About the JD Foundation and William Jody Day
How A Mother Turned Grief Into Action - A Personal Message
After the loss of my son, William Jody Day aka Joe, I knew I had to do something to help lower suicide statistics. I also found out that there were actual warning signs and things we can do to prevent suicide. Hindsight!!!
On November 18th, 2005 my life changed forever. I received a call that my son had taken his life. Even after almost 12 years, this is still very difficult to write and believe. It is a feeling that you know to be true, but is too painful to allow it is be.
On January 20th, 2006, I had a get together at Joe's graveside with family and friends. I think there were about 50-60 people there. We honored Joe, but also talked of the fact that I had received the letter from the coroner that showed Joe had alcohol and trace amounts of cocaine in his system. I knew it! Joe would not of died if he had not had drugs and alcohol in his system. He would not have followed through.
Joe was a prime example of someone who might be suicidal with many warning signs. The problem was that we were uneducated and did not realize it. Although I will say that when Joe had issues I did take him to doctors and therapists along the way in his life. Joe was diagnosed with Dysthymia (low grade depression) at the age of 10. His father and I had divorced and it was very very difficult on him.
In May of 2006 I with my family put together a fundraiser at the town hall where I grew up. It would be for suicide prevention but also to honor my son. We had over 125 people there and raised $1100.00 and gave to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I started taking workshops and researching everything I could to try to understand WHY! And with the help of my loving husband and many family members The JD Foundation was born. We became a non-profit organization on October 8th, 2008.
From the beginning I went to every Grange, Lyons Club, Kiwanis Club, and anywhere else to tell my story. I would go to anyone who would listen. Then I became a Trainer of Trainers and started teaching suicide prevention and awareness in any setting that would allow me to come and teach. My goal was to have every lay person, every professional person recognize the warning signs which I didn't have to save my son.
Today we have several programs. We work with students and have taught over 1000 students, suicide prevention, anti bullying and kindness. We have taught over 65 suicide awareness workshops to adults. We have given over 60 prayer shawls to people who have lost a loved one with resources so they know where to get help. I am a TIR/LSR facilitator so I give sessions to those who need it.
Our biggest program has been our Connecting with Nature program and we have done over 250 events since the beginning. This program was designed to get people out, to move their bodies, to help them heal through the natural elements that nature offers. It was designed to get people eventually to start there own groups of hiking, kayaking, snow shoeing etc and that is exactly what it has done.
I also developed a program for Veteran families and caregivers so they understand the warning signs and know what to do to help. I have delivered 8 of these programs. We have had retreats for women and we are starting bereavement groups and support groups for Vets this fall.