Our lives were forever changed when we received the news that our son, Jon, had died by suicide. Jon had no known history of mental health issues. He was embarking on a new adventure headed off to a university across the country when he lost perspective and chose to end his life. Shocked by this, we searched for answers and found that there was much to learn about suicide. In the following year, our community experienced several suicides. Witnessing the shock and devastation of our community, and because of our own experience, we were gripped with a question, “What can we do?”
In asking that question, the idea was sparked to spread hope in simple ways. Out of this came three Community Initiatives to spread hope and care through simple Signs of Hope, community care cards, and community walks. This was just the beginning of the Our City Cares movement. August 31, is the anniversary of our loss, and every year since in September which is National Suicide Prevention Month. We commemorate the loss and hopefully prevent others from making this tragic mistake.
Our City Cares movement continues because others continue to pick up the mantle and carry it forward. This year we are joined by University of Washington Intern Anthony Delaplaine, Clark County Fire District 3, WHY Racing, and North West Personal Training to bring this year's Campaign Let's Build Each Other Up. Be sure to check out the auction tab to see NWPT contribution, you just might make this year your best with the help of a personal trainer.
Most effective non-profits outgrow their founders and this is where we find OCC. As we look to the future we know others will join the movement. For seven years OCC has been putting up Signs of Hope around the schools, city parks, and city streets in Clark County. This year the Signs of Hope are still going out but on a smaller scale. The campaign will be run by our WSU intern Anthony Delaplaine and feature Signs of Hope 2.0 which will primarily be a social media campaign supporting and encouraging our Hope Ambassadors in the schools. We encourage you to pull out the signs from the past, posters t-shirts, and other products and commemorate National Suicide Prevention Month. Please post your pictures and tag us on FB, Instagram, or Linkedin.
If you would like to help OCC print more products and distribute them please donate through our event page.
Thank you in advance because we know however big or small our campaign will be, It will take a City That Cares to change this cultural epidemic.
Sincerely, Joe and Sheryl Stephens
Founders of Our City Cares