Already being familiar with Web3 and NFTs, she decided to travel this path to launch her project. “The goal of my NFT project is to fund our nonprofit, so we can begin servicing the child survivors.
ANSWERING THE CALL
SOS Kids Seeks to Support Young Survivors of Parental Suicide
November 19 will come and go, and for many, this day will carry no particular significance. For one group of people, however, the Saturday before American Thanksgiving each year always carries a deep meaning, as it is a time that they pause to remember an event that forever changed their lives: the suicide of a loved one. International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, also known as Survivors Day, is an event in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience.
While losing someone you love to suicide is traumatic to everyone touched by this tragic event, there is no group more vulnerable to short-term and long-term detriment than children who lose a parent to suicide. According to a study led by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves and increases their risk of developing a range of major psychiatric disorders.
What should someone tell a child who has just lost a loved one to suicide? What can a young person do to cope with this loss? What can be said to help ease their pain? What can be done to help lessen the short-term and long-term challenges these youth will face? After the initial outpouring of sympathy, are these youth given enough support to help them cope with a life in which their world was turned upside down in just a moment of time?
Amanda Hinnen, founder of SOS Kids, is determined to find answers for these questions and provide these special youth with the support they so richly deserve. Just who is this amazing woman and why has she dedicated her life to helping these young people? Amanda tells the story in her own words.
“My husband likes to say I don’t know a stranger, only a friend I haven’t met yet. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and went on to study early childhood education, which eventually led me to obtaining another bachelor’s degree in Nursing. I have continued a lifelong educational path, getting a director’s license in both Kansas and Colorado for childcare centers for over 100 children, studied addiction counseling, and most recently a real estate license. I have the most patient husband on the planet, and we have two additional children together. I am a proud “boy mom,” Gar 15, Charlie 10, and Max 3. They are all uniquely special (and a bit wild). We have amazing health insurance and a fast pass at the emergency room. I believe in family first. I live and lead with honor and integrity. My ex-husband, and the father of our, and his only child, died by suicide January 6, 2022. It was hands down the hardest day in my life, having to tell my 14-year-old son that his dad had died. Each day presents its own challenges and victories.”
Out of this tragedy, SOS Kids was birthed. Amanda’s husband, Charles, suggested the name for the project. The name has a dual meaning, with SOS being an acronym for Survivors of Suicide and an SOS being a call for help. After witnessing first-hand the unique challenges that Gar faced after his dad’s death, Amanda wanted to do something to help him and so many others.
Already being familiar with Web3 and NFTs, she decided to travel this path to launch her project. “The goal of my NFT project is to fund our nonprofit, so we can begin servicing the child survivors. 100% of the proceeds of our NFT project will go directly back into the organization. We are dedicated to supporting and loving the child survivors of suicide. Each NFT will be your ticket into an IRL FUNdraiser of which there will be many, and everywhere!”
Amanda has worked around the clock since the project’s launch, jumping into Twitter Spaces and sharing her story as often as possible. Her efforts are already paying dividends, as other projects have already answered the call to help SOS Kids. “In our first week we made excellent friends with Matic Man, MetaMystic SuperHeroes, and the Lost Hope Society,” Amanda commented. “Between these three new friends, my Twitter community has begun to grow more quickly. The entire NFT and Web3 community shows such amazing love, support, and dedication to the projects that it warms my heart. We are all stronger together and there is no better example than the NFT community.”
There are plans for a unique program, The Happy App, to assist youth on their journey. Amanda spoke enthusiastically about this program’s potential. “The Happy App is a research project where adolescents can go and log their emotional well-being on a numbered and colored scale. This will have multiple outcomes. Outcome 1: The kiddos will have a journal, in a color-based format that will allow them to do some self-reflecting on how they have been feeling. Outcome 2: Depending on how they rank themselves and how low, it will trigger a call/text from our reverse crisis line. Outcome 3: The reverse crisis line will act as emotional support for the lower ranking kids. It will allow for at least one intervention to be put into place in that reach out. The idea is that we will be reaching them BEFORE they are in an absolute crisis scenario, while collecting data to analyze and continue to improve the app. By gamifying this app, we will be able to reach even more kids and have a greater impact, not to mention more data for our research. There is currently very little empirical data around this population.”
The SOS program, realizing the importance of personal connections, also plans to have licensed therapists conduct home visits. “The therapists will be encouraged to do home visits with our survivors. We want to help them develop healthy and appropriate coping mechanisms and the tools they will need to manage further stressors in their life, before adulthood. After care has been established, then the therapists can make monetary recommendations to further help and support our survivors. By doing in-home visits, they will be able to ascertain more information and build stronger relationships, therefore being more effective. Surviving suicide is a rough journey, and we want to help these kiddos as much as we can!”
A roadmap has been developed, and the project is well on its way to success. SOS Kids is currently in Phase 1, with the objective to simply introduce the project and make connections. The NFT project will also be launched during this initial phase. Phase 2 will begin after 25% of the initial set is minted, with the proceeds used to begin work on the Happy App and open the SOS merchandise store. Phase 3 will begin when the mint is between 25%-75% and will involve assembling an army of therapists and launching a massive marketing campaign. After 75% of the initial mint is complete, SOS will begin providing services for survivors.
Being a team of one has been challenging, but Amanda is hoping that others will catch the vision and volunteer to help. “So far, I am working by myself. Having 3 kiddos keeps me busy! Building out the core four, as I like to call them, will be my next steps. I am actively seeking volunteers who have the same passion and drive that I do to help achieve success. Therefore, the biggest challenge is wishing I had three more people just like me.” She also desires help to launch a Discord for the project and needs several people to volunteer as moderators.
Amanda is available for AMAs, Spaces, and other events as she seeks to get the message of this amazing project to the Web3 world. She is also planning special events in the near future to raise awareness. “We would like to host a live streaming Game-a-thon on 11/19, the International Survivors of Suicide Day. If you are a gamer or know of a gamer, please reach out to us. The gamer who is able to raise the most money will get to keep half of the pot for their efforts. Get your friends together and let's go.”
Listen closely. Can you hear them? The calls for help from hurting youth. Amanda heard the calls and decided to help. Will YOU answer the call?
The Matic Man
Oct 14, 2022