The idea for Spread Hope Project began with a shirt. I had a shirt from the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) that had the word “Hope” on it, with the AFSP logo. I got a ton of compliments/acknowledgements on the shirt – or rather the message. Hope. It was a simple, four letter word, yet the message was so potent. I loved the idea of visually representing Hope. I wanted to do more with it. I wanted to visually spread hope, and with it, perhaps actually spread some hope. I thought how alone we often feel in this our struggles with mental health and chronic illness, 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 from there, found a place where I could design clothing and other 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!).