Changing lives with chores: A Giving Blueday story

November 19, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

The Langkos family.

Eight-year-old Samantha Langkos, like many kids her age, has a list of chores to complete every week to earn her allowance.

She helps her mom, Trisha, a development assistant in the Michigan Medicine Office of Development, feed the dog, cleans up around the house, does the dishes and helps her sisters, Madison and Olivia. But, instead of spending that money on herself, Samantha uses her allowance to give back to others.

“I work hard to earn money so I can make my donation on Giving Blueday,” Samantha said.

Last year, Samantha gave her very first donation — totaling $50 — to the Department of Psychiatry. It was a special moment, as the Langkos family has been contributing to Giving Blueday since 2014, the year it began. Trisha and her husband, Mark, were immensely proud of their daughter’s philanthropy and eagerness to help others improve their mental health.

“Being able to teach my girls that we are being helpful to those in need, and developing positive traits and behaviors in them as they grow, helps our family gain appreciation and gratitude for what we have,” Trisha said.

The Langkos family is especially dedicated to supporting the Department of Psychiatry because, despite increased public awareness, there is still a stigma attached to mental health which can prevent people from reaching out or seeking help.

Beyond that, there is a need to fund basic scientific discovery and clinical research, to “better understand the workings of the brain, and why things go wrong,” Trisha said.

“Mental illness can affect people of any age and occur in any family,” she explained. “Our hope is that, along with Michigan Medicine, we can help educate the public about mental illness, help eliminate that stigma, and advocate for more funding into the causes and treatment of mental illness.”

As a development assistant, Trisha connects with a number of the department’s faculty, staff, social workers, researchers and more, and she’s always awed by the hope and encouragement they exude. By donating to the department on Giving Blueday, Trisha and her family hope to provide that same encouragement to the brave and compassionate people changing lives every day.

You, too, can offer your support to Michigan Medicine.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, a global day of giving following the Thanksgiving holiday, U-M will hold its fifth-annual Giving Blueday celebration. Over 24 hours, victors from all across the world will come together to support U-M through gifts big and small. It’s a chance to be part of the U-M community and a force for good.

Last year, Michigan Medicine alone raised $1.4 million from 1,560 donors, exceeding all expectations. And this year, the organization hopes to raise that bar even higher.

To learn more, visit