Kid in the Corner is a grassroots organization started by Zach’s family and friends shortly after he died by suicide.
During his journey, Zach often said that although he was fighting so hard to conquer his mental illness, he felt alone, like nobody cared. None of the kids at school or youth groups or extracurricular clubs ever asked him where he had been after he’d been gone for weeks. No one inquired about how he was feeling or reached out with an offer to listen. It was as if mental illness had made Zach invisible. After a two week stint in the hospital, he felt deflated that he hadn’t gotten even a single voicemail message. He believed he didn’t matter.
Zach was a funny, smart, well-liked kid. But he was convinced that he was the Kid in the Corner. This sense of isolation and insignificance fueled his depression and enabled his decision to end his life. If only he could have seen the outpouring of love and support for him after his passing. It wasn't that nobody cared. It was that nobody knew what to say. When people don't know what to say, they say nothing.
After many sleepless nights and discussions with friends, family, and physicians, Kid in the Corner was born. We simply could not stand idly by and watch this happen to anyone else. Nobody should feel alone. Mental illness is a physiological condition that needs open discussion, awareness, compassion, and activism. We need to #StartTheConversation.
We firmly believe that we can change the story for other kids in the corner. We pledge to fulfill Zach’s legacy by shining a light on mental illness through education, awareness, and contagious kindness. We will continue the work that Zach began - to help the kid in the corner, whomever they may be, by offering access to the best resources and information, consistent kindness campaigns, peer to peer outreach programs, and family and community support opportunities.
Please join us in changing the story of mental illness.
We believe that through education, awareness, kindness and positivity, we can help change the story for the next kid in the corner.
To reach out to the Kid in the Corner, whomever that may be, so that they feel supported by and connected to their community, as well as to start conversations about mental illness and inspire kids to build peer connections through education, awareness, and simple acts of kindness. We plan to accomplish this by using a three-pronged approach:
Promote kindness & community connectedness
Connect community with mental health resources
On June 13, 2017, we lost Zach Sumner to suicide.
This heartbreaking tragedy rocked our community to its core. In the days and weeks that followed, stories emerged about how Zachary was always looking out for and reaching out to the kid in the corner, those kids who felt alone and isolated. He touched more people in his short life than most people ever do. Zach was a giver with a keen eye for those in need. Yet sadly, he didn’t feel the reciprocation when he himself became the kid in the corner.
We believe that through education, awareness, kindness, and community connectedness, we can help change the story for the next Kid in the Corner. Our vow to Zach is to honor his legacy by continuing the incredibly important work he started.
Board of Directors
Kim Mertens, President
Tax Law Specialist, Internal Revenue Service
Randi Posner, Vice President
Educator, Paradise Valley Unified School District
Judi Adams, Secretary
Mental Performance Coach, Self-employed
Bertus Cilliers, Treasurer
Owner, bloomROCK Partners
Owner, Liberty Tax
PHD student, University of Pittsburgh
Project Coordinator, The National Criminal Justice Training Center
Dr. Amy Rampley
Pediatrician, Desert Sun Pediatrics
Principal, City View High School
Owner/Psychotherapist, Integrated Mental Health Associates