So, we turned 2 today. It's crazy to think NVSN is where it is within such a short period of time, but life right? What started as a tiny dream to make a cool T-shirt has turned into an organization that encourages openness, vulnerability, support and mental health education. Oh and we have hoodies now too, which is pretty cool (well, warm but nvm). So, as the title so creatively puts it, an NVSN summary:
It is my firm belief that no matter how you measure success, it's likelihood of achievement is heavily dependent on the people you surround yourself with. I am extremely grateful for the numerous people I've had the opportunity of meeting and working with over the past two years. New friendships, rekindled old friendships and strengthened existing friendships were all a result of like minded people working towards a common goal - Equality.
NVSN was founded with a single purpose, eliminating the stigma associated with Mental Illness. It was inspired by my personal history with mental illness, the story of a young adult who suffered in silence for over ten years, and the realization that hundreds of thousands of youth around Canada experience mental health related problems each and every day. Some need an outlet, some need direction on where to find help, and some just need a reminder that they're not alone -- I wanted NVSN to be the hub for all of those needs.
We started with the NVSN Journal, where users can submit journal entries, enjoy the freedom and flexibility of blogging with their own style of writing and remain anonymous should they choose. To my pleasant surprise, we've had over 20 brave souls share their story via the NVSN journal. Writing has often been prescribed as an outlet/coping method and it's one that I still use on a weekly basis. The journal was created to have one common place where we can all come together, write together and be heard together. Everyone deserves to be listened to, and this public platform gives everyone that opportunity.
As connections continued to grow online through our blog, journal and social media pages, we realized that we needed to do more. We decided to bring our efforts to the community and host mental health related events. These events helped raise over $700 for our partner charitable organization, The CMHA. These events were home to inspiring conversations, amazing live performances by amateur artists, art displays, among many other things. We are switching gears and working hard to host our next style of event in January - we really hope to see you there :).
With new clothing releases, blog posts, events and everything in between set to be introduced as early as late November, I'm very excited for what the future of NVSN holds. We're growing and that's all thanks to you. The readers, the writers, the supporters, the volunteers, the ambassadors. NVSN only exists because of you, so thank you, thank you, thank you.
You're probably not wondering, but I'm going to tell you anyways. I left the University of Waterloo with an Accounting degree in 2014. I worked in the field for two years until I realized I wanted more. I completed a 10 week course in Web Design at Brainstation and went on to take a 3 month marketing internship with a cool new startup. I left that to start NVSN and I worked in a warehouse for about 6 months to be able to afford this new project. After that, I ended up leaving my entire life behind and moving to Vancouver only to discover I was just running away from myself. I came back to Toronto 3 months later and finally realized where I needed to be, what I needed to be, why I needed to be. I found my why. I found my purpose. I found my purpose and I ran with it.
As cliche as it sounds, life happens. And sometimes life really freaking happens. It used to bother me, well it still does, but it's life. Things happen and that's okay. It's okay to have a bad day or week or month. It's okay to be off. It's okay to ask for support. It's okay to say no sometimes and it's even okay to say yes sometimes. It's okay to make risky decisions and change your mind if you have to. What I'm trying to say is that it's okay to not be perfect. I never imagined this life, especially not after the way it started, but here we are. I bet on myself, and I'd sure as hell bet on you too. Give it a try.
'til next time,