SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Emily’s Hope fights the stigma surrounding drug addiction and helps pay for treatment. It’s an organization started by our own Angela Kennecke, and a fundraiser this weekend featured speakers who highlight the charity’s purpose.

After losing her daughter to a drug overdose, Angela has worked to shine a light on addiction. The charity Emily’s Hope bears her daughter’s name, and this weekend brought a fundraiser for it.

Morgan Hermanson of Sioux Falls spoke at the event. She’s also a recipient of an Emily’s Hope scholarship.

“She asked me if I would come here tonight, donate a piece and speak,” Morgan Hermanson, contributing artist to Emily’s Hope, said.

Hermanson’s road to recovery has been an emotional and difficult journey at times.

“My life just crumbled eventually when I couldn’t manage it anymore. I was a heavy drinker too so really whatever I could get my hands on, I did” Hermanson said.

She sought treatment from the Avera Addiction Care Center last April.

“I knew Emily from high school, we did gymnastics together so I just felt a sense of comfort,” Hermanson said.

Her art is an expression of emotions she cannot put into words. She had three pieces auctioned off at the fundraiser.

“That’s where I can go to art and paint whatever I want, how I feel and it doesn’t matter what it looks like to other people,” Hermanson said.

Her goal is to provide someone the support she received from the charity.

“I just want to be there for them to know that, it’s okay it’s not something to be discouraged about because everybody has their struggles,” Hermanson said.

The event also featured Summer Schultz, superintendent of the Dell Rapids School District. A new program will launch there this fall.

“Angela brought a mixture of individuals from all backgrounds, education, medical, addiction specialists and together that group is working to create a K-12 curriculum with the lofty goal that at some point that curriculum will be embedded throughout the nation,” Schultz said.

The program aims to educate and raise awareness for children about the dangers of drugs.

“It is not something we can just sit passively back and ignore and ignorantly watch and hope that doesn’t start affecting our kids,” Schultz said.

$50,000 was raised for treatment scholarships as well as the charity’s prevention education initiative.