Glow For Hope | Suicide prevention and mental health awareness

Illuminating Lives.
Igniting Change.


A Message From Our Founder

Understanding the why...

Glow For Hope was founded from a deep-seated commitment to enhance suicide prevention and mental health awareness, initially targeting parents and caregivers—the trusted adults struggling to communicate with children battling suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression. The task is multifaceted: understanding when to push for conversation and when to give space, distinguishing between mental health crises and manipulative behaviors, and disciplining without exacerbating their struggles. There is no greater fear for a parent than hearing their child express a desire not to live, a fear compounded by the dread of receiving tragic news at any moment.

As we delved deeper into our mission and engaged in discussions about who we serve and the resources we provide, it became clear that not only parents and caregivers needed support. The children and young adults also require direct assistance to manage their mental health. They need to know there are safe people to talk to, effective tools and strategies to help them cope daily, and most importantly, that it's okay not to be okay—AND it's okay to talk about not being okay.

In this journey, I have been learning to embrace the role of listening—really listening. As a parent, it’s tempting to always wear the problem-solver hat, but what my children often need most is for me to be an active listener without immediately searching for solutions. This includes confronting the uncomfortable truths about my own shortcomings and what I could do better. My personal growth is a work in progress, and every conversation with my kids and those who come forward with their stories at our events, helps me to understand more deeply how we can collectively foster an environment that supports openness and vulnerability.

Motivated by personal losses to suicide and the fear of losing my own child, we expanded Glow For Hope's mission. My goal was to bring more resources not only to my family but also to the community at large—reaching other parents, friends, today's youth—all those in need. I'm not a therapist or a mental health professional; I'm someone driven by the desire to prevent further loss and alleviate the pervasive fear among parents and families.

Glow For Hope stands as a beacon for those navigating the complexities of mental health, offering support, understanding, and tangible resources to ensure no one feels they have to face their darkest moments alone. It takes all of us working together to make a change and reduce the rate of suicide. We are committed to continuing this vital conversation and expanding the support network for everyone touched by these issues.

Kelly Poelker, Founder & Executive Director

Kelly Poelker founded Glow For Hope out of a profound commitment to combat the devastating impact of suicide and enhance mental health awareness. Motivated by personal experiences with the daunting challenges of mental health crises within her own family, Kelly recognized the urgent need for more resources and support structures that address these sensitive issues.

Before establishing Glow For Hope, Kelly built an extensive career as an entrepreneur in business support and strategic consulting. That coupled with a long history as an event strategist and organizer, she developed a keen insight into organizational leadership and community engagement. This background has been instrumental in guiding Glow For Hope's mission to provide targeted support and effective resources to families navigating mental health challenges.

Under her leadership, Glow For Hope has become a beacon for those in the darkness of despair, offering understanding, practical tools, and community support. Kelly's story and the organization's mission resonate with countless individuals and families, inspiring hope and fostering a collective effort to diminish the stigma surrounding mental health and prevent suicide.

Kelsey Poelker, Board Member

Kelsey Poelker played a vital role in the founding of Glow For Hope, providing unwavering support, encouragement, and visionary direction during the organization's inception. With a wealth of personal experiences, education, and professional expertise, Kelsey possesses a unique perspective that enriches Glow For Hope's mission. She holds a Master's degree in Human Development & Family Science with a focus on Youth Development from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and a Bachelor's degree in Criminology/Criminal Justice with an emphasis on juvenile justice from Saint Louis University.

As a talented writer, creative thinker, and energetic individual, Kelsey is driven by a passion for making a difference in the lives of those in need, particularly youth. With over many years of experience at a residential treatment facility for young girls struggling with behavioral and mental health challenges, Kelsey has honed her skills in working with children. Her roles as a Registered Behavior Technician, Community Support Associate, Shift Supervisor, and Direct Care Worker have equipped her with invaluable insights into youth development and support.

In her current role as a Case Manager leading an Independent Living program, Kelsey works tirelessly to construct solid support structures for youth and families, ensuring stable mental, physical, and emotional foundations. With strong communication skills, time management abilities, and a detail-oriented approach, she is dedicated to promoting positive youth development and empowering individuals to overcome challenges.

Kelsey's commitment to excellence, integrity, and teamwork make her a valuable asset to Glow For Hope's board of directors, where she continues to contribute her expertise and passion to advance the organization's mission of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Kelsey is very open about her own struggles with mental health and therefore a strong advocate for encouraging others to stop the stigma.

Holly Mattox, Board Member

Holly Mattox brings a passion for reshaping perceptions around mental health to Glow For Hope's board of directors.

With a creative mindset and a background in marketing, Holly is dedicated to reaching and supporting individuals struggling with mental health challenges, meeting them where they are at. Her objective is to eliminate stigma and foster positive change in how mental health is viewed within our community.

Holly has a track record of supporting local charities throughout the St. Louis Metro Area, including Guns N Hoses, The Ronald McDonald House, and Shriners Children's Hospital. Her marketing expertise has enabled her to forge partnerships with businesses in Missouri and Illinois, securing vital support for these organizations. Holly has also collaborated with entities like the St. Louis County Police Department, Prevent Ed, and the DEA to address substance abuse in our community. She is honored to join Glow For Hope and looks forward to inspiring change among her peers.

Kristen Ellis, Board Member

Kristen joined the board in February of 2024 and brings her many years of community involvement along with her business savvy, leadership and organizational skills. Kristen knows personally through her own family and close friends experiences the unfortunate effect of mental health battles and struggles.

Kristen is currently in a leadership role for a North American and European company bringing many years of leadership and involvement in several community outreach programs. Her passion is working with kids and families, in all environments, to help them feel more empowered, loved, strong, and valued. She has supported the Special Olympics, MADD. She served as the Treasurer and Standards Board Advisor for the Beta Sigma chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and worked tirelessly for eight years to increase awareness, support, partnerships, along with expansion and growth, of the Springfield MO Boys & Girls Club. Kristen also partnered with the local Social Services department and served as a mentor for four years in a youth group home where she served as a foster parent for two years before relocating to O'Fallon IL.

Besides donating her time and commitment to Glow for Hope, Kristen has been actively involved the past five years volunteering her time at the O'Fallon Food Pantry.

Delisa Richardson, Board Member

Delisa Richardson has a profound dedication to advocacy and extensive experience in mental health awareness.


Delisa's commitment to making a difference is evident in her multifaceted roles as a Domestic Violence Awareness advocate, IBD advocate, and Mental Health advocate. She has lent her support to esteemed organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) The Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, Project Compassion NFP, and has serves as an Ambassador Board member for the Color of Gastrointestinal Illness NPF, as well as an Ambassador for the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce.


Professionally, Delisa's expertise as an Actor, Director, and Integrative Wellness Life Coach speaks volumes about her passion for using the arts and fitness to shed light on mental health issues. Her personal journey, marked by losses and triumphs, serves as a beacon of hope for those navigating similar paths. Delisa's story has been featured in prestigious publications such as Gazelle Magazine and Chatelaine Magazine, and she has shared her insights on renowned platforms like the Surviving My Past podcast and Catching Your Breath podcast.

Erin Robbins, Board Member

Erin Robbins joins the Glow For Hope board as the Director of Marketing, utilizing the skills she’s developed throughout her career in public relations, advertising, and marketing at various St. Louis agencies. She is currently in a leadership position overseeing the traditional and digital marketing for all of the company’s clients.

Erin has witnessed the effects of mental health conditions among family and friends since childhood. She has managed personal mental health struggles for more than 15 years. As the mother of two young daughters, mental health awareness and advocacy to stop the stigma is especially important to her.

For questions or to speak with someone about arranging a fundraiser in connection with Glow For Hope, call (618) 624-3080 or CLICK HERE .

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Glow For Hope NFP is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. Our EIN is: 93-2624495.