About the AMAZING Campaign
How it began and why it still exists
In March of 2017, Jenna wasn’t doing great. April 13th was coming up too quickly — the date would mark the 22nd birthday of her best friend, Kennedy, and her third birthday up in Heaven. Instead of being able to make cupcakes for her and watch her blow out the candles while Jenna off-key sung Happy Birthday, she would be here and Kennedy would be there.
The idea was off-putting. Jenna needed a way to distract herself, but a way that honored Kennedy — her kindness, the joy she spread, and her very bright soul. She couldn’t really think of much… until the next day, when a close friend of hers messaged her and said that for a moment, she forgot how amazing she was but then she looked in the mirror and remembered.
AMAZING. The word stuck with Jenna. There had been plenty of days where she didn’t feel that way, where she felt worthless and like she didn’t deserve all that was before her. And she thought about how much she hated that feeling, and how it hurts people too much to feel like that.
So, within 24 hours of that thought process, The AMAZING Campaign was born. Jenna and Jackie collaborated and launched a fundraiser featuring apparel that says AMAZING backwards so that when you look in the mirror, you can actually see how AMAZING you are. Because sometimes just hearing it a thousand times doesn’t ring a bell. You have to believe it for yourself.
In memory of Kennedy, the pair donated all proceeds to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). They thought that the campaign would be a few days long and then would end. But they were SO WRONG. Two months later, they had sold over 400 shirts and raised over $3,500 for the AFSP. And throughout it all, they heard stories from other people that were suffering from depression like they were, and how much this campaign spoke to them. It stopped being just a fundraiser, just a shirt, and it turned into a conversation. It opened the dialogue on mental illness and really made Jenna and Jackie think more about why we hide our mental illnesses from other people. You tell people when you have a physical disease, so what’s the difference here?
What we have learned the most from this campaign is that we don’t have to suffer in silence — we don’t need to be alone. There are people out there, people that you maybe didn’t even know, that are silently suffering along with you — but we shouldn’t feel like we have to be silent. We’re stronger together.
So, even when your days are hard, and even when you wake up and feel like you just can’t do it anymore — that’s okay. Just hang on for the day, because you’re AMAZING. The sun will shine again tomorrow if today it was not. The Earth will keep spinning, the ground will still be here. So stay here with us and keep being AMAZING.
The road to 501(c)(3) status
Jenna studied chemistry in college and Jackie studied English. Neither of them had a clue how to pursue any of the legal things related to making The AMAZING Campaign an official 501(c)(3) non-profit. Finally, when Jenna had some extra time in early 2020, she started reading up online and was eventually able to file for incorporation status for The AMAZING Campaign in Massachusetts, making it easier for her to file for 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS. The process was difficult, but beyond worth it when we found out that we were approved in June of 2020. We're excited to see how we can expand our organization!
What we did and hope to do
When we started the campaign, it was designed to be a fundraiser for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We felt that this was the best way to use the funds that we collected through sales of our AMAZING apparel as we have never pocketed the money. As the campaign expanded and our store expanded, we started donating to other organizations including The Trevor Project and Samaritans Inc. of Massachusetts. We also have a social media presence where we can share news, resources, hotlines, and other helpful information.
We are reassessing our hopes and dreams for the campaign now that we have achieved 501(c)(3) status. We plan to continue making donations to organizations in need in addition to forming a scholarship fund in memory of Kennedy. We continue to develop our campaign with our motto in mind: There will always be someone who can't see your worth. Don't let it be you. We let this statement guide us because we truly believe that everyone should know that they matter.