This challenge starts on Feb 21, 2016. You can sign up now and you can sign up any time after that.
Charles Aubrey Rogers died by suicide June 5, 2015. He was 20 years old and suffered from depression, anxiety and ultimately addiction.
He was a creative genius and one of the funniest and most popular kids in high school. Yet he died by suicide which shows us that what you see on the outside can be covering up a storm of emotions on the inside. If there was one consistent theme about Charles, it was that he always reached out to kids who were invisible to others.
He taught everyone around him, kids, teens and adults, what it meant to let another human being know they mattered. As talented and funny as he was, this was his greatest gift. This program is created in his memory.
What is the #umatterchallenge?
It’s a social-media based teen/young adult program using Instagram and focused on empowering teens to inspire change as it relates to mental illness acceptance and suicide prevention.
Too many are suffering in silence, afraid to speak up and ask for help due to the stigma of mental illness which is a genetic disease of the brain. This challenge is meant promote belongingness and connectivity and to erase that stigma of mental illness. Because if the young people decide to erase it, it will be gone in less than a year. I am empowering teens and young adults. Think about it? Why are we all texting? That started with teens. Why are we all recycling? It started with kids in school coming home and “guilting” parents into it.
Technology has “silo-ed” us from creating the bonds that are so important to human beings. As many as 30% of kids in a given school go an entire week without anyone ever saying hello to them.
Isolation and lack of connection is one of the reasons people take their lives. That’s something we can do something about right now.
Sign up at umatterchallenge.com
Sign up by texting the word ezcharles to 313-131 or use the form below
How does it work?
- Sign up, at umatterchallenge.com fill in email address and first name. Or sign up on this page. This is a program through Beacon Tree Foundation.
2. For 14 days following the sign up (after the launch on Feb 21), you will get daily reminders by email. 14 days to form a new habit. You can sign up after that and your personal 14-day journey starts the day you sign up.
3. Do something special for someone you know or don’t know. It can be inviting someone to your lunch table, helping someone load groceries into a car. Different person each day. One day for you during that 14 days.
4. Upload a picture that represents that deed onto Instagram and tag it #umatterchallenge and caption it with a story. It can be one sentence or a paragraph. For examples, search #umatterchallenge hash tag on instagram. (Make sure you enable sharing to your twitter and facebook accounts if you have them.)
5. On day 14, you do a video, a selfie or a group video, describing how it made you feel. Your experience. Your journey.
This is a pay-it-forward concept. It doesn’t matter if no one ever #umatterchallenges you. This is about getting outside your own head and connecting and reaching out to others. Upload the video to Instagram, tag it with #umatterchallenge.
- While designed for and by teenagers and young adults, we’d love to have adults support the effort. Good for individuals, clubs, sororities, fraternities and other group projects
- At this time, this is available in English only
#umatterchallenge text guidelines
- Sign up for daily email reminders for 14 days
- Take a photo to represent what you did to show another person they mattered. In person gestures are best
- Example: Ask someone new to have lunch with you at school. Basically it’s an act of kindness that touches another human being
- Post to Instagram, caption it w/ your story, tag it #umatterchallenge
- Do one a day for 14 days
- Do one for you in that time frame
- A different person every day: friend, family member, someone you don’t know
- Don’t go for ‘easy.’ Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Be creative but not risky
- Check out the creative ways others using the challenge by searching the tag, #umatterchallenge
- On day 14: Do a video–a selfie interview, video interview of friends about your experience and challenge a friend. “I nominate _____ for the #umatterchallenge to wipe out the stigma of mental illness”
How you can run this for your school?
- We are making “kits” for schools and or college clubs. A teen/young adult takes ownership of the program, orders the kit with an adult sponsor. Instructions and templates are included. We are currently developing this kit. A school counselor has to be on the team.
- Donor money from Beacon Tree Foundation pays for the kit contents
- Want to try it? Sign up here: umatterchallenge.com This program is through the Charles Aubrey Rogers Fund at Beacon Tree Foundation, advocates for youth mental health. (Beacon Tree is in Richmond, VA)
- Contact me if you are a teen/young adult and want to run this for your school
It’s about promoting connectivity and belongingness and therefore preventing suicide and raising acceptance of mental illness and differences. No lectures. Only stories.