During the week of March 21 – 25, the internal Nashville IDR team enjoyed a change of pace and wore jeans around the office. Why is that noteworthy? Because their motivation was for more than just comfort or leisure, but for a cause: rallying behind The Jason Foundation and raising awareness about youth suicide.
The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is a 501 (c)(3) dedicated to the prevention of the “silent epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators, youth workers, and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth. The fact is, suicide is the leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24.
Ali Kissinger, Nashville Branch Coordinator for IDR, discovered JFI through IDR’s Anna Burton and saw a way IDR could make a difference. The cause was very personal, as Ali’s life had been impacted by suicide previously. At a young age, she lost her best friend to the “silent epidemic”. After disclosing her experiences to the team, everyone in the office connected over this hardship and decided to take a stand! There was no hesitation – only enthusiasm. So, they decide to break out their jeans for a cause.
You may be asking yourself, “Why jeans? How does that make a difference?” Well, in an office like ours, jeans are not part of the “typical” or “traditional” work attire. One of the big initiatives for the Jason Foundation is called, “Jeans 4 Jason”. Participants are encouraged to wear jeans and in return they contribute a $5 donation/per wear to the foundation. So far, Nashville has raised over $300 – just from wearing jeans!
Plus, when our team members were on-site with Clients, they were quick to mention and excuse their jeans. The Jason Foundation goes as far as providing and equipping team members with collateral pieces that further explain the whole purpose! Marketing materials included stickers for team members to wear, wall flyers, trifold brochures, user guides, and door signs that read, “Please don’t mind our jeans. We’re raising funds and awareness to help The Jason Foundation, Inc. combat the ‘silent epidemic’ of youth suicide”. This is one sure way to spark an organic conversation.
To our surprise, many of the interactions led to other companies and individuals joining the cause. This simple and collaborative initiative gained plenty of momentum, all in favor of a great cause.
IDR’s Nashville office had so much fun and success, that the Atlanta and Dallas branches decided to follow suit, participating in the fundraising during the week of April 4-8.
Leigh Harris spoke on the matter, explaining that she felt more productive at work while wearing her jeans and all the while, found her denim to be a daily reminder of the hardships others may be facing. “This week has been humbling and the jeans have been a reminder to keep those at-risk youths in my heart and my mind. I am beyond grateful to work for a company that allows the strength of our culture to shine through for non-traditional occasions,” Harris said.
The IDR teams stands united against this tragic epidemic – raising awareness and funds for educational programs and treatment unique to suicide. We thank the Jason Foundation for letting us participate and stand with them on behalf of those whom we have lost and those who are suffering.
For more information, please visit http://jasonfoundation.com/.