Spring(ing) Into Action  

The last several months at The Kim Foundation have been incredibly busy with new initiatives, continued pursuit of existing initiatives, and serving our community as our mission calls us to do. A cheesy pun on the Spring season, but we are definitely “springing” into action in our office! I’m so grateful and encouraged by our amazing team we have in place. Our staff is now larger than we’ve ever experienced, and the ladies who comprise our team are absolute rockstars! They have embraced the need to meet this fast-paced environment and have gone above and beyond their “job descriptions.” As many of you who work in the non-profit environment understand, the “other duties as assigned” list can be long, and our employees wear numerous hats every day.

That is simply the nature of non-profit work, and those who are called to do it, certainly don’t get into it to get rich, but to help others and serve their community. Employee Appreciation Day is in March here in the United States, but I hope each of you take a moment to show your employees (and colleagues) your appreciation not just on March 4th, but frequently throughout your interactions with them in the year. None of us could what we do without them. I for one am incredibly grateful to Katie, Tiffany, Colleen, and Sadie. Thank you, ladies!

Regarding some of our new initiatives, the focus groups are underway for the information and input phase of the creation of the next Nebraska Suicide Prevention Plan. We have 13 different population groups of focus, and two groups per population. We hope to have representation from all Regions in our state, and ideally as many communities as possible throughout Nebraska. I want to personally thank each of you who have already signed up to participate. From the beginning we wanted this plan to represent all Nebraskans, and without all of you, we could not make that happen. Thank you. If you are interested in joining a focus group, please just email me at jhebenstreit@thekimfoundation.org and I can send you the link to get signed up. Focus groups begin today and will go through the month of April.

We have been fortunate to work on some of the communication and marketing planning for 988 as all states look to roll this out in July. As we are immersed in this work daily it is sometimes difficult to remember that not everyone knows what 988 is. A recent poll was done on the national level that showed only 4% of Americans knew what 988 was. So, before I make the assumption that each of you reading this knows what it is, I want to provide a brief overview of 988. Currently the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.8255) serves as the crisis line for those in need of help. Through a lot of advocacy by some amazing folks, the powers that be started the transition to a three-digit crisis line similar to 911 for emergencies. 988 will become more of an overall crisis line, with three prongs being at the core: 1) Someone to call when you are feeling suicidal or in crisis; 2) Someone to come when you are in crisis; and 3) Somewhere to go. Covering all three components does a better job of ensuring that an individual and/or family is taken care of in the way that meets their needs. There is still much to work to be done, and we know that with an overhaul of this magnitude, it will not happen overnight. When 988 is fully implemented down the road you will be able to call, text, or chat with trained crisis counselors when you are in need of support.

Another exciting update is that Sadie Hinkel and Colleen Eusterwiemann are working diligently to build up our volunteer program and LOSS Team recruitment. Both ladies are new to the team and have hit the ground running since starting with The Kim Foundation. Sadie will be hosting a volunteer orientation this weekend if anyone is interested. To sign up just reach out to her at shinkel@thekimfoundation.org. Colleen has been working diligently to recruit new LOSS Team members and has already had three new members join this month! If you are a suicide survivor (someone who has lost a loved one to suicide) or a clinician and are interested in helping grieving families through the loss of their loved one reach out to Colleen at colleen@thekimfoundation.org.

These are just a few updates that have been happening at The Kim Foundation. More exciting opportunities will be springing up soon! However, without our dedicated team who remain passionate about our mission, we could not do this work. So, thank you ladies! I hope everyone enjoys the slight warm up we hope to enjoy with the arrival of Spring; get out there and enjoy some fresh air! Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other!

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.