BENEFITING: JOSH ANDERSON FOUNDATION
EVENT DATE: Mar 11, 2017
March 11th will mark my 8th run in Josh's memory and to end teen suicide. Close to eight years ago, we lost Josh to suicide. I still remember the day when I found out so clearly. I was in my last semester of college and it was one of those early spring days. Charlottesville was buzzing with the energy only a new season brings. Students sprinkled the lawn throwing frisbees and footballs. Sandals and shorts were broken out after a long hiatus in the closet. I was enjoying my last few months of college stress-free, as I had already accepted a job and my only responsibility was to spend time with friends, attend parties, and enjoy the beautiful campus I had spent the last four years of my life. The news that my baby brother had ended his own life cut through this scene with the sharpness of a knife. Life as I knew it was over. Shortly after, I decided to run the 2010 DC Marathon in memory of Josh. I vowed to use my training as a way to connect with him. In those early months, I used that time to ask him questions and tell him things I hadn't ever explicitly told him. Did he know how much I loved and missed him? Would he look over me as I was embarking on this new and scary adult life? Money raised from this first run laid the foundation for what is now The Josh Anderson Foundation (JAF). I left the job I had accepted after two years and moved back home to see what we could do to stop other teens, just like Josh, from ever taking their own life. Today, The Josh Anderson Foundation is making an impact on teen lives and it’s all in thanks to supporters like you. Each dollar you've donated has helped us develop and bring mental health awareness programs directly to schools and teens. Since JAF's incorporation in 2012, we have brought programs to 48 schools and reached over 80,000 students with messages of help and hope. In early 2016, JAF realized the opportunity to further the scope of mental health promotion and deepen its impact on student’s mental wellness through the development of our minds matter (OMM). OMM is a student-led club model which equips students with the resources and tools to change their school culture around mental health. Through group activities and school-wide promotion, our minds matter clubs will help set the tone around mental health in their school community to be one that encourages students to seek help for themselves and friends and one that promotes social connectedness and the development of healthy habits and coping skills. Since launching OMM in November 2016, there are already 14 schools who are developing OMM clubs and many more with interest. Your donation directly affects JAF's ability to spread this peer-based prevention model and put into place evaluative measures to monitor the program, make iterative changes and take the model to scale. Our lofty but important goal is to bring OMM to every high school in the country! Now it is imperative that we expand our capacity at just the right pace to make sure we're effectively impacting students - and your dollars helps us do just this! Help us stop teen suicide by making a donation today.