To help children and adolescents suffering from anxiety and depression through education and awareness, removing the stigma attached to these feelings. Our children, despite any of these issues, can live complete and happy lives and that is all we want as parents.The Facts about Mental Illness
It is important to tell Mary’s story because so many of our children have the same story and yet, they think they are alone and feel like they are always on the outside looking in on life. What they need to realize is that they are far from alone and that their unique approach to life, love and friendships makes them stronger than they know. Mary was the poster child for the word precocious. As a baby she showed self determination and a uniqueness that was unlike many other children. She was our baby girl then and will forever be. Like many of the mothers and fathers I have interacted with since Mary took her own life at the age of 19 on December 4, 2016, she, like their children, had an “old soul.”
Mary once played the angel Clarence (she was "Clarice") in the St. Francis Prep production of "It's a Wonderful Life".
For Mary, the “normal” things that many little girls engage in – like dressing up or dance class – did not interest her. They are perfectly wonderful activities, but not for Mary. She was respectful, kind and sensitive to the needs of others and the world around her. She excelled at school and even more so when it came to her art. From a young age she exhibited artistic talents usually reserved for those well beyond her years. And because she had this innate talent, it was fostered and developed from one art school to another as it grew. Yet, while she had so much talent and so much promise, she always felt “different” and was far too concerned with how others viewed her (or how she thought they viewed her).
Yet, she carried on with her art and academics attaining a full scholarship to St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, New York. There she blossomed academically and artistically. Still, emotionally and socially she felt alone like so many other kids. She had friends if she only reached and cut through the barriers that made her feel isolated. She felt different because she was receiving treatment and medication; however, if a child had diabetes or high blood pressure, no one would blink an eye and the treatment would follow because that is a normal treatment plan for those diagnoses/illnesses. She felt that it was unfair that she was forced to have to live that way, but fairness is sometimes in short supply. Those who are afflicted may have a heavier burden, but they can overcome it because they have more strength than they even know – maybe more strength than the “normal” kids. Children and young adults, like Mary, have such great gifts that can offset the burden they bear. Their uniqueness is a badge of honor.
Mary performed as expected. Excelling in her course work and creating many beautiful works of art that can be found on this website. She won award after award including having her work entitled “Cyan Sleeping after a Hard Day” displayed in United States Congresswomen Grace Meng’s office in Washington D.C. Another work, “Definitive,” was on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art after winning a New York State Gold Key Award. She went on to be accepted to every college she applied to including, but not limited to, the University of Michigan, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Boston University. Eventually, however, she choose the Rhode Island School of Design. Her life will live on for all to see through the Foundation’s work to combat the problem and stigma of mental illness in children and adolescents as early as possible, so they can lift themselves up and enjoy all that life has to offer.Help Us Make a Difference
In her short but blessed time with us, Mary was able to create beauty despite her pain. We share her works with everyone and hope you are inspired.MARY'S COLLECTION
We all need to spread the word that we can make a difference in our children’s lives if we agree to help them at the earliest possible moment so their fears and worries do not overcome them. Please share your thoughts, because we are all in this together and through unity of purpose there is strength.