In Mikayla’s own words:
Ambassador Renewal Essay: By Mikayla Simanski
It is hard to imagine that I have already been an Ambassador for The Peyton Heart Project for one full year! Being a part of this organization and sharing the mission has taught me so much, helped me to grow as a person and to heal from my losses. This year has been both inspirational and rewarding. It has been so inspirational being able to spread positive messages and educate others about preventing suicide and bullying. It was rewarding to see the difference one person can make in a community. I was able to accomplish all that I did because of my amazing support system at home, school, and through The Peyton Heart Project. This past year I have: made and distributed thousands of hearts; created YouTube videos to explain the project to viewers; conducted presentations about the Peyton Heart Project and its mission to various different groups in New Jersey and Indiana; was interviewed for various anti-bullying projects where I spoke about the importance of The Peyton Heart Project and provided a presentation about The Peyton Heart Project to the “sole sisters” club at Voorhees High School, a club that encourages and uplifts girls. The largest single project I conducted was to organize a group of students and faculty members to assist me in distributing over 1,400 hearts at Voorhees High School on Valentine’s Day, which was shared throughout the community in newspapers and on the internet. Most recently, I was interviewed for dose.com ’s new morning show about my participation with The Peyton Hear Project. As I said earlier, all of this could not have been accomplished if I didn’t have the amazing support system that I do. I will always be thankful for the opportunity I had to serve as an Ambassador to The Peyton Heart Project and truly enjoyed helping to educate others on the importance of preventing suicide, bullying and ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues!
I want to continue to help spread the word and hope to continue to help others in need for a second year as an Ambassador for The Peyton Heart Project. I continue to believe that through education and giving others hope that the stigma associated with mental health issues can be diminished and we can help to prevent bullying and suicide. If accepted as an Ambassador, I promise to continue to promote the Peyton Heart Project and its message. During my second year, I would build off of the momentum I gained during my first year. I would like to continue to make my school more informed on this topic by working with my students’ assistance counselor and other staff. I would also like to partner with our sister High School and my previous middle school to find ways to integrate The Peyton Heart Project into those schools as well. I am also exploring ideas for hosting a fundraiser for The Peyton Heart Project to raise money and awareness for this wonderful organization. I will also continue to spread the word through my church and the community at large. The Peyton Heart Projects’ message is inspiring and I know my continued involvement can help others and through helping others, can further assist me with my healing process.
Peyton Heart Project Ambassador Essay: By Mikayla Simanski
By way of introduction, my name is Mikayla Simanski. I am 16 years old and will be a junior in high school this year. I live in a small town in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
I first heard about your organization after a friend of mine ended his own life in November of 2015. A few of the special hearts floated around the area and I saw lots of people posting pictures of them. I found them helpful during a very difficult time.
Earlier this year, on March 17th to be exact, I got the worst news of my entire life. I found out that my father ended his own life. No one in my family expected this to ever happen and we are just left to pick up the broken pieces that he left behind. That has not been the easiest task, but with the help of my family, friends, school, and entire community being so supportive it has been a lot easier lately. Since so many people were so supportive to me, I would love to be able to give back. I researched various organizations and believe your organization and I are a perfect match.
Sadly, bullying is all over the place. I personally have never been bullied. A few of my close friends have been bullied and I have seen how it affects people in a negative way. I see how quickly bullying can totally destroy someone’s self-image, confidence, and way of living. I believe bullying should not be tolerated at all and that education on the subject helps stop it. I hope that with the Peyton Heart Project I can help bring awareness in my community that bullying is not okay, that it’s harmful and cannot be tolerated.
Self-harm is another topic that I personally have not gone through but have seen it affect some of my close friends. It is so sad to see someone I care about so much struggle with self-harm. I believe that being supportive, letting people know they are loved and that there is help available allows those who are involved in self-harm overcome it.
Suicide has touched me personally two times within this past year. As I previously stated, my friend ended his own life in November, and that really was the first time I had to go through suicide personally. Only a few months later, in March, my dad ended his own life. Not only was I devastated, but I was also in complete shock. I never thought or imagined that he would end his life. Because of my personal life experiences with suicide, raising awareness about suicide prevention is very close to my heart and I will do everything in my power to spread that message through the Peyton Heart Project.
Unfortunately, mental health issues have a negative stigma in our society today and because of that, so many people go without help/treatment. Many people just joke about mental health issues or make fun or those who have them. Both family members and friends of mine have struggled with mental health issues, like depression and I know it’s a very serious thing. We need to do more to educate people about mental health and get those in need the treatment they deserve.
A few weeks ago I introduced my aunt to the Peyton Heart Project and within an hour we were already teaching ourselves how to crochet these beautiful little hearts and since then, I have not been able to stop. After every heart I crochet, I get more excited about the Peyton heart project and the message behind it and that’s why I decided to reach out to you.
The Peyton Heart Project means so much to me personally, because it raises awareness about suicide prevention and anti-bullying. I want to help spread the word and hope to help others in need. I hear so often people joke around and say “Oh, I’m going to kill myself!” not even realizing what they are saying.
I have witnessed bullying and see the harm it causes. I want to be part of the solution and help others realize that joking about suicide and bullying should not be tolerated. I believe that through education and giving others hope that the stigma associated with mental health issues can be diminished and we can help prevent bullying and suicide.
I promise to promote the Peyton Heart Project and its message. I can spread the word through my school, my church and the community at large. I would like to create a group/club at my school, Voorhees High School, to bring awareness to the prevention of bullying and suicide and to assist with creating/distributing the hearts/message in my community. The Peyton Heart Project’s message is inspiring and I know my involvement can help others and through helping others, can assist me with my healing process.