Sometimes life doesn't quite go as planned and when my brother of 15 years old decided to take his life... We didn't know how to react, what to do or how to feel... Complete devastation and horror swept through my family like a plague filled with unexplainable grief. Within hours of getting the life-altering news, first responder, Jackie Rosen, CEO of FISP walked through our doors with love, compassion and guidance. The butterfly on her shoulder gave me a glimpse of hope that we were going to make it through... That was almost five years ago. Since then, FISP has created and taken part in many events, seminars and initiatives that have changed the lives of countless people. With the intention of erasing the stigma on suicide and educating people on the importance of being aware of the signs of suicide, substance abuse and mental illness, people every where are receiving the help they need to survive. One of my favorite initiatives that FISP started is the HOPE Sunshine Clubs for middle and high school students. My brother's school was the first to have a HOPE Club and since then, more than 50% of high schools in Broward County have a HOPE Club. I myself am a high school teacher and it has been the perfect opportunity for me to help students that share the same feelings that my brother silently felt. I have the advantage to reach students at my school and provide them with a club that provides education on the importance of knowing the signs of suicide, how to help those in need and why we need to be kind to one another. I know this club has and will help more students then I will ever know, but in the end... The HOPE Club has also helped to save me. Thank you FISP for your relentless efforts and unwavering vision to help people who are suffering. Lots of LOVE to everyone at FISP, you have changed my life!
FISP's Survivor of Suicide Loss was my introduction to the organization. The event was well-organized and everyone was so warm, that I felt welcome to speak, for the first time, about my sister's death. The staff also guided me to a local support group, where meeting Rene and the others has been instrumental in healing my trauma. I have learned to accept the slow recovery and understand that there will always be a grief associated with losing my sister, but I feel better equipped to handle it and I feel loved and supported by the members of the support group and FISP.