It is that time of year that everyone reflects back on what has occurred over the last 12 months, and what goals they would like to meet during the upcoming year. We here at The Kim Foundation are no different! While we’ve been enjoying the holiday season, we’ve also taken some time for reflection and planning for 2015. We’ve had many successes over this past year, which we are so thankful for, but are also looking forward to new initiatives in the coming year.
Suicide prevention has always been a high priority for The Kim Foundation, but as we look to 2015, we are looking to have a greater focus on prevention and postvention efforts. We are working with a team of loyal supporters to add a Metro LOSS team for suicide survivors. This team will go out to survivors to serve as peers who have experienced a similar loss, and offer information on support groups, available resources, and any other support they can provide to the family or loved ones. These teams already exist in the Lincoln, Kearney, and Norfolk areas, so we are really looking forward to being able to have this resource here in the Metro area. We are just in the initial planning stages of this priority, but you can be watching for updates in the coming months and hopefully seeing implementation by summer of 2015.
We are also looking to increase prevention efforts across the area, including in schools and for youth. We will be introducing new priorities and efforts throughout the 2015 year that will allow for us to increase suicide prevention awareness including seminars, informational booths with new resources, and presentations to schools, youth groups, parents, and anyone who is interested in having the information. In addition, we are happy to partner with a number of organizations and individuals on implementation of LB923. This bill was a huge success for the state of Nebraska, and calls for one hour of suicide prevention training for all necessary school staff. I strongly commend the Nebraska Department of Education for embracing this initiative and taking such a strong leadership position to ensure this occurs starting in the 2015/16 school year. There have been so many vital contributors to this effort since the onset and we here at The Kim Foundation want to thank you all for making this happen!
In 2015 we will also look to continue, and possibly expand, our Don’t Be Sidelined public awareness campaign, and our Voice for Hope & Healing program, including adding opportunities for consumers and family members to tell their stories to help others. We are so fortunate to have such amazing partners who work with us to make these programs possible and we’re looking forward to continued growth and success in these areas.
While we are very excited for these priorities in 2015, we are also making sure to take time to appreciate this holiday season and spend time with our loved ones. We’ve had wonderful opportunities for team building and growth, and closed out the year by awarding 19 grants to wonderful organizations we are honored to support, and remind us how lucky we are to do the work that we do. So as we wrap up 2014, we want to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We hope that 2015 is one that is filled with much love and joy for you all!
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia 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 for three years, 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 as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the executive committee of the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, RESPECT Advisory Committee, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition and the Adolescent Mental Health Coalition. She also serves on the Women’s Fund Circles Board.