Nalani Founder and President Changes Course to Save Lives

Deeatra Kajfosz LiFE OF HOPE  Executive Director (former owner of Nalani Services)
Deeatra Kajfosz
LiFE OF HOPE
Executive Director
(former owner of Nalani Services)

This past January marked two significant anniversaries for me; the anniversary of launching Nalani Services (2006) and the anniversary of being given a second chance at LiFE (2001). I’ve had a few months to consider this message and how I would share my story. I hope I will do it justice.

As a dedicated business owner with a portfolio of successful marketing campaigns, sales strategies, and leadership relationships, I am writing this to share that I have held a closely guarded secret. One that I believed for nearly 14 years would collapse my career, should it ever be known. Then, in June of this past year, I lost a friend to suicide, leaving me with many questions and too few answers. You see, my friend attempted to end his life and died while I, in my own attempt so many years ago, had lived. It just didn’t seem fair or possible that he was gone. And, it didn’t seem right that during our time of knowing one another in business and as friends, that I had lied to him and was now faced with the fact that I couldn’t undo the lie. You see, in my pride, fear, and self-judgment, when he asked me about scars that still remain as proof of my near fatal attempt to end my life, I chose to tell him they were from an accident rather than face the negative stigma of suicide and mental illness. And so, I sat in the realization that while I had spent nine years building campaigns, sales teams, and relationships within the business sector, I had missed at least one chance to help build a LiFE out of the pain experienced by someone I counted among my friends. It was in that knowledge that I set out to understand the topic of suicide better, as both a survivor of an attempt and the loss of a friend.

With hours and hours spent pouring over the known risk factors, behaviors, available resources, and intervention options for suicide ideation, a path to hope and healing began to emerge. It started with and is founded in speaking my own truth for what it is; “I have clinical depression and am a suicide attempt survivor”.

Over the past eight months, what started as the loss of a friend has become an awakening to a new purpose in my LiFE. I am finding my voice and after sharing my personal story of hope and healing with hundreds of people at multiple public forums, I am embracing the many ways I have found to invest my time, talent, and resources. LiFE OF HOPE, a 501(c)3 nonprofit is the result. As a suicide awareness and prevention program, located in the heart of Washington County, LiFE OF HOPE is on course to introduce 4 LiFE-Saving initiatives and 4 Awareness-Building fundraisers, all dedicated to 1 mission: reduce the number of suicide attempts thereby leading to a natural reduction in the lives lost to suicide.

After a great deal of consideration and counsel, I have made a critical decision in my career and the future of Nalani Services. To ensure the successful implementation of the LiFE OF HOPE program and serve as a greater influence within the mental wellness and suicide prevention world, I am electing to dissolve Nalani. June of this year will be our last month in operation. I cannot put into words what the past 9 years have meant. From client and vendor relations to the members of the Nalani team, I have been blessed beyond measure. I sincerely appreciate every person and organization who has entrusted a portion of their career/organization’s path to Nalani. I am humbled. I am thank-FULL.

As a community leader, wife, mother, and suicide attempt survivor, I believe I am living proof that there is an upside to adversity. If we have any hope of understanding and deterring future deaths by suicide, we must begin talking about ways to prevent it. It is in our silence that we continue the cycle. It is my hope that others from within the community agree and will seek ways to get the conversation started. If you believe yourself or a loved one to be at risk of suicide, please speak up. There is no shame in asking for and getting help. Feel welcome to call me or refer my number to others. In time, I hope to see LiFE OF HOPE welcomed by other counties around our state and far beyond.

Like most nonprofit organizations, LiFE OF HOPE will exist through the generous contributions of organizations and people like you. If you would like to make a donation in support of the LiFE OF HOPE mission or volunteer your time, talent, and/or resources, please visit the website  or call me personally to share YOUR reason for HOPE. 

Again, thank you for your support of Nalani. I look forward to our paths crossing again sometime soon. Until then, I wish you a LiFE full of HOPE and happiness.

With sincerest regards,

Deeatra Kajfosz

 

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