March was an incredible month for Kid in the Corner! Our Shatter the Stigma Gala on March 12th was a wonderful event shared with so many who came out to support Kid in the Corner and the important work that we are doing!
For those of you who were unable to attend, I thought I would share the message that I wrote for the event program as well as the link to the impactful video we previewed. Thanks to each and every one of you for joining our mission to shatter the stigma that surrounds mental health and to support the kid in the corner, whoever that may be.
Thank you all for being here tonight. I am beyond grateful to be sharing Kid in the Corner’s first annual Shatter the Stigma Gala with you.
As I sat down to write this letter, I went back and read my greetings from previous events. It’s hard to believe that, when I wrote the first one for our You Are Not Alone! Cabaret night, Zach had only been gone 18 months. I wrote the second letter for Every Brilliant Thing after he had been gone 2½ years. Today it’s been almost 5 years. Today it’s been 1,733 days. It doesn’t get easier. The grief doesn’t soften or change. Sometimes I feel it’s actually harder the longer he has been gone. What has changed, however, is the number of times I have told his story. What has also changed is the many lives of the people who have heard his story, especially the lives we have saved. KITC’s work to shatter the stigma that surrounds mental health has kept me moving forward each of those 1,733 days.
Selfishly, I get to take Zach’s memory with me wherever I go. With his story, Kid in the Corner is making a difference. We are changing lives and saving lives. Starting with 4th-grade students, our Penny Pledge programming begins with the sharing of Zach’s story. It is difficult to tell and difficult to hear, but it is extremely important to our effort to shatter the stigma. After telling Zach’s story, listeners learn what stigma is and how to make it as natural to take care of their mental health as it is to take care of their physical health. Kids learn how to reach out to each other, how to advocate for their own mental health, and how to be safe and caring people for others to approach.
During the last year and a half, KITC has worked to produce a training video called Zach’s Story. Although emotionally challenging to create, the video will help us reach many more young people. The video has an impact equivalent to telling the story in person while keeping the focus on ending the stigmatization of mental health concerns. Tonight, I am proud to premiere this video, and I hope that it motivates all of us to come together and work hard to shatter the stigma.
I want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart for being here tonight! Let’s all join forces to make sure that no family or community ever suffers the loss of a loved one by suicide again. This is Zach’s legacy. I hope you enjoy the food, the company, the amazing performance by Brett Barry, and all the fun the night has to offer.