Student-Led Nonprofit Launches Mental Health Project for Chester County Teens

Sophie Fontecchio
Image via Let's Bake the World A Better Place.
Sophie Fontecchio.

Downingtown STEM Academy junior Sophie Fontecchio started her nonprofit, Let’s Bake the World A Better Place, in August 2021. Her mission is to engage local youth in the support of a wide range of non-profit organizations through baking. Let’s Bake the World a Better Place empowers youth to turn their passions into progress and to advocate for the causes they care about.

Through bake sales, students spread joy and awareness in the local community through the distribution of delicious homemade baked goods. Each month, Fontecchio hosts a bake sale and donates all the profits to a local charitable organization. Fontecchio, along with other student volunteers such as fellow Downingtown STEM junior Claire Beardsley, plan a menu, take preorders, and set a date for pickup. The menu changes each month but some best-selling items include cinnamon rolls and scones. Since September 2021, she has donated over $11,000 to local, national, and international organizations.

March 2023 was an exciting month at Let’s Bake the World a Better Place. On Sunday, March 12, Sophie launched the website she designed for her nonprofit. The website allows for customers to place bake sale orders online through Square. Using the new website ordering system, the March bake sale raised over $400, which will be combined with the Hershey grant money to pay for the supplies for mental health care packages.On March 21, Fontecchio was named a 2023 recipient of a $500 Hershey Heartwarming Young Heroes grant to help pay for her first direct action service project: the creation of mental health care packages for teens.

The Let’s Bake the World a Better Place mental health care packages, designed by teens for teens, will be assembled with the help of the Downingtown STEM academy Aevidum club. They will include a handwritten note of empathy and encouragement, candy, vinyl stickers, a friendship bracelet, and stress relieving toys such as stress balls or pop-its. The packages, which will be available to teens in their high school counseling offices, as well as in mental health facilities, will be themed to common issues teens have such as academic stress and relationship problems, but also more general issues such as anxiety and depression. Work on the project is taking place during Global Youth Service month (April 14-May 14, 2023) and will culminate with the delivery of the care packages as part of Global Youth Service Day April 28-30, 2023).

While Fontecchio has supported a wide array of causes with the bake sales, she is a huge proponent of providing better mental health resources for teens. Her first bake sale benefited Rhy’s Above, a nonprofit organization started by the mother of a Downingtown West High School student and friend who lost his battle with mental health.

Rita Stern, Development Director at Communities That Care of Greater Downingtown, and the recipient of $800 from of the April Fundraiser, was so impressed with Fontecchio’s efforts in implementing and leading a successful fundraiser, that she arranged for the CTC to sponsor the Global Youth Service Day grant and project.

“It is amazing that a high school junior created a successful non-profit that is giving back to the community and is serving as a role model for our youth. Mental health is an epidemic and Sophie is addressing this epidemic in a positive way by her caring April initiative. Sophie is truly making the world a better place,” said Stern.

Let’s Bake the World A Better Place has a pending application for 501(c)(3) status, and any donations may be tax deductible if the application is approved. In addition, Let’s Bake the World a Better Place is always looking for volunteers, as well as new charitable foundations to benefit from their bake sales. If you would like to volunteer, you can contact them through the website or at

In memory of Fontecchio’s grandmother who lost her battle to pancreatic cancer in May 2022, the April 2023 bake sale will benefit Team CMMD and the American Cancer Society. The online store is currently accepting offers. Pickup for the April bake sale is Saturday, April 8 from 3-5 PM in Downingtown. If you have an organization you would like to nominate to be the beneficiary of a future bake sale, you can submit their contact information on the website.

Some examples of past recipients include Communities that Care of Greater Downingtown, Chester County Food Bank, Toys for Tots of Chester and Southern Montgomery Counties, The Fund for Women and Girls, Home of the Sparrow, Aidan’s Heart Foundation, and To Love a Canine Rescue among others. National recipients include the Pancreatic Cancer Network, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Dysautonomia International. Global organizations include UNICEF and World Central Kitchen.

Learn more at Let’s Bake the World A Better Place.

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