2022 Grants Challenge

Find Your Anchor - grassroots suicide prevention

Find Your Anchor (FYA) is a grassroots movement aimed at suicide prevention, awareness, and education. With creativity and a personal touch, FYA aims to support those who may be struggling and de-stigmatize conversations surrounding suicide and mental health. This funding would help us launch more FYA boxes to those struggling throughout Los Angeles - many at the lowest point in their lives. It is our goal to receive more messages like this: "I just wanted to let you know you saved a life today."


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

We are experiencing an epidemic of hopelessness. In 2019, we lost 48,344 people to suicide. There were a staggering 1.4 million attempts. Currently, there is a gap in how our society is addressing this. We fight the hopelessness in a tangible way. And we do that by reminding individuals that they are not alone. I created Find Your Anchor because suicide awareness has long been a cause very near and dear to my heart. I survived multiple attempts. As a society, we’re becoming more distracted and more disconnected. In the height of my darkness, one of my fundamental core beliefs was that nobody would care. I couldn't see the resources around me, and I couldn't feel the love that I was surrounded by. I just felt isolated and alone. With FYA, I wanted to create a network and a community of strangers who care. Because if we can convince somebody that a stranger cares about you, maybe it won't be so hard to believe that your friends and family do, as well.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

At the heart of FYA’s mission is a small blue box. Once referred to as a “mental health first aid kit,” each box is packed with good vibes and materials designed to inspire, soothe, and offer support. This includes a 52+ Reasons to Live deck of cards, an infographic on depression, a list of resources, posters, stickers, a bracelet, a mixtape, a letter, etc. The boxes are intended to be organic in the sense that each person can add their own anchors and inspiration to the box before passing it along. This funding would help us launch more FYA boxes to those struggling throughout LA - many at the lowest point in their lives. $75,000 would reach 5,000 citizens. These box recipients cross all demographics, social classes, and age groups. This program will help us establish deeper roots in LA (relocated from Chicago 3 yrs ago), ensuring that we reach more people who are struggling. The infusion of 5,000+ boxes into the county will help us to create long-lasting partnerships within the community that will extend far beyond this program. FYA boxes enter the world in several different ways: - We launch them organically for people to find - Boxes can be requested online and we will send one, no questions asked (there are too many $$ barriers to mental health) - We partner with schools + organizations to get boxes into more hands. We've partnered with hundreds of schools to customize boxes, do box building workshops, and curate events for students to explore anchors in their lives.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

These testimonials are the definition of our success. - “I just wanted to let you know that you saved a life today.” - “This box saves lives.” - “Yesterday, I opened my mailbox and found a package in there from you. From the deep, depths of my heart, I thank you. You've saved a life.” - “Loved being able to hold something in my hands while I was struggling.” - “You have saved me over and over again because I use the box as a tool when I’m in crisis and it’s helped every single time.” We are literally growing by the day. This growth directly coincides with our impact. In 2018, we had 668 FYA boxes in the world. 2019 - 4,238 boxes 2020 - 13,504 boxes 2021 - 28,425 boxes 2022 (as of May 27) - 35,712 boxes! Our vision of success is inundating LA with Find Your Anchor boxes - with our goal of getting FYA boxes on every school campus. We will also measure success by the number of new school partnerships we create, recurring box subscriptions we receive, and workshops we give.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Since Find Your Anchor provides a physical product, we will track demand for our boxes. We will also focus on data that tells us where the most box requests come from, demographics of the box requesters, geographical data, etc. - but nothing compares to the impact of a testimonial. Throughout this project we will continue to measure success in the form of firsthand accounts of box recipients. However, we will also measure success by the number of school partnerships we create, recurring box subscriptions we receive, and workshops we give. One of the ways we have been measuring impact is from our new partnerships via word of mouth. 80% of our new partnerships have come from a referral from another organization. Also, the majority of our partners will come back for more boxes, once the original ones are gone. This tells us that there is significant impact seen and they are finding the boxes useful.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 5,000

Indirect Impact: 30,000