for all the choices she made during her life.
Because of this we are hoping to bring awareness to the tragedy and heartache of suicide, mental illness, and depression. Most of all we want everyone to know there is hope, there is help, and YOU DO MATTER. No one is better off without YOU.
Our calendar below lists events which are planned for the purpose of enhancing such awareness as well as for raising funds for this important cause. Some are offered by our organization and others are from our partner groups. Please consider supporting us with your participation. We’d be delighted to welcome you to one of our events!
Erika was warm, caring, loving, an animal lover, an artist, a writer, and a lover of books and comic books. She was talented, smart, and had a great flair for fashion and could wear any hair color ever created.
She could challenge the people around her to think about things in a different way – and she could make you feel good while she was doing that. She had a soft heart and had a deep empathy for people. She was a great confidante.
Erika lived for her relationships and was a fiercely loyal friend. She breathed life into words like compassion, empathy, and bravery. Her fight against bigotry and intolerance came to her naturally and stayed with her her whole life.
She was a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and the best friend. She was unique and when she touched your heart, you carried her forever.
She will be forever remembered and forever missed.
Erika Marie West Writing Scholarship
The Erika Marie West Writing Scholarship is awarded annually by her family to the Jenison High School senior who best exemplifies Erika’s creative spirit, her passion for the marginalized, and her willingness to pour her heart into her writing and her life. Any senior who is committed to further education beyond high school may submit a piece of writing.
Judges will value uninhibited passion and a brave willingness to pen genuine, honest texts. This can be poetry, fiction, essay, or multi-genre work: Erika, a talented visual artist as well as writer, excelled at each of these.
Erika lived for her relationships and was a fiercely loyal friend. She breathed life into words like compassion, empathy, and bravery. Her fight against bigotry and intolerance came to her naturally, even as a young child. She was forever a champion of the underdog and often lent her voice to the defense of others. The rarity of her spirit and sharp wit—in the way she lived, and in the way she wrote—set her apart.
Make a Donation!
Donations to our scholarship fund can be made at any Macatawa bank location to The Erika Marie West Memorial Scholarship Fund. Our Paypal account is also available for accepting donations via the Paypal Donate button below.