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Service Spotlight: Josh’s Benches for Awareness

Welcome back to The Smile Project blog and today’s Service Spotlight. This week, I sat down with Cindy Nadelbach, the Founder of Josh’s Benches for Awareness.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the interview:

Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a “Happiness is.”

Cindy: Happiness is.. being the founder of Josh’s Benches for Awareness.

Liz: Tell me about your organization.

Cindy: Our organization is a 501c3 non-profit for Suicide Prevention and Awareness, designed to educate organizations and individuals from a young age through adulthood about suicide prevention and awareness. We work to spread important resources in a visible manner by building yellow benches and placing them in public spaces and schools.

Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?

Cindy: After losing our 21-year-old son Joshua on May 22, 2018, we realized we cannot bring him back, but wanted to make sure no one else would go through such a tragic loss. There are thousands of people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues and we want to stamp out the stigma of mental health and lower the suicide rates nationwide.

Liz: What does service mean to you?

Cindy: Service means helping others from our heart.

Liz: How can people get involved in what you are doing?

Cindy: People can get involved by sharing our Facebook page and our website Josh's Benches for Awareness. In order for our organization to meet its mission, we need grants and donations to have our bright yellow benches made and placed in schools, parks, and all public areas. If you would like to sponsor a bench, please go to our website. An individual took it upon herself to put up a Go Fund Me, and you can donate on that site as well!

Liz: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Cindy: Josh's Benches for Awareness Corporation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness on mental health issues and promoting suitable resources to remove the negative stigma surrounding the receiving of help. We participate in assemblies and speaker events to try and spread valuable information that will hopefully one day be incorporated into student curriculum.

The benches that we build and install serve as physical symbols that represent our talks, any local campaign or movement surrounding mental health, and are also safe places for students to refer to for help. The benches are bright yellow so whoever notices them and reads them will know that they are not alone and that there is help out there for them.

Liz: Do you have a favorite quote?

Cindy: “It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you are proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

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