School Programs

2011

fundraise for mental health awareness efforts through the JCK Legends Tournament

2014

receive 501c3 status while spreading John Kelly's story to high school and college campuses around the country

2016

fund grant at Brooklyn College that resulted in the Mental Health Literacy Project

2018

move from a speaking-focused to a program-focused organization

2019

pilot our suite of programs with a handful of high schools and colleges in the Tri-state area

2020

refine programming and expand reach to as many campuses as we can responsibly dedicate time to

Common Goals

Why Now?

Because we haven't found a sustainable model of confronting the constantly evolving stressors and self/social stigma around mental health in the high school to college pipeline...and 8 years after my best friend succumbed to his battle with OCD and depression, suicide is still the 2nd leading cause of death among young people. Here's two poignant perspectives from the team at PBS and researchers at Brooklyn College.

Watch the PBS story

Create a happy, helpful, hopeful culture around mental health and help seeking orientation among students on campus.

Organize accessible feedback channels for students, parents and educators to help paint a picture of mental health resources around their community.

Measure impact through mental health literacy modules and create touchpoints throughout the year to meet students at their passions.

There's 3 main components to our program, (1) an effort to map mental health resources on and off campus based on (2) results of a surveyed population on campus about mental health literacy and help-seeking orientation. Both these efforts help shape and pique interest for a (3) campus-wide program we call Stories, Strategies and Data from the Mental Health Movement.

35

Schools

6

Years on Campus

3,438

Students

Process is key

Building a Relationship

Most times a concerned student, parent or educator reaches out to us for help. Comforting, understanding and building a relationship with that individual or group is the most important thing we can do. All the work originates with passionate advocates.

The Working Group

Every high school and college has their own shared decision making process. Bringing stakeholders to the table, with a focus on student inclusion, ensures we have a team that's motivated to bring together data, stories and strategies that will impact their unique community.

Learn Together

This is the toughest part of the process but also where the JCK Foundation can provide the most help. Along with the working group, JCK infrastructure and specific tools, we can help you map out the mental health culture on your campus. Then provide the legwork to organize and collaborate with different resource pools. The more we can marry our message and community-specific knowledge, the tighter the fabric of the program becomes.

Program Offerings

Core Programs

Measuring Mental Health Literacy on Campus; Mapping Community Mental Health Resources; Stories, Strategies and Data from the Mental Health Movement

Future Programs

Starting the Conversation Upward; Storytelling in the Mental Health Movement; History of the Mental Health Movement; Steps to Building Consensus in the Community

Stepping on Campus

Each individual journey to mental wellness is unique, therefore each engagement on campus will look somewhat different. The more touchpoints we can create with the students, the better. However, many of John and Dr. Kelly's first talks were 90 minute presentations to any student, educator or parent that would come. The presentations were combinations of vulnerable storytelling and mental health education that touched a lot of lives. Now we can help create materials and forge partnerships to get students there and get other researchers and storytellers to help carry a message tailored to the community we're addressing.

Follow Through

This is where many programs stop short. It's tough to measure progress. It's also tough to create effective feedback channels between students, parents and educators to solidify that progress. On our end, we'll provide mental health literacy modules to begin tracking progress and work with educators and parents to present insights at Board of Ed. and PTA meetings. Most importantly, we'll step on campus multiple times a year to listen to student groups. This is our effort to meet students at their passions — life is going on whether we're struggling or not.

Over the last 6 months, we raised outside money to offset the costs to schools into 2020. We felt that moving from a primarily speaking-focused organization to a program-focused organization was always the right move but wanted to take any budget shortfalls out of the picture for schools that worked with us early on.

Budgets

We understand the challenges that budgets of time, energy and dollars create for all schools. We'll work with you to find ways to help. From incentivizing the working group and shared decision makers at each school to sponsoring events throughout the year for students, educators or parents who want to dive deeper into the conversation around mental wellness.

Delivery

It's no secret that a topic like mental health can shut people off and shut people out. Bonds formed while we're learning and mapping the culture on campus make all the difference. It allows us to tailor the delivery of our program to each community and organize break out sessions to narrow that focus down where needed. The story also matters — the more we can relate data, strategies and resources to human experience, we inch forward in the battle against stigma.

Unbalanced Approach

We'll never tell you that 1 day on campus is going to change the culture surrounding mental health at your school. It may get 1 more kid to embrace another day alive though, so we'll talk anywhere, anytime and in any capacity, as long as we're not doing a disservice to that community's students.

Embracing Life

As much as we're focused on educating others about the stigma surrounding mental health literacy and help seeking behavior, we're equally aware that embracing a lifelong roller coaster of psychological setbacks and triumphs is an inevitable step to mental wellness. Imparting the idea that we must balance our life and struggles each and every day is far more important than scoring high on a mental health literacy module.

Collaboration

The toughest part of the process is getting a working group that consists of all stakeholders to share their honest visions for what mental wellness looks like for their community. There is no cookie cutter model, but the more schools we touch down on and the more relationships we build in the mental health movement, the more strategies we can share. It starts with an honest assessment of what resources are available at different socioeconomic levels and ends with clear feedback channels between us, educators, students, parents and resource providers.

Some call them testimonials.

Video Collaboration with Active Minds

Providence College

"Perhaps the most wonderful thing was looking at the crowd after the presentation and seeing a long line of people waiting to talk to John. For them, they found someone to relate to, someone to reassure them, and someone to let them know everything would be okay.”

Rockhurst University

"He was so on our level yet so informed. You could feel how passionate about the topic he was and how much he cared. He made everyone feel so important and accepted, and I think his message really rang true.”

Southern CT State University

“I just wanted to thank you again for such an amazing talk. I don't think I've ever admired and respected someone so quickly even though I've only met you three hours ago. I can't thank you enough for doing what you do. It was so reassuring to hear someone express the same exact thoughts that I have had but never have had the courage to say out loud. I'm never going to forget this talk and most importantly I won't forget when you said, "Don't let the suffering define you. Let you define you."

Providence College

"A couple of weeks ago, I was ignited with the spark of inspiration. I had the honor of listening to John Tessitore share his and his good friend John’s story at Providence College, and I couldn’t feel more grateful. John Tessitore has such a beautiful grace, and was truly captivating through his confidence, eloquence, and undeniable humor. John’s story was not only touching to me, but also to everyone else in the room. His presence has made such a huge impact on my life, and has inspired me follow his lead and strive to “end the stigma.” Thank you, John, for sharing with us. You are an inspiration to all those you encounter, whether you know it or not!”

Elon University

"Please never lose your passion because I promise you that you are saving at least one life in every room you speak in. It may not be direct, but I bet it is more often than you could ever imagine. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing your story and showing what true strength really is.”

Yeshiva University

“So John, I know I only met you once but you, and your organization, really were the catalyst in everything in my life turning around. So I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything!I know John Kelly is looking down at you and the good that you have done, and is smiling. Keep up the good work!”

Providence College

"I attended the JCK event at Providence College expecting an emotional story, which would make me, feel thankful for my life and all its blessings. When I watched the documentary about John Kelly, I was not only touched I was also inspired by his determination and courage in facing his disease. The issue of mental health awareness is one that is not widely addressed in today’s society and it is people like John Kelly and John Tessitore who highlight the need to bring this discussion to the forefront of our minds. Mental illnesses are the silent struggle that can overtake one’s life in a away that it takes over someone’s."

How can you learn more?

Email John

start with a conversation, email [email protected] or [email protected]

Request Access

start with supporting documentation, request access to the Legends Programming Overview

You're not alone on the journey to change the culture around mental health.

An Evolving Mission

2011

fundraise for mental health awareness efforts through the JCK Legends Tournament

2014

receive 501c3 status while spreading John Kelly's story to high school and college campuses around the country

2016

fund grant at Brooklyn College that resulted in the Mental Health Literacy Project

2018

move from a speaking-focused to a program-focused organization

2019

pilot our suite of programs with a handful of high schools and colleges in the Tri-state area

2020

refine programming and expand reach to as many campuses as we can responsibly dedicate time to

Common Goals

Create a happy, helpful, hopeful culture around mental health and help seeking behavior among students on campus.

Organize accessible feedback channels for students, parents and educators to help paint a picture of mental health resources around their community.

Measure impact through mental health literacy modules and create touchpoints throughout the year to meet students at their passions.

Why Now?

Because we haven't found a sustainable model of confronting the constantly evolving stressors and stigma around mental health in the high school to college pipeline...and 8 years after my best friend succumbed to his battle with OCD, suicide is still the 2nd leading cause of death among young people. Here's two poignant perspectives from the team at PBS and researchers at Brooklyn College.

Watch the PBS storyContact Us

Overview

There's 3 main components to our program, (1) an effort to map mental health resources on and off campus based on (2) results of a surveyed population on campus about mental health literacy and help-seeking orientation. Both these efforts help shape and pique interest for a (3) campus-wide program we call Stories, Strategies and Data from the Mental Health Movement.

35 Schools

3,438 Students

6 Years on Campus

Process is key

Building a Relationship

Most times a concerned student, parent or educator reaches out to us for help. Comforting, understanding and building a relationship with that individual or group is the most important thing we can do. All the work originates with passionate advocates.

The Working Group

Every high school and college has their own shared decision making process. Bringing stakeholders to the table, with a focus on student inclusion, ensures we have a team that's motivated to bring together data, stories and strategies that will impact their unique community.

Learn Together

This is the toughest part of the process but also where the JCK Foundation can provide the most help. Along with the working group, JCK infrastructure and specific tools, we can help you map out the mental health culture on your campus. Then provide the legwork to organize and collaborate with different resource pools. The more we can marry our message and community-specific knowledge, the tighter the fabric of the program becomes.

Stepping on Campus

Each individual journey to mental wellness is unique, therefore each engagement on campus will look somewhat different. The more touchpoints we can create with the students, the better. However, many of John and Dr. Kelly's first talks were 90 minute presentations to any student, educator or parent that would come. The presentations were combinations of vulnerable storytelling and mental health education that touched a lot of lives. Now we can help create materials and forge partnerships to get students there and get other researchers and storytellers to help carry a message tailored to the community we're addressing.

Follow Through

This is where many programs stop short. It's tough to measure progress. It's also tough to create effective feedback channels between students, parents and educators to solidify that progress. On our end, we'll provide mental health literacy modules to begin tracking progress and work with educators and parents to present insights at Board of Ed. and PTA meetings. Most importantly, we'll step on campus multiple times a year to listen to student groups. This is our effort to meet students at their passions — life is going on whether we're struggling or not.

Core Programs

Measuring Mental Health Literacy on Campus; Mapping Community Mental Health Resources; Stories, Strategies and Data from the Mental Health Movement

Potential Programs (Spring '19)

Starting the Conversation Upward; Storytelling in the Mental Health Movement; History of the Mental Health Movement; Steps to Building Consensus in the Community

Contact Us

Common Roadblocks

Over the last 6 months, we raised outside money to offset the costs to schools into 2020. We felt that moving from a primarily speaking-focused organization to a program-focused organization was always the right move but wanted to take any budget shortfalls out of the picture for schools that worked with us early on.

Budgets

We understand the challenges that budgets of time, energy and dollars create for all schools. We'll work with you to find ways to help. From incentivizing the working group and shared decision makers at each school to sponsoring events throughout the year for students, educators or parents who want to dive deeper into the conversation around mental wellness.

Collaboration

The toughest part of the process is getting a working group that consists of all stakeholders to share their honest visions for what mental wellness looks like for their community. There is no cookie cutter model, but the more schools we touch down on and the more relationships we build in the mental health movement, the more strategies we can share. It starts with an honest assessment of what resources are available at different socioeconomic levels and ends with clear feedback channels between us, educators, students, parents and resource providers.

Delivery

It's no secret that a topic like mental health can shut people off and shut people out. Bonds formed while we're learning and mapping the culture on campus make all the difference. It allows us to tailor the delivery of our program to each community and organize break out sessions to narrow that focus down where needed. The story also matters — the more we can relate data, strategies and resources to human experience, we inch forward in the battle against stigma.

Embracing Life

As much as we're focused on educating others about the stigma surrounding mental health literacy and help seeking behavior, we're equally aware that embracing a lifelong roller coaster of psychological setbacks and triumphs is an inevitable step to mental wellness. Imparting the idea that we must balance our life and struggles each and every day is far more important than scoring high on a mental health literacy module.

Unbalanced Approach

We'll never tell you that 1 day on campus is going to change the culture surrounding mental health at your school. It may get 1 more kid to embrace another day alive though, so we'll talk anywhere, anytime and in any capacity, as long as we're not doing a disservice to that community's students.

Contact Us

Stories

Some call them testimonials.

Video Collaboration with Active Minds

Providence College

"Perhaps the most wonderful thing was looking at the crowd after the presentation and seeing a long line of people waiting to talk to John. For them, they found someone to relate to, someone to reassure them, and someone to let them know everything would be okay.”

Rockhurst University

"He was so on our level yet so informed. You could feel how passionate about the topic he was and how much he cared. He made everyone feel so important and accepted, and I think his message really rang true.”

Southern CT State University

“I just wanted to thank you again for such an amazing talk. I don't think I've ever admired and respected someone so quickly even though I've only met you three hours ago. I can't thank you enough for doing what you do. It was so reassuring to hear someone express the same exact thoughts that I have had but never have had the courage to say out loud. I'm never going to forget this talk and most importantly I won't forget when you said, "Don't let the suffering define you. Let you define you."

Providence College

"A couple of weeks ago, I was ignited with the spark of inspiration. I had the honor of listening to John Tessitore share his and his good friend John’s story at Providence College, and I couldn’t feel more grateful. John Tessitore has such a beautiful grace, and was truly captivating through his confidence, eloquence, and undeniable humor. John’s story was not only touching to me, but also to everyone else in the room. His presence has made such a huge impact on my life, and has inspired me follow his lead and strive to “end the stigma.” Thank you, John, for sharing with us. You are an inspiration to all those you encounter, whether you know it or not!”

Yeshiva University

“So John, I know I only met you once but you, and your organization, really were the catalyst in everything in my life turning around. So I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything!I know John Kelly is looking down at you and the good that you have done, and is smiling. Keep up the good work!”

Elon University

"Please never lose your passion because I promise you that you are saving at least one life in every room you speak in. It may not be direct, but I bet it is more often than you could ever imagine. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing your story and showing what true strength really is.”

Providence College

"I attended the JCK event at Providence College expecting an emotional story, which would make me, feel thankful for my life and all its blessings. When I watched the documentary about John Kelly, I was not only touched I was also inspired by his determination and courage in facing his disease. The issue of mental health awareness is one that is not widely addressed in today’s society and it is people like John Kelly and John Tessitore who highlight the need to bring this discussion to the forefront of our minds. Mental illnesses are the silent struggle that can overtake one’s life in a away that it takes over someone’s."

Contact Us

start with a conversation, email [email protected] or [email protected]

Email John

start with supporting documentation, request access to the Legends Programming Overview

Request Access

You're not alone on the journey to change the culture around mental health.