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Happy Holidays from The Kim Foundation
It’s hard to believe that 2015 is coming to a close and that 2016 is upon us. This year has been full of great accomplishments and memorable moments meeting families impacted by mental illness and suicide, as well as interacting with partners who are carrying out impactful work in this field. New programs have been started and relationships built, while our mission has expanded to take on a more targeted focus with suicide prevention. We are humbled by the support and successes we’ve seen this year, and are really looking forward to what 2016 has in store.
As mentioned, we will be making a small change to our mission beginning in 2016. Suicide prevention is such an important part of the work we do; we felt it made sense to include it in the mission that drives the work we do every day. The Kim Foundation’s mission will now be, “To serve as a supportive resource and compassionate voice for lives touched by mental illness and suicide.” With our vision being, “A community free of suicide that embraces the importance of quality mental health services and prevention.” The work around mental health will remain a strong focus for us, but we will incorporate suicide prevention into more of the activities we are doing.
We feel that one suicide is too many, and that our community continues seeing suicide rates at a much higher level than we should without much progress being made in this area. Therefore, we feel it is a crucial time to partner with law enforcement agencies and other community organizations to try and reach individuals before their crisis is upon them, and they see no other option but to take their own life, while raising awareness about suicide in order to curb these numbers, but most importantly, to save lives.
While I always enjoy this time of year because it provides the opportunity to be with family and friends while celebrating the magic of the season, in the office I enjoy it because it means it’s time to give out our annual grants! This year we had so many wonderful organizations apply that are implementing programs that strongly align with our mission. We awarded almost two dozen grants that will help organizations implement mental health services in school-based clinics, suicide prevention programs in schools, youth behavioral health services in Lincoln and Omaha, mental health services through a street outreach program for youth that are homeless or at-risk for homelessness, a variety of therapy intervention trainings for youth and families, an artist and writers workshop for individuals impacted by mental illness, and many more programs that are going to make an important difference to the people served through them each day. Thank you to all of the amazing organizations who applied and are making a difference each day to better serve our community.
I hope that each of you have a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family, and take a moment to reflect on the many blessings that have touched your life this year, as you look forward to new adventures and memories for 2016. I know that I have much to be thankful for, as well as to look forward to, so thanks to each of you who play a part in that. Happy Holidays! And I look forward to seeing you all in 2016!
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation since 2011, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications and advancement. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves on the Executive Committee for Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the 2015 Hill Day State Captain for the state of Nebraska, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, Connections Advisory Board and the Project Propel Planning Group.