Kid in the Corner is a grassroots nonprofit organization that was started by Zachary Sumner’s family and friends after he died by suicide on June 13, 2017. The loss of Zach was a heartbreaking tragedy that rocked our community to its core.
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 start the conversation and #ShatterTheStigma.
We firmly believe that we can change the story for the next kid 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, whoever 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.