ReachOut & help young Americans lead happier lives

 
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$25,517
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Jun 15, 2012

ReachOut Forums officially launched!

ReachOuthere.com
ReachOuthere.com

ReachOut Forums Officially Launched!

by Emily O'Brien, Youth Programs Director

Just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we’re excited to announce the launch of moderated forums on ReachOut.com! Driven by youth and guided by 12 peer facilitators, the forums are a safe, anonymous peer-to-peer community created to help teens and young adults get through tough times.
 
To promote the official launch, Inspire worked with Runyon Saltzman & Einhorn (RS&E), the Sacramento communications agency heading up the mental health stigma and discrimination reduction social marketing campaign. RS&E has been working hard on developing radio, online and print advertisements (see example above) that will drive California youth to the ReachOut forums. As a campaign partner, Inspire helped RS&E to identify youth aged 14-24 years old with the experience and eagerness to lend their voice and images to the campaign.
 
ReachOut Forum Peer Leaders, Kylie Nore, Alisha Murdock, Cheng Veu, Daniel Caldera, Brianda Alanis, Eric Whitt and Nicholas Dugan jumped at the exciting opportunity to participate in this statewide effort to reduce stigma. They all did a great job recording their voices reading the script provided for the radio advertisements.  Peer Leaders, ‎Kylie, Alisha and Cheng also rallied their friends and participated in a photo shoot in Sacramento on Thursday, May 10. These photos appear in the online and print ads rolling out this week. The radio ads are also running now. Kylie Nore reported that the day in Sacramento was “So much fun! I had a blast, and my friends loved it too.”
  
Support for the ReachOut Forums Provided By: The Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Consortium is a component of The Strategies for a Supportive program, funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA operates services and education programs on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information, visit www.calmhsa.org.

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Inspire to Host Health and Well-Being Summit

by Emily O'Brien, Youth Programs Director 

The first weekend of June, Inspire USA Foundation lead the Young and Well Collaborative Research Centre (YAWCRC) International Youth Health and Well-being Summit. The goal of this summit was to bring together Australian and American youth between the ages of18 and 25 to improve the current understanding of how young people define well-being, and how they use technology to enhance positive mental health.
 
This Youth Summit will directly inform the development of apps and the design of an Online Well-being Center (OLWBC) set to launch next year. Inspire USA, Inspire Australia and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will run two youth participation workshops, one in San Francisco US, and one in Sydney, Australia. The first part of the agenda will consist of in-person/offline activities run at the headquarters of Inspire USA and Inspire Australia. The later part of the workshop will be a joint 2-hour video teleconference between US and Australian youth. We are excited about this event and learning from both US and Australian youth who are a part of the OLWBC international youth advisory group.

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Inspire USA Attends Change Your World D.C.

by Meredith Sires, Web Editor


This month, Inspire USA Digital Director Anastasia Goodstein had the honor of attending and speaking at the fourth annual Business & Human Rights Summit hosted by Yahoo! in Washington, D.C. at the Newseum. This year’s event followed the launch of the Change Your World series in Cairo with a similar focus on how women across the world are using social media, digital media, technology and the Internet to create positive change in the world. Attendees included Fulbright Fellow Lauren Bohn, GLAAD Vice President of Campaigns and Programs Allison Palmer and The U.S. State Department’s Senior Advisor for Women and Technology Ann Mei Chang,
 
Anastasia was invited to appear on the Social Advocacy and Women’s Health panel to discuss the work we do harnessing technology to promote mental health and prevent suicide. She touched on the ways that ReachOut, in welcoming all young people, provides young women with a readable, relatable source for support and information on a wide range of issues that impact their daily lives.

Beyond health, the summit covered four primary areas: women's leadership in governance and politics, women's rights/human rights and social justice, journalism, and entrepreneurship.
 
The summit was designed as an inspiring showcase of women using digital tools to influence policy, govern, engage and inspire voters, address social issues and change the world for teens and young adults growing up today.

Links:

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:

Oct 13, 2011

Reaching Out During Suicide Prevention Month


ROFansFreefestIn the U.S., ReachOut council members were hard at work bringing ideas from our summer summit to a reality. To start off the month, Nicholas made a Suicide Prevention Day flyer to raise awareness about the cause, and handed the flyer out at his local farmers’ market. Meanwhile, Lauren participated in a community service scavenger hunt at her school to teach her classmates about suicide prevention and Chloe did a series of interviews with Broadway stars, and posted them on the ReachOut.com blog. Meredith also spoke with several entertainers, including producer Colby Wedgeworth and members of the pop group, The Relay Company, to find out their perspectives on healthier lifestyles.

In the digital space, Brandon hosted a Facebook event on September 10th, Suicide Prevention Day, asking people to share their own messages of hope. Participants posted to the hashtag #whenindoubt, followed by anecdotes to help strangers persevere through difficult times. This effort also trended through Twitter, and some of the posts were chosen to appear on the official ReachOut website. Some anecdotes included: “#WhenInDoubt Remember that you're beautiful, loved, and cared for by many” and ”#whenindoubt laugh!”

Brandon himself posted “#whenindoubt don't forget there are always people who care starting with me” to support event members.
 
Besides being National Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th also happened to be Free Fest in Baltimore, a free concert put on by Virgin Mobile to raise awareness about youth homelessness. Inspire staff members Emily and Anastasia attended and set up a tent to educate attendees about ReachOut.com. More photos of the event are posted on the ReachOut Flickr account.

Catherine, council member and co-founder of MyYearbook.com, wrote a MyMag article focusing on Suicide Prevention Day. Her opening paragraph include startling statistics and addressed the relevancy of our cause. The article is available to MyYearbook members.

Links:

Jul 21, 2011

ReachOut Youth Summit Held In July

Icebreaker!
Icebreaker!

Thanks to your donations (and some foundation help!), we held our Youth Council Summit July 4th weekend in Woodside, CA at the Stillheart Institute with 16 Council members ages 16-24 who flew in from all over the country (Utah, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Connecticut, Oregon and more!). Over the course of two days, they had a chance to get to know each other and the organization and to create action plans for how they can work promote ReachOut to teens in their own communities. Brandon, 17, from Illinois, will be tabling at his local Harvest Festival, and Chloe, from New York, coordinated the creation of an It Gets Better type video with other Council members to promote ReachOut online.

Zach, our new Council member from Austin, said in his evaluation: "Meeting everyone was really fantastic and energizing. I came in not really knowing anything and I really feel now that I’m prepared to start working for ReachOut and InspireUSA." He's already working to launch a ReachOut Tumblr!

We are currently going through evaluations and action plans and will have more to share in our next report. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!

- Anastasia

Chloe and Nick...listening intensely
Chloe and Nick...listening intensely
The whole group!
The whole group!

Links:

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Michelle Walker

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San Francisco, CA United States

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