Since they ruled her death a suicide, it has been my mission to change the world that she left us in. As some of you know, we have created the Speak Up foundation; partnering with another family who lost a beloved son just a few months before we lost Sara. His name is Jason Arkin. He loved video games and making people laugh. He also liked penguins when he was younger. He was a bright 20 year old college student who like Sara had the world at his fingertips. Sara and Jason were very similar. His parents want to flip mental illness on its side and bring awareness to the community in honor of Jason and Sara. While I think every parents dream is that their children decide what their message to the world will be, we are left suffering to figure it out. The Speak Up foundation was created to bring mental health education, awareness and prevention in suicides in our community and country. SPEAK UP stands for Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids United As Partners. We chose “Partners” because we all have a responsibility to partner up and make a change in this world.
Speak Up Foundation website is still in the works. The URL will be www.speakup.us however it’s still in progress. We are working with a few people who have agreed to donate their time in getting it up and running and looking for a few more volunteers. We are hoping to have it moving forward in the next few months however until then we have the community Facebook page for Speak Up which is https://www.facebook.com/speakup.us/?fref=ts It’s a non-profit organization. If you think you could contribute in any way, please message me personally as we can always use the help.
Also, with the help and donation from the Arkin’s, we were able to partner up with Kevin Hines to bring a world known quest speaker to the Shawnee Mission School districts that has dealt with depression and attempting to take his own life multiple times. Countless teenagers reached out to Kevin and wanted to seek help for the struggles in their brain. I watched as they were empowered to tell someone that they too had suicidal ideations or they knew someone else who did. In just 5 short months, we have taken a few steps towards breaking the silence and ending the stigma associated with suicide and mental illness. We continue to raise funds so that our prevention efforts do not have to stop. We are officially associated with a 501c3 because we are serious about making a difference through the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Collation. We want you to be serious as well. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause in death ages 10-24. The statistics are not getting better, they are getting worse...No one is exempt from suicide.
- https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/JewishFamilyServices_2/MCHantistigma.html and in memory/honor of SPEAK UP
- buy one of the many SPEAK items that we have available. Just remember that EVERY bit counts and every little bit helps. Every part of the donation goes towards prevention in the community. No donation is too small.
- We have awesome SPEAK UP super soft T-shirts sizes Small-3XL. Cost with shipping is $25
- We have amazing SPEAK UP zip up hoodies sizes Small-3XL Cost with shipping is $35
- We have wristbands that have a secret message on the inside encouraging to reach out when in doubt. Cost with shipping is $3 or 2 for $5
- We have decals to put on your car. Cost with shipping is $15
Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing my blog. You never know when sharing something so simple can show someone else they are not alone.
Special shout out to GOEX for the shirts and Nickerstickers for the decals. Both companies have been amazing at working with Speak Up.