Dare 2 Hope, the nonprofit organization breaking mental health stigmas among Philly youth
The organization has connected with approximately 5,000 young people across the city since starting in 2013.
In 2013, Sarah-Ashley Andrews’ friend died by suicide.
The tragedy of having to lose a loved one to something that carries such a heavy stigma in the Black community is the reason why Andrews changed her major from mass communications and went on to receive a master’s degree in counseling.
At that moment, Andrews believed that educating people on how to detect suicide warnings among their loved ones and how to have the conversation on suicide and mental health is something that would benefit Philly locals.
“I kept telling myself, I know that this happened for a reason, and so the organization started from that,” Sarah-Ashley Andrews, founder of Dare 2 Hope said in a recent interview with AL DIA News.
Andrews wanted to create a platform to help educate people about mental health and depression.
“We go to schools and do a whole presentation for students, we have to have a space to discuss something so important,” she said.
Andrews and a team of four to five volunteer licensed therapists and masters-level clinicians use their expertise to provide students with the proper tools they need to become ‘mentally wealthy.’
Dare 2 Hope’s six-week intensive program starts off with a project that shows children who they are, and helps them with confidence building. Andrews also discusses breaking the stigma of mental illness while promoting living mentally well.
Other important topics Andrews covers are anger management, self-control, and coping skills.
The presentation begins with how to spot the signs of suicide, how to have the conversations with someone who is contemplating suicide, and how to ensure friends and family that there is a reason for living.
Despite the closing of various schools in Philadelphia, Andrews is still taking the time to visit schools that are open in the area. She is also offering Zoom presentations to schools that are not open yet. These presentations usually last an hour.
“We did create an online program that is called Safe Saturdays, so the same curriculum that we used to teach before the pandemic is now being offered on Saturdays virtually,” said Andrews.
She has connected with over 5,000 youth since the start of her organization in 2013.
Along with her suicide prevention programs for youth, Andrews also takes the time to give back to her community by feeding the less fortunate.
“We feed the homeless and do random acts of kindness throughout the city,” she said. “So far, we have fed over 3,000 people who are experiencing homelessness.”
The Strawberry Mansion native is continuing her non-profit organization by ensuring the Black community that having open discussions about mental health, and checking in with each other is nothing to be ashamed of.
“We all have to look out for each other,” she said.
For more information on Dare 2 Hope, check out its website.