Hersha Chauhan, an eighth grader at East Ridge Middle School, was voted the first Ms President US of Ridgefield. And she immediately followed through on her campaign promise.

Following her election in May, Hersha held an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield to ensure that everyone had a chance to hear her message — not just those enrolled in the Ms President US program. Hersha’s campaign topic was “Hours Without Technology” which drew attention to the perils of spending too much time in front of a screen and not enough time interacting live with friends and family. Her goal is “to raise awareness to the rising issue of social media overuse and learn about its staggering mental health effects.”  

All proceeds from the event were donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

In her own words, Hersha says, “this topic is important to me because …technology is a major aspect of everyday life” and yet its overuse has a detrimental effect on mental health.  Hersha continues, “the lack of treatment available to those who need it is what inspired me to increase awareness. In the future I plan to make help for mental illness more accessible here in Ridgefield, possibly through the school system.”

Now a freshman at Ridgefield High School, Hersha will be a mentor for the Ms President US program and will help other girls develop their own leadership skills, including helping them prepare their campaign speech in an effort to become Ms President US of their town.  

Girls entering fourth through eighth grade are welcome to enroll in Ms President US.  Visit mspresidentus.org and select “Enroll” to learn more.  

The sessions run from October through March, with a campaign and election at the Ridgefield Playhouse on April 7.