May is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we've partnered with the JCK Foundation. Our juices will feature green caps to represent the color of mental health awareness. Our juices will also include the story about the JCK Foundation! This month, we're donating a portion of our sales to the JCK Foundation. The JCK Foundation was founded in honor of John Cleaver Kelly and works towards increasing mental health awareness and outreach through school programs, community events and a mental health clinic in Uganda. We interviewed John Tessitore, the founder of JCK Foundation, to learn more about the foundation, its history, programs and where they are headed!
Who is John Kelly?
John Kelly is truly a legend. John was the most selfless person many of us had the pleasure of knowing. Whether it was his friends, a stranger, someone he volunteered with, or someone who just looked lonely and needed a helping hand, John was there with a warm smile and a willing ear. He had a passion for people, and would stop at nothing to help someone. He really had a heart of gold and in his college essay he stated he "wanted to change the way the world viewed OCD." John was also an explorer. He loved to travel and he loved to learn about other people and immerse himself in their cultures. The experiences he spent traveling helped deeply with his own OCD.
What is the JCK Foundation and what makes it so special?
In honor of John Cleaver Kelly, who lost his battle with OCD and depression in 2011, we aim to empower younger generations to authentically address mental health culture in their communities. You’re Not Alone in your search for hope. We do this through mental health prevention and culture programs at high schools, colleges and corporations. We also do this through community events that spread John's values of companionship and acceptance, and we also have other initiatives like our Podcast, the Mental Health Literacy Project and the JCK Clinic in Uganda.
What makes the JCK Foundation so special is the dedication to John's values and the love our community has for what we do. Everything we do it seems like we have 100 percent support of our community and they want to be a part of it. That’s a special feeling. Also, the fact that we always put John’s legacy first and foremost is a distinct factor of the foundation. We really do put everything we have into making sure this Foundation can impact as many people as possible for a very long time. This Foundation is truly filled with pure love and passion.
Our unique approach to programming, and willingness to try to tackle mental health from a wholistic approach and as a social justice movement makes the Foundation a lot of fun!
What has it been like growing such an awesome foundation?
Growing this Foundation has been pretty indescribable to see, it’s something I’m so grateful for. It all started at the JCK Legends Softball Tournament in in July of 2011. We all dressed up in our old Little League uniforms and stopped whatever we were doing in life to play for John and his family. On that day, we slowly began to heal through each other. Those values of community healing hold stronger than ever today. When I think back from that July day to now, it makes me so happy, and honestly kind of blows my mind. We've worked so hard to use John's legacy to make people's lives better. The way the community has responded, and the different people I've met along this journey are some of the most precious gifts imaginable.
Where do you see the JCK Foundation in 5 years?
Five years down the road, we see the JCK Foundation as providing a permanent layer of full support to address mental health culture on high school and college campuses with the ability to measure impact into the future. It starts with small steps, but the harder we work now, and the more relationships we build, the more we can permanently integrate ourselves into changing a culture and pushing the mental health movement forward. We want to live in a world where students feel empowered, loved, and excited to take on the ups and downs of this life. We want JCK's values of companionship and acceptance to really ring across the country, and hopefully the world.
At Living Juice, we strive to provide the healthiest organic, cold-pressed juices. Why is physical health so important to mental health?
Physical health is SO important to mental health. The more you take care of the body, the more you take care of the mind! I typically need to go to the gym everyday in order to free my mind. When I get the rush of endorphins, I feel like I can take on any mental challenge with more confidence! When you create healthy habits and put healthy food and drink into your body, it creates confidence and allows the mind to work to its fullest potential. When you neglect your physical health, you tend to neglect your mental health! Take care of your body and mind!!
How can we get involved with the work the JCK Foundation is doing?
There are so many ways you can get involved at the JCK Foundation! Right now, we are in the midst of the "Kelly's Heroes" initiative which is a series of 15 community events with the goal of spreading John Kelly's values of companionship and acceptance to as many people as possible. We are actually looking for 6 more hosts! A host can be as simple as running a 5K to benefit the foundation or as complicated as hosting a wine and cheese event at your house! We want you to do whatever you are comfortable with. Other than the Kelly's Heroes initiative, we are huge advocates of meeting volunteers at their passions. We want to find the perfect fit of what helps the Foundation and what you're good at and makes you happy! All you need to do is reach out to email@example.com and I guarantee we can find something for you!