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Springing Into Action
Spring has been an exciting time around The Kim Foundation. We officially welcomed a new Project Coordinator, Janae Shillito. Jill Hamilton and I attended the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Seattle. We had the opportunity to do a poster presentation on our 13minutes campaign. The presentation was on a large interactive touchscreen that allowed us to have video testimonials, show our PSA, have infographics of the suicide data we have tracked over the last year, and break out the campaign in detail. We had tremendous feedback from people all over the country. So many people expressed their admiration for us having the ability to bring so many different areas of the community together to help solve this issue. When we told people there were survivors, advocates, law enforcement, schools, and professionals all at the table, they couldn’t believe it and they all asked, “How did you do it?” We explained how we are fortunate to have a community that pulls together when things need to get done. While we’ve unfortunately had many deaths to suicide, people know we need to act now to save lives. Hats off to our community members who share our passion to save lives and help families!
The conference itself was incredibly informative. Some of the highlights for me were attending a session on school-based programs that have been effective in the Boston Public School District; listening to the Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, speak so eloquently and passionately about behavioral health; and listening to the Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, share memories and stories about past administrations and give us similarities throughout time to what we are experiencing now. Seattle wasn’t bad either, and I will most definitely be visiting again!
We are once again working with MAHA Music Festival to promote and raise awareness around mental health at the festival on August 19, 2017 at Aksarben Village. If you are a mental health organization, visit the website to get registered and have a booth in the Community Village the day of the event. It’s a great way to reach a large, diverse audience with your messaging and join together as a community and show the importance of positive mental health work.
We also have had the opportunity to work with the cast and crew of Burke High School’s spring play, The Girl in the Mirror. Emily Mokrycki, the Burke Theater Instructor, has done a phenomenal job of honing in on the students’ passion and excitement about the production. She also made sure the messaging was responsible. While I can’t give away any plot spoilers, all I can say is you will not be disappointed! I joined a few other local professionals with the opportunity to meet the cast and crew in early April to talk about questions and concerns they had regarding suicide prevention and their roles in the play. The thoughtful, mature questions they had put together were incredible. I was so impressed with the students and staff alike! Well done Burke High School! For more information on the play or to purchase tickets visit: http://burketheatre.wixsite.com/opsdrama/tickets. We will have a talk back panel each night after the play where the community can come together and discuss issues and concerns the play has brought up.
This has been such an exciting time to be a part of The Kim Foundation and to see the growth we’ve experienced over the last several years. We have so many unique opportunities that have arisen, and we’ve been blessed with strong community partnerships that stem from a shared passion across the board. Thanks to all of you who have been a part of it!
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.