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Mission: Answering the question "Dont they realize they cant be replaced?!"How do you answer that question when a teen asks you? What if it's your own child and its the 7th time she's asked? At the time we weren't sure, the suicide cluster in our community left us with lots of unanswered questions.
We just wanted to console them all, so we purchased 500 wristbands that said ' I Can NOT Be Replaced ' to pass out to our local teens. Within a week we had a donation for 500 more, a week later another donation..... two years later we have sent over 23,000 wristbands across the USA, Canada, UK and Australia. We are proud guardians of something bigger than we imagined.
Our message and mission are simple:
Know your value.
If your life is valuable, then it just makes sense that those around you are as well.
Prevention at its best.
When a teen understands they're irreplaceable, the reasons to bully, take risks, or abuse substances begins to fade. With self worth relationships improve; teens become foward thinking, choose better friends, value family and embrace a life of purpose.
You can NOT be replaced began with a heart to heart conversation we had with our oldest daughter Emily after the tragic death of a teen in our area. He was the 7th suicide from our local school, the 8 th student loss in 5 years, the 12th in the southern portion of our county. In addition to local outreach we travel to schools and colleges giving talks and new this year having concerts on campus' with film.
We are out to prove each individual is irreplaceable. Its 'proactive prevention' or 'upstreaming'. When you know your value, you understand that others have value. If we truly understand the value of each person, we treat them differently regardless of our beliefs, politics or status.
We agreed that we've noticed a lot of young people have a hard time when life gets difficult to navigate. They look in the wrong places for comfort. When things get complicated it’s easy to forget how valuable you are.
We decided to focus attention on the core of the person, the place that wants to be loved, valued and appreciated deep inside of each of us. You never know what kind of an impact a kind word or gesture will have. Sometimes the answer to something complicated is simplicity.
The act of passing a wristband is simple; it gives an excuse or prop to approach another person and takes the focus off of ourselves. Being a part of touching another at their core is a special thing, passing 'I can NOT be replaced' wrist bands is addictive.
Our simple wristband passing carries an amazingly positive impact. This is done simply by the passing of the bands marked with the slogan 'I Can NOT Be Replaced', accompanied with an affirmation focusing on the importance of the person receiving the band.
We are born into communities...families. Every experience and person we love, meet or interact with we take something from them. In exchange we leave something of ourselves with the people of our life. Each interaction between two people can be an opportunity for a positive impact or a negative impact. We choose by our behavior and actions what part of ourselves we give and what we take.
Leave a bit of yourself, give a wristband, add the words that express your gratitude, appreciation or wishes for happiness for that person. The wristband is a reminder to them of thier value, only to be held until they see someone else they think should be the next person to recieve it.....
*Altruism- the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others
- Melissa Dayton
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