The Full Story
On May 8, 2020, our family lost my 15-year-old nephew, by suicide. I personally couldn’t stand idly by and watch another family go through what ours has and my only hope is to do what I can to help prevent another precious life from being lost to suicide. In 2021, I founded Mike's Mission, Inc. Here, we are preventing teen suicide by promoting family, social, and community connectedness and by increasing positive communication in the family dynamics.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24. In 2019, it was the leading cause of violent deaths in Arkansas. In our state, one person takes their life every 16 hours. It is responsible for more deaths in teens and young adults than AIDS, birth defects, heart disease, cancer, HIV, pneumonia, and influenza combined. Those are staggering facts, but one good thing is suicide is absolutely preventable. Our state has many programs that penetrate the schools and some throughout the community however, here at Mike's Mission, Inc. we want to tap into the home. Rather it is bullying at school, a relationship that’s ended, or just them feeling like they are not enough, more than likely they go home to what should be their happy place and make this decision. So why not try to infiltrate the home with tools family members can use?
What’s unique about our program is it’s not just for parents. It’s for families. I am a single mom but I had a village with my children. We want to equip your village. So no matter where your teens are, everyone has the tools to navigate communication in a positive way to help them feel heard, loved, and like someone cares.
We do this by promoting connectedness in the family, by hosting family events, basketball tournaments, our annual Sneaker Ball, and lots of other events you can attend with your adolescent. We promote peer-to-peer connections to help teens build their social experience. Bringing teens together for positive fun events and by getting them involved in public service through our community outreach. Soon we will have volunteer opportunities to show our babies how much our community needs them and how important public service is. We are building workshops and training for adult family members to take so we are doing our part to cast a wide enough net to make sure we don’t lose any more lives.
My vision and with the help of donors and funding, we will eventually expand to service young adults. When you are 20 and off to college you need help. When you are 20 and not really sure what to do, you need help. We will eventually have life coaching, job readiness, and classes on what to wear on an interview and mock interviews, help young adults with their college assignments, make sure they have food, and that they are encouraged to finish and the list goes on.
As we know you don’t take your hands off when they reach a certain age and we want to provide resources and services to young adults as well. A wise woman once told me we have four positions in children’s lives:
When our children are in the elementary stages of life, we are their teachers,
When they become adolescents we transition into their trainer,
Once they hit teen status we become their coach,
and once they have their own families, we then transition into their cheerleaders.
So let’s make sure we are equipped in all of our positions to help them better navigate this journey called life.
We would love for you to sign up so you can stay up to date on events. Eventually, we will need you to get your teen or a teen in your life signed up to be a part of the program, and let's stay connected.