Dave Earhart – When my family and I were in a time of need, LiFE OF HOPE was there for us. I want to ensure that the LiFE-saving mission moves forward, strengthens in Washington County, and expands throughout Wisconsin and eventually nationally. LiFE OF HOPE is here to provide services for ANYONE that finds themselves affected by the topic of suicide. The staff and volunteers are caring and welcoming. In fact, my personal favorite aspect of LOH is by far the people involved! The fashion in which guests are treated is with love, respect, validation, and understanding. The personal connections that have been made to help in this journey have been invaluable to me, my family, and a growing number of so many others. I serve to ensure we are here for you too.
Board VICE PRESIDENT
Ashley Brown – Life isn’t easy; in fact sometimes it’s down right difficult. I want people to have a place to go where they can just talk to someone free of judgement and feel welcomed if they are challenged by the topic of suicide. I love that we’re all just ‘real’ people. We aren’t mental health professionals. We’re simply caring leaders, most of whom have battled through their own experiences and want to help others through theirs.
Amanda Heisdorf – I believe the issue of suicide is a major mental health problem in America that the current Healthcare System is not addressing. It is time that we take this into our own hands and help to serve a growing population of people that need help. LOH may have started in Washington County Wisconsin, but there is no reason we can’t grow to serve our State and one day Nation. In one word, LOH is “passion”. From our fearless leader and dedicated staff, down to the volunteers who make the magic happen behind the scenes, LOH is built on a family of people who are passionate about serving the community. I want MORE people to know OF LOH; we exist, we are free for you and your loved ones, and there is no shame in asking for help. Everything done at LOH is to improve and save lives.
Teresa Mottet – I serve the LOH mission because suicide has effected almost everyone I know on some level. My favorite aspect of LOH is that this organization feels and operates like a family. It does not matter if you are an employee, volunteer, or guest, we are all in this together. It’s a place full of people that want to help, and will go out of their way to help you no matter what your circumstances are.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Alex Etzel (BOD Membership Chair) – I was drawn to serve LiFE OF HOPE’s mission due to the loss of a very dear friend. While suicide and mental illness were topics I had studied in college, I never thought of it outside of an educational setting until his passing. Even though it has been over a decade, I am still profoundly affected by the loss and want to do anything in my power to help others who may be struggling. LOH is a family – from our guests all the way to our Board of Directors – every LiFE is valued in a way you don’t see often enough. LOH consists of the most welcoming, understanding, warm group of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Please, do not feel alone in your journey; we have an organization of people who want to help in any way they can. Many of whom have been affected by the topic of suicide on some level.
Bill Weston – I don’t have a personal story that connects me to LOH but I have observed Deeatra and LiFE OF HOPE since it started and have been very impressed with the mission. I believe LOH serves a very important function for our community. I find personal satisfaction knowing that our organization is making a real difference in our community. WE ARE HERE TO HELP! Not enough people know we exist and I’m doing my part to build awareness. It’s getting better but we still have work to do. Our programs help so many, filling gaps between survived attempts and measurable levels of healing (physically and mentally). We are here to prevent suicides form every angle possible and reduce the emotional and financial impact on our community.
Brenda Vetter – I serve the LiFE OF HOPE mission because after losing my 16 year old son to suicide, I don’t want any family to go through what we have gone through and continue to struggle with. I want everyone to know that LiFE OF HOPE can help you and your family and friends…no matter where you are on your journey.
Jackie Boesen – Having several experiences with suicide in my life… I’m striving to do my part to help prevent one more child, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, family member from losing their life to suicide. For those new to LiFE OF HOPE, I want them to know that we tailor to the needs of our guests with privacy and compassion. We serve our community as we would serve our closest of friends and family. We care about LiFE; your LiFE.
Lara Behrendt – I serve the mission of LiFE OF HOPE because the topic of suicide got to me. I never thought it would, but it did. My friend and boss inspired me to help others and this is how I choose to support my community. I enjoy the personal connections I’ve made through committees, meeting so many new people who share a similar passion at our events, and my fellow Board members. The office team is fantastic too! I’m proud to share the LiFE OF HOPE mission with others and want everyone to know that LOH is a welcoming environment for support, learning, and change – all free of judgement.
Laurie Perry – I believe that making mental health and related issues talkable topics is important. I really believe that talking about these situations openly and honestly will help us all know that we are not alone and make it easier to get help and move forward. I personally want to bring more information to the general public to help eliminate the stigma of having a mental illness, so that more people will reach out for help without fear of being judged. I love that LOH can be a light in anyone’s life. The bright colors which represent LiFE OF HOPE, give a level of comfort and hope in a subtle way. The office is very welcoming and the staff and volunteers are passionate about their mission. There are so many resources that can be provided by just contacting the office. I’ve faced the challenge of trying to help a loved one through suicidal thoughts but didn’t know all of the options available. I was left with frustration and uncomfortable phone calls to the wrong places. Now, with LOH, our community has a safe place to call or stop in to get support, resources, and a better understanding of options.
Lily Mottet (Youth Representative) – The LiFE OF HOPE mission is relevant to my life as a teenager. Too often suicide ideation is not addressed among teens or it is brushed off as teenage angst. Through LiFE OF HOPE we can spread our message to various types of demographics and provide help to those who need it – no matter their age. To truly appreciate LOH, you have to experience it yourself. The whole office team, board, and many of our dedicated volunteers feel like family and the supporters in the community are a big part of what keeps our mission (and so many lives) alive. I want everyone to know that LiFE OF HOPE exists to help people. Our mission and those who carry out that mission are so determined to do good and make this community more loving, understanding, and accepting.
Michelle Anderson – I serve the LiFE OF HOPE mission because being a voice and community advocate for this organization is critical to saving lives and supporting those who have lost a loved one to suicide. LOH reaches into our community to support those whose suffering may not be easily recognized – people and families affected by suicide or thoughts of suicide. My favorite aspect of LOH is the diverse, passionate workers and volunteers who have a drive to spread the mission. It’s a safe place to receive HOPE, comfort, and resources for all who have experienced LiFE challenges and loss, regardless of age, race, or gender.
NOTE: Our Board of Directors is seeking male, respected leaders of influence to serve in a “Members at Large” role. To learn how you can SAVE-A-LiFE through Board Member service, contact Alex Etzel via email.
Founder + Executive Director (non-voting member of the Board)
Deeatra Kajfosz – LiFE OF HOPE started as nothing more than and idea. After having experienced suicide ideation and survived attempt myself, watching one of my children walk a similar path, and then losing a friend to this silent killer, I believed there had to be a better way. I simply wanted to offer a solution to help others know they are not alone and make the journey toward HOPE and healing easier. What has grown out of my initial quest to better understand the topic of suicide has turned into a growing movement. LiFE OF HOPE is proof that “connection” and “HOPE” are the keys to “prevention” and “LiFE. And, we’ve only just begun! With continued and increased financial support from individuals, businesses, churches, professional groups, and foundations, we will continue to save lives. As I often say, “LiFE OF HOPE is national. The rest of the country just doesn’t know it yet.” Join our movement and SAVE-A-LiFE!