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Home » Inspiring Us » Recent Articles:

Today the Supreme Court got it right … finally! Enjoy with some Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – SAME LOVE feat. Mary Lambert. These lyrics , this video …it says it all.

Project Unbreakable

Follow Grace on her journey to share our stories on her Tumblr

How Kids Are Playing With Something Far More Dangerous Than Guns Every Day At School

I found this on Upworthy.com posted earlier today by Carolyn Silveira.

Jamie Oliver explains what America’s diet is doing to our children, and if you think it’s just at home you really need to watch this.

I remember watching this a couple years ago and thinking surely this will be taken seriously and changes will be made!  Well I haven’t seen many real changes and we better wake up, it’s not going to fix itself!

 

Today I stumbled across this incredible video put together by CJ Hobgood the pro surfer and his new sponsor for the 2012 season, TWLOHA. Titled “Hope goes Surfing” It inspires us to follow along and spread this message of hope … Aloha!

“With TWLOHA, we’re trying to do something that feels really different and really important. I’m taking a chance on them and they’re taking a chance on me, but it’s because we believe we have the chance to build something pretty special.”
– CJ Hobgood

What do we do about bullying?

So much has happened the last couple months, and I haven’t posted a thing about the bullying incidents and subsequent suicides that have been all over the news. At first I was just stunned by sheer amount of hatred and viciousness, and as the mothers of the teenagers that took their own lives, stood up and spoke out, I just watched them as my own heart ached with their unbelievable pain. When celebrities like Ellen and Oprah, my idols, used their shows and their influence to get the word out, I felt I couldn’t have possibly said anything better or made more of an impact than they did. Star after star stood up and shared their personal experiences, their stories hopefully touching someone who felt isolated, misunderstood and alone.

All the while I kept thinking in the back of my mind, where are these bullies parents? Who are these children and young adults that seem to be so lacking in compassion and why are they so cruel and judgmental? We’re they raised by bigots and racists? Are they really so self centered and self righteous that they think they have a right to treat anyone who is different than them so callously?

The answers aren’t easy ones.

I realized as I sat watching a playground full of 6 and 7 year old’s, that it starts way younger than I first thought possible. My 6 year old son was accused of bullying a little girl in his class recently and while my first instinct was to jump to his defense and yell at the top of my lungs “He’s just a little boy!” I had to stop and take a long hard look at where he learned the behavior he was exhibiting. Had we snapped at each other in front of him when things weren’t going well and the day was an especially difficult one? Did we spank him when we should have talked it out? Did we loose our tempers in front of him instead of digging down deep for just one more ounce of patience? Were we disrespectful of others and bullyish in our treatment of each other?

Anger, disappointment and cruelty aren’t new to our kids by the time they reach adolescence, and if they aren’t taught skills to cope with these things, they act out in inappropriate ways, commit acts we never would have imagined they were capable of. Acts born of frustration, jealousy and self loathing and they just keep escalating until they are out of control, behaviors that result in someone being singled out for the brunt of their anger. They watch us so closely, they see our over-the-top reactions to every day situations, they over hear our unguarded conversations and they store this information subconsciously and then later lash out at a child who is quieter, more self conscious, someone who is perceived to be weaker or different.

We can all share the blame for the lack of empathy our children show one another, after all we are the ones that are too busy or too wrapped up in our own lives to take the time to be gentle and speak to others with kindness . We can all share the blame for the careless way we speak to each other, the examples we show of complete disregard for another’s feelings or their situation. Just as we can share the blame, we can also share in the responsibility of educating each other. Take responsibility for making sure our children grow up with respect for themselves and others they come in contact with. Teach them how to show a little kindness in their every day lives, show them by setting the example yourself, don’t think they are going to learn it on their own, or at school. Teach them by living your life with purposeful intent, include someone that has been left out, give of your time and yourself to someone less fortunate, speak carefully and choose your words well, care about each others well being no matter what each others differences are. Teach them the definition of Integrity as I learned it from my father. “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

Please check out this link to Ellen’s page United Against Bullying for information and videos from a multitude of stars, who are actually just regular people sharing their stories and sending the message of tolerance and understanding.

A postcard to PostSecret starts a small movement to save a life

PostSecret.com has become a phenomenon of sorts over the last few years.  Thousand’s of people have sent in their secrets anonymously to Frank Warren since he started this amazing postcard-art project over 5 years ago.  Heartfelt postcards full of love and sadness, hope and misery have been delivered to his doorstep in Maryland every day, and each Sunday Frank chooses a handful and posts them on his website.

A couple weeks ago one such postcard sent in for Frank to post was from someone in San Francisco, someone who felt that life wasn’t worth living anymore, someone who didn’t feel wanted or loved or needed.  Someone who just so happens to be in this country illegally and felt unworthy, they felt that the only thing left for them was to jump from the Golden Gate bridge.

Most people would have looked over the postcards that Frank put up and then moved on with their lives.  Not Katelyn Roberts. Katelyn lives in San Francisco and couldn’t imagine not doing anything, she couldn’t imagine not trying to help, she couldn’t sit by and not try to make a difference. She turned to Facebook and made a page and named it simply “please don’t jump” . Before long there were hundreds of visitors and thousands voicing their support by becoming members of the page.  Katelyn and a handful of dedicated members decided upon a beautiful day in June to meet on the Golden Gate bridge to show their love and support for all the nameless people who think they need to end their lives.

Below is the video that Katelyn made that spectacular day in June. The day that everyone forgot about themselves and the trivial things going on in their own lives and gathered together with love in their hearts for a perfect stranger.

Thank you Katelyn, it’s people like you that really make a difference.

The name of the song is called “Song for You” by Alexi Murdoch. I don’t think a more perfect song could have been chosen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9bKeBCBxKs

Another video that Katelyn put together shows the outpouring of love and concern for the person that sent in that postcard, people from around the world.  Where ever you are, when you feel the most alone, know that your life matters, that people really do care …

please dont jump.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAk5RjcumY4&NR=1

AFSP Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk

This weekend June 26th and 27th  is the annual AFSP Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk for suicide prevention in Boston. From dusk till dawn, people will gather and join together to try and heal a little of their heartbreak and discuss the issues of depression and suicide prevention.  There are thousands of people participating in the midnight walk again this year and most of them have their own stories of heartbreak.

One such story is shared with us by Brenda Adkins. “Ten years ago, if anyone had told me that Jason wouldn’t still be telling me, “Your TOES, Mom…. run on your TOES!” while Rick laughed and said, “Mom’s not gonna listen to us!”, I would have wondered if they came from another planet. The thought of my children dying, of them ending their own lives, simply didn’t exist. Who’s Who, too many Honor Societies to name, lifeguards, paramedics, athletes…. young men with brilliant futures. Suicide? Not my kids.”

Yet it happened. May 7, 2000, Jason ended his life. August 16, 2002, his twin Rick joined him.

Although my life has been touched by suicide, too many times,  it is almost impossible to imagine the pain Brenda Adkins has been through. Reading the stories of her twin son’s Jason and Rick’s lives…. both so young, accomplished, full of life, with huge plans for their future, makes it almost unimaginable they could take their own lives.

It happens every day. Every single day someone wakes up and thinks they are not enough. That things won’t get better, that life is just too difficult, that no one will understand.  Every single day someone will miss the signs that a loved one is more than just a “little depressed.”

Today if you can spare the time, please read Brenda Adkins story of love and loss here.  And if you can spare just a few dollars, pledge it to Brenda on her overnight walk in Boston this weekend, the link to her AFSP Overnight Walk pledge page is here.

My love and thoughts will be with all of you participating, but as one Mother to another, it is especially with Brenda.

Send Silence Packing

Send Silence Packing

Active Minds is raising awareness about student suicide with it’s visual display called “Send Silence Packing.”  After winning the Pepsi Refresh Everything Competition this past February, Active Minds decided to use their $50,000 grant to support the first road tour of Send Silence Packing to Universities across 10 states.

The tour began April 2nd in  Harrisburg Virginia at James Madison University, and this past Monday 3/4 of the way through their tour, they pulled in to the University of Minnesota and set up their display of over 1,000 backpacks on the Coffman Union lawn. The reaction at first is one that people share at every campus display, shock and disbelief.  “1,100 is just a number, but seeing them all laid out really shows the power.” stated Linda Fehrman, a mother who’s son Joel committed suicide and who shared their story at the St. Louis campus display.  “This really changed how I see things. I have been affected by friends and family committing suicide and this has helped me realize by not talking about it, isn’t the best thing to do.”

Suicide claims more than 1,100 college age students lives each year. Active Minds launched this aggressive campaign to raise awareness about mental health, depression and suicide on college campus’s  across the United States in hope that it will start people talking, and erase the stigma associated with mental health issues. Each of the 1,100 backpacks represents one of the 1,100 students that has taken their life and Active Minds has attached the personal story of loved ones to help put a “face” to lives lost to suicide.

Today the Send Silence Packing team is on it’s way to Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin to set up the display for tomorrow, Wednesday April 28th.  With only 3 cities left on the first tour, we can only hope that their message of preventing suicide not being about the statistics but about saving the lives of students, sons, brothers, daughters, sisters and friends across the nation, is one that resonates.

Recognizing the signs of someone with a mental health disorder can help to save the life of a friend or family member. Click here for the 12 signs you might notice in yourself or a friend that might be reason for concern.

TWLOHA Wins USA Today Contest!

TWLOHA Wins USA Today Contest!

USA TODAY announces results of Twitter Hashtag campaign for charity
#AmericaWants To Write Love on Her Arms To Get A Full-Page Ad in USA TODAY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

McLean, Va. and Cocoa, Fla. (April 20, 2010) — USA TODAY, the nation’s top-selling print newspaper, announces the results of the #AmericaWants Twitter hashtag campaign for charity. With the most tweets of support, To Write Love on Her Arms will receive a full-page, full-color ad in USA TODAY, valued at $189,400!

YaY!  This will bring a LOT more attention to the suicide prevention cause!

I know for me it was hard to vote for just one cause when there are so many worthwhile organizations doing fantastic work out there … but the TWLOHA cause is one I support with all of my heart.

Thank you to all our members and readers for helping to promote TWLOHA and making this possible!

Jamie Tworkowski wins the Good Woodie!

Jamie Tworkowski wins the Good Woodie!

Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit movement that is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide, has won the prestigious Good Woodie award!

The Good Woodie is awarded to the artist whose commitment to a social cause has effected the greatest change this year.

Jamie says, “TWLOHA is a story that I am proud to be part of. The best stories are the ones that surprise you and inspire you to change. Thanks for all you do to make ours that sort of story. It’s my honor to represent you at the Woodie Awards tonight, to get to be there on behalf of people who struggle and people who care.”

Jamie was the only person nominated by MTV that wasn’t a musician with a song of his own, so MTV allowed him to choose a song by an artist or group for his nomination video. After giving it a lot of thought, Jamie chose Switchfoot’s “Needle and Haystack Life” from their new album “Hello Hurricane (CD/DVD).”

“No, don’t let go
Don’t give up hope
All is forgiven
You breathe it in
The highs and lows
We call it living

All is not lost
All is not lost
Become who you are
It happens once in a lifetime”

When accepting the award Jamie thoughtfully accepted on behalf of all people battling depression and drug addiction.

We would like to thank Jamie for all that he has given of himself to this cause and to the thousands of people who  support TWLOHA and provide hope for people who so desperately need it.

Kim

PS ~ We Love You !

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Raising awareness about teen suicide