After graduation, Winter break came upon me and I finally had time to myself to grow. I wanted to keep busy with things I had learned from work and school, and there was no better way to do that than with a good cause.

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Levi was a great friend, and my high school sweetheart many years ago. When Levi comitted suicide last year, it was very hard for me to deal with, as we had just begun to rekindle our friendship. A year after his death, I still miss him and wish there was something I could have done. After many countless nights thinking about him, talking to his friends and family, I realized there was something I could do NOW.

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that focuses on suicide prevention, awareness, and education. The organization is greatly supported by Post Secret, which is how I found out about them. Hopeline is the name of their suicide prevention hotline. The hotline is open 24 hours a day for anyone to call when they’re thinking of suicide or know someone who is. (1.800.SUICIDE)

I’d like to think that if Levi had known about the number/organization, or more about how to deal with depression he would still be around. I also dont want anymore people to take their own lives because suicide not only affects the victim, but also the victim’s friends and family. 90% of people who commit suicide have depression or another diagnosable mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder. This kind of suffering is unnecessary. Depression is treatable and as a result, suicide is preventable. 

I then had the idea that I wanted to raise money for Hopeline, and donate the money in Levi’s name. I thought an easy way to do this while also raising awareness of the organization and suicide prevention was to carol in the neighborhood he grew up in. Not only would we be contributing to a good cause, but it would bring his friends and family close together for support and solidarity. His best friend loved my idea, and so we began to reach out to friends, family, and the neighborhood Levi grew up in. We set a date, made a FB event page, and began to promote the event. Countless phone calls were made to people who went to Levi’s school, who lived in Rock Creek, and others who had also been affected by suicide. A day before the event I placed flyers in the neighborhood and walked around talking to people outside their houses.

9 people came out with us that night to sing songs and ask for donations. We caroled for 1 whole hour, avoiding many houses with “No Soliciting” signs and were still able to raise $191.

We were all so happy and blown away by everyone’s generosity. Some of the houses we sang at remembered who Levi was, or knew someone who had committed suicide and wanted to help out. Days later, I sent off the checks to KBHC and donated the cash online.

photo (3)photo (4)While this isn’t neccessarily adwork, I felt like posting this on my blog because it demonstrates my ability to use my advertising/marketing expertise for good and made me realize I have a new fond appreciation for cause marketing.

I was so happy by the turn out of this event and know Levi and his family are happy too. For anyone reading this who attended or helped me out either for this event or when I was dealing with his loss, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

-Em