SOVA Project

Supporting Our Valued Adolescents (,

Fundraising for UPMC Children's Hospital Foundation
raised of US$40,000 target
We are the sole fundraising arm to support to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh


Supporting Our Valued Adolescents or SOVA ( is a social media website developed in 2016 by Dr. Ana Radovic, a pediatrician and adolescent and young adult medicine subspecialist at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The goals of SOVA are to address negative health beliefs such as stigma, grow an anonymous online social support community for adolescents and young adults with symptoms of depression or anxiety, and lead to increased help-seeking and engagement with treatment and use of helpful self management strategies. To date, we have published 1289 posts.

Isn’t social media bad for teens?

It depends how teens use social media – there can be many benefits in using social media, but its hard to avoid negative consequences like cyberbullying, especially for depressed youth. SOVA offers a healthier alternative with clear site guidelines, no private conversations, and site moderation by a team with a behavioral health background. The website is interactive but anonymous.

Who does SOVA reach?

Since it started, 232 young people have signed up for the SOVA sites through our University of Pittsburgh research studies. 90 young people have been SOVA Peer Ambassadors. More and more young people have been reaching out with a desire to become SOVA Peer Ambassadors and share their anonymous story with others especially during social isolation experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic. About half of our posts have been published by SOVA Peer Ambassadors.

How much does SOVA cost? $40,400/year

SOVA requires:

1) part-time effort for Peer Ambassador Advisor who serves
as the content creator for the sites, moderates the content of the sites, and advises, onboards, and compensates new ambassadors and does social media outreach $17,000

2) technical support costs

  • currently a part-time undergraduate computer science student $8000
  • consulting support from a small business NuRelm for updating user interfaces and maintenance of sites $10,000
  • Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Services $1800
  • payments for SOVA Peer Ambassadors (20 ambassadors at a time are paid $15 per month for 12 months is $3600
We appreciate any support you can provide to keep us going while we seek further research funds!

About the charity

The foundation exists to provide financial support for the hospital’s mission of improving the health and well-being of children, teenagers, and young adults through excellence in patient care, teaching, research, and advocacy.

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