Sharing Kindness, Inc is a non-profit organization founded in memory of Jeremy Walters. Jeremy was beautiful and musical. He was brilliant and witty. He loved hiking, swimming and wilderness skills. He loved his computer, his friends and his family. He was very loved. And very loving. Nearly every hello and see you later included a really big hug and an I love you. His smile was ear-to-ear. Suicide was not a word we thought would be associated with our family. And then our beautiful boy died by suicide. We have learned so much. We have learned that suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15-24. That people on the Autism Spectrum are at even higher risk. This is nearly incomprehensible. Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters are being lost to a silent killer that we, as a society, historically find it difficult to talk about. It is time to start the conversation and this was our motivation to found Sharing Kindness.
Jeremy was on the Autism Spectrum and grew up struggling in a typical public school system. The challenges his early school years presented, his communication difficulties, the mis-understandings and punishments at school, led Jeremy to feel unaccepted, guilty and depressed. Although Jeremy ultimately thrived in an alternative school setting, developing a social intelligence that allowed him to navigate complex social situations as well as, or in some cases better than, his neuro typical peers, he never forgot how it felt to be marginalized and left out. Jeremy became the best friend a person could ask for. Jeremy would reach out to anyone he saw struggling, friend, acquaintance or stranger. At the age of 16 Jeremy became severely depressed again. He died by suicide in October 2016. Our son left a note that said “I wish I had more time to tell people I love them. I wish I had more time to make the world a better place”. Based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Sharing Kindness is dedicated, in Jeremy’s memory, to making the world a better place.
Our mission at Sharing Kindness is multi-faceted. Sharing Kindness seeks to increase awareness of suicide risk, particularly risk in our young people. Sharing Kindness seeks to decrease the stigma of mental illness, which will allow those struggling to be able to reach out without fear of judgement or misunderstanding. Sharing Kindness seeks to educate our communities, so that we may knowledgeably reach out if we see someone struggling and have these difficult - but oh-so-important - conversations. Sharing Kindness supports a comprehensive mental health curriculum in our schools K-12, including a social thinking curriculum for all students that explores and respects differences. And, finally, Sharing Kindness seeks to support those families that have experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide or otherwise.
Video by Manxer Magyar.