The idea for Spread Hope Project began with a shirt. While volunteering at an event for AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention), I acquired a shirt with the featuring the word “Hope” and the AFSP logo. After wearing the shirt a couple of times, I noticed the surprising number of compliments/acknowledgements I received – or rather the the shirt and its message received. Hope. It is a simple, four letter word, yet the message is so potent. I loved the idea of visually representing Hope, and wanted to do more with it. I thought how alone we often feel in this our struggles with mental health and chronic illness, even when someone right next to us, or right across the street, or behind us in line at the coffee shop may be struggling with too. How often, we have no idea how not-alone we are. And I thought that by visually showing “Hope”, I might be able to somehow serve as a reminder for this.
I got to work creating the Spread Hope Project logo, and once completed, I “opened” a store on Zazzle to design clothing and other Spread Hope Project merchandise. I created a few shirts with the word Hope on them. The shirts came in the mail a few weeks later, and I set out on a mission – to take pictures, wearing my Hope shirts, in as many places near and far, and with as many people as I could. I wanted people to be able to say, “Hey, look, that place is right by my house! That’s in my hometown! That’s near my university! That’s someone speaking up about mental health and hope right by me. I am not alone after all.” Or I wanted someone to say, “Hey, I want to help spread the message of hope too, come to my town/neighborhood” and let’s take a photo. Or maybe it inspires a local business to be part of a photo, and that helps their business, and our message. Whatever it was, I wanted to document it, and I wanted to document it in photos.
The Spread Hope Project has grown from here, but photos are still a huge part of what I do. I still want to be able to visually spread hope as far as I can, and to as many people and places as I can, with photos. So if you’re interested in having us come to your neighborhood/home town/city/state/country (last two might take a little longer but we’ll work on it!), or if you’re a local business or organization, or school/university that would like us to come take some Hope pics at your location, let us know!
So far, we’ve managed to get to some pretty amazing places (including a hot air balloon!):
For more photos and destinations, check out our Instagram!
We’d love to see your Hope photos. Whether you’re wearing/carrying Spread Hope Project gear, or make a hand made sign with the message, we’re all for it! So get your message of Hope ready, display it, take a pic, and share it with us to share with others (we’ll give you photo credit, of course!).