Elise Carey - Advocate/Founder/President
WHY I FOUNDED THIS ORGANIZATION
My father Wilbur passed on due to lung cancer Christmas 2017. He deteriorated very quickly, was placed in hospice care and passed one week later. My father suffered an epic case of bullying as a frail and terminally ill man at the hands of someone who proclaimed her love for him. My father did not live long enough for us to bring in help or protection.
A secret wedding took place just 5 days before he passed. None of his children who were in the vicinity were invited. After my father's death, my 2 siblings and I discovered there was a fraud in play. Took us close to 2 years to fight an estate case to expose the fraud upon my father's estate.
Witnessing my father, who once was a boxer, very strong, no nonsense and a very proud man, suffer the terrible toll cancer takes on even the strongest person broke my heart. I decided to take everything he left me (that was almost stolen) and pour it into a way to carry on his legacy, by Paying It Forward in an effort to empower others, especially children.
Seeing story after story of young children giving up hope and taking their own lives because of bullying hit me close to home. I decided to try to use as much of my life experience, heart-soul and pour it into a cause. We started as just that, a "cause" on March 28th, 2019.
I used social media and my skills in digital art and visual story telling to bring awareness to the issues young people face. Also used social media to reach out to parents who had shared their stories of their children being bullied. To try to reach those families, so those children who were still suffering from those experiences, would not be forgotten and replaced with a story of tragedy.
We were granted our 501(c)3 award letter June 2019. Since then we have reached many families, schools, community centers and youth organizations across the country.
Our programs & campaigns are to give youth backing in using their voice, because theirs is a powerful one. They are our future after all. Also to provide supportive materials for parents, grandparents, teachers and many other caring people who work with youth.
I am from a disadvantaged family myself and have encountered many hardships beginning at a young age; including pre-teen homelessness, teenage parenthood, domestic violence, incarceration and mental health struggles. Now with a very supportive husband, adult children - who have overcome and achieved self-sufficiency - and grandchildren. After many years of cognitive behavioral therapy, I utilize my unique experience based perspective and a deep understanding of the paradox of challenges faced by youth and their families by holistically addressing the socio-economic undercurrents that lead to the many disparities and inequities that have been highlighted further since Covid-19.
My goal is to create generational, long lasting positive impacts to reduce discrimination, inequities and economic hardship. Reduce juvenile delinquency, recidivism, identity issues, self harm, suicide attempts and mental health stigma all while promoting integrity, compassion and unity and addressing the economic inequities that greatly exacerbate sociological and societal challenges.
Upcoming: CIT International Conference
Video Credit: Kool Katz Media