Inspire USA Foundation

The Inspire USA Foundation is a national nonprofit organization based in San Francisco with a mission to help millions of young people lead happier lives. Working directly with teens and young adults, Inspire USA designs and delivers innovative technology-based services which promote mental health and prevent suicide.
Mar 16, 2012

Our 2nd anniversary celebration!

ReachOut Turns Two
ReachOut Turns Two

ReachOut.com Turns Two!

by Meredith Sires, Content Editor

Happy birthday to us! March marks the second anniversary of ReachOut.com, and Inspire USA is thrilled to be celebrating with the upcoming launch of our moderated forums for CalMHSA, the expansion of our presence on myYearbook and the continuing growth in youth-generated traffic to the ReachOut.com site with a 320% increase in US visits between our first and second year. From March 2011 to March 2012, ReachOut.com has had 1,000,041 visits from teens and young adults in the US and 166,937 visits in California alone.  We’ve given: 

  • Encouragement to the 249,988 visitors who expressed feelings of hopelessness
  • Support for the 102,872 visitors who searched for content related to being bullied
  • Intervention to 115,231 visitors who searched for suicidal content

Numbers based on the search terms, keywords, page views and referring urls used by the 589K unique US visitors to ReachOut.com since March 2010.

As we continue to take strides towards connecting with youth in need, and empowering those with an inspiring story to share, we look forward to deepening our impact and furthering our reach in the year ahead. We could not have accomplished so much without your ongoing support. Help us continue our U.S. expansion by making a donation today. 

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Reaching Out in the Community

by Brandon Rohlwing, Youth Council Member     

My name is Brandon Rohlwing, and I am a Youth Council Member from right outside of Chicago. A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a local church after having an article published about how my work for ReachOut was recognized. Living Waters Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake, IL, was interested in having me speak during an upcoming series about ‘hot topics.’ I was asked to speak about depression, recovery, and how ReachOut fits in. I was very excited by this offer and seized the opportunity. On March 7th, I presented in front of about 100 people and then did a Q&A with about 20 young adults afterward. Here’s what Pastor Carol Gates had to say about the night:
                The room was silent as Brandon shared the realities of depression and how it affects the lives of so many young people, often leading them down a deadly path. The candor with which Brandon spoke regarding his
struggle, his testimony about ReachOut…brought light and hope into the darkness of depression. Beyond that
message though, a deeper message was conveyed by Brandon through his presence with our young adults in the
‘debriefing session.’

Overall, I believe that the message was well received, and offered an alternative perspective to most attendees on what teen depression can look like, and other struggles that teens go through. I believe that Pr. Gates saw the same thing I did that night by saying, “When Brandon finished his reflection about his experience, a loud applause echoed throughout the Worship space – one filled with hope with the sure and certain knowledge that support is available 24/7 with the click of a button.”

 

Reach Out Brandon
Reach Out Brandon
Dec 28, 2011

How YOU made a difference this year

Brandon Rohlwing, ReachOut Youth Council Member
Brandon Rohlwing, ReachOut Youth Council Member

With your help, we have been able to accomplish so much this year at Inspire USA Foundation. Just to highlight a few high points of 2011:

We relaunched the ReachOut.com site in February of 2011 with a focus on powerful, real stories from young people about how they got through a tough time (we have over 800 stories and counting!). In November alone, we were able to reach approximately 649K U.S. teens and young adults through ReachOut.com and social media sites (myYearbook, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and WeeWorld). 

We launched our mobile site and weekly text messaging program expanding the accessibility of our content and reaching teens where they spend the most time (on their phones).

We began working with our partners in Australia to develop and evaluate online and mobile wellness apps as part of a five year project.

We expanded our RO Youth Council, had an in-person summit this July and are watching in amazement at all they have accomplished in their local communities.

We have so much more planned for 2012 including the launch of forums on ReachOut.com, an Ask the Expert feature, a teen developer competition and more exciting partnerships so stay tuned and thanks again for all of your support in 2011!

Links:

Nov 3, 2011

Meet the new ReachOut Council Members!

Hi everyone. Just wanted to post an update here introducing you to our new ReachOut Council members, the project your dollars are supporting:)

Hamburg, NY - Julie Diaz, age 22
“I have heard and read many good things about this organization. In fact, my goal in life is to achieve my bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, and continue on to become a parole or probation officer working to help juveniles to set them on the right path in life. I feel as though my own personal battles in my life so far could be an inspiration to other young adults struggling with the same issues. I did not grow up in a bad neighborhood, I had a family that was well-off and who loved me, and I was given every opportunity to succeed.”     

Laurelton, NY - Candace Foxworth, age 18
“Being a young woman I have faced several hardships in my lifetime and have suffered from countless battles with myself. Living in a broken home and being bi-racial, two things I could not change, handed me an overwhelming number of insecurities and complexes from as early as four years old. As I got older, I not only had a complex about my family and skin but also had issues with my weight, acceptance, bullying, hatred, fighting, finances and several inappropriate remarks from people around me... I thank the counselor everyday for helping me through some of my hardest times. I now know that many young people out there face similar issues today as I did back then and do not have someone to talk to or reach out to them.”

Bradford, RI - Chloe Blau, age 18
“Having gone through similar issues that the council helps people deal with, I know how much having people there to help and listen does for a person, and I want to be able to help and influence others as I've been helped and influenced. I feel like so many people nowadays have no one they can turn to when they need someone, and I would like to be that person for someone. I want to be able to say that I've made a positive difference in the world, and the Reach Out council is a wonderful opportunity to do so.”

West Dundee, IL - Brandon Rawling, age 17   
“In my 17 years of living, I believe I have gone through more things than any teen should have to. In the past few months, everyday I would wake up with an unimaginable weight on my shoulders. I would dredge through school with teachers, friends, and parents not understanding how I feel, what I'm thinking, and how hard it is for me not to end it all. I felt like no one knew what it was like to be on anti-depressants and still feel incredibly low. The only thing that stopped me from ending it all was this miracle of a website called, us.reachout.com. While googling ways of way to commit suicide I stumbled upon this website. After many hours of watching videos, reading testimonials, and doing some simple reflection, I came to the glorious conclusion to push on, and make it through. In the following months, I told my parents, started going to counseling, consulted my doctor, and started to change my personality and outlook on life. Although I made it in time, many teens and young adults do not. We need to work together on getting the website out in the public, and as familiar to teens as the parent-despised, energy drinks. I feel as though I have many different, unique experiences which will help better construct the website and it's functions. I have experience with anti-depressants, anxiety, bullying, and depression among many other things. I will do nothing but add to the Youth Council. I have already been in contact with Ms. Susan G. Keys about spreading the word(and stickers) of Reach Out among my pupils and community members as well as possibly doing a youth conference for reachout.com users/members. I feel like I am more than prepared and ready to take on any challenge that the committee can give me and would be honored to serve on the Reach Out Youth Council.”

MI - Deondra Magett, age 21
“I grew up never understanding what was wrong with my mother. To the family, her diagnosis was the over-crowding elephant in the room that no one ever talked or referred about. There was always a gap in my heart that longed to ask questions, I always wanted to help her. Bi-polar disease was the best kept secret my family has ever hid. Her pain was always a burden on my back that couldn’t be lifted because I did not know how to express the heavy load of guilt, frustration, anxiety, and fear; I didn’t know someone could understand...I want to join the Reach Out council because I was once that teen that needed someone to talk to or listen.”

Kansas City, MO - Meredith Schneider, age 20
“I’d like to join the council because I am a recent college graduate who just wants to make a difference in the world.  I graduated this semester (a year and a half early), so I am still just a 20-year-old who has been through a lot.  My experiences are still fresh in my mind and vivid, from burn books to harassment, death, and love lost.  I am currently working on writing projects to deal with these issues, and possess an interest in helping others to overcome their own hurdles.  I work part-time in the beauty industry, helping women attune their personalities to their looks and find their self confidence daily.  Now I want to work on something that is more than just skin deep.”
 
Austin, TX - Zach Ford, age 18
“I have struggled with depression my whole life, and I know how important it is to be able to talk to someone about your issues. I want these people to know that there is always somewhere they can go, no matter what they are going through.”

Murrieta, CA - Melissa Caampued, age 22
“I have a strong academic background in Social Sciences and Women's Studies contributing organizational skills, attention to detail, and hands-on experience with several diverse communities.”

Apple Valley, CA - Jessica Moyeda, age 22
“In the past year I was a member of group grief counseling along with 7 other college students, this was a unique experience in that I was able to share intimate feelings in a safe and comfortable sphere of trust.  Since this experience I feel that I am able to relate and understand some of the major issues facing young adults, and I believe that this attitude of acceptance is something that I can contribute to the Reach Out Council.  Furthermore, I am extremely dedicated to and passionate about helping others; I believe that my life’s work will include assisting others and the Council seems like the perfect path to continue this personal quest.”


We will be having a youth summit here in the Bay Area at the Stillheart Institute in Woodside, CA, July 1-3 where this group will meet the existing Council members, hopefully bond with each other and the organization and learn valuable skills like public speaking, leadership/organizing, etc. in order to be ReachOut ambassadors and connect with hundreds of their peers back home.

Finally, ReachOut will have a booth in Planet Roo at this year's Bonnaroo music fest in TN. If any of you are planning to attend, please stop by and say hello. We are bringing three youth Council members along to help!

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