Alive On Purpose, founded by Latoyia Jones, is a program for young adults (particularly young women) to understand their purpose in life. Jones designed this program after defeating her battle with suicide. After several failed suicide attempts, Jones realized that she has a voice that matters and experiences that needed to be heard and shared with many. She dedicates her time in providing experiences for young women to understand how important their life is by helping them to dig into their confidence and remaining focused who they hope to become. The budding entrepreneur spoke with us about AOP’s accomplishments, and the growing future for her impactful organization.
What type of impact has Alive On Purpose brought to your community & what type of change have you seen within the girls who have been involved?
Over the past several years, our AOP’s work has grown from school-based interactive group talks, to a full character development and suicide prevention curriculum. The success of our programs are measured not just in quantifiables but in how young people feel about themselves going forward. Although less quantifiable with regard to absolute metrics, our success can be seen through the sheer demand for our presence. Our partners are satisfied and they’re spreading the word. In just five years, we have served over 5,700 students throughout 40 schools and youth-serving organizations; and we have requests from a half-dozen more! Currently we have 120 girls enrolled in programming and expect over 700 attendees at our next major event/
When did you realize creating an organization to help people battling suicide was your purpose?
After growing up and still suffering with depression and extreme self-doubt through-out my childhood. I felt like life had no purpose and for this reason, I no longer wanted to live.After my second suicide ideation, I began to discover my purpose. I realized then that my story was all too common and that when I shared it, young people especially, were moved by my talks. They opened up to me. They shared their innermost struggles and related to my stories. The more I shared this connection with them, the more I began to realize that my unsuccessful attempts of suicide were part of a grand plan. I realized that I was supposed to be Alive, so I could help others to Stay Alive and Live Life On Purpose.My story, story of suicide, is more common than you might think. Therefore building an organization that addressed this issue within my community on a daily basis is the biggest achievement of them all. Our goals then become very simple. To do more, to impact more people, and in turn save more lives in the Cleveland Area and beyond
You have a dance that you put on called Him & Me…why was it so important for you to put on this event?
What brings success to the Him & Me dance is our ability to focus on an unspoken need. 63% of all suicides come from fatherless homes, therefore it is imperative to provide a platform that engages fathers as it relates to a young ladies heath and well-being. It’s a proactive approach and once that works well with our community as it targets an issue without darkness and tears. Yearly over 1500 dads and daughters engage with the Him & Me brand through school programming and community events. The annual father daughter dance is out most successful
What does The Girls Alive Mentorship Program entail?
Alive on Purpose helps youth achieve their “happy” using a unique program modality that focuses on self-discovery through written and verbal expression. Our girls Alive model recognizes that before any person can reach his or her “happy”, they must first uncover and address that which prevents happiness. Each of us carries within some amount of suppressed disappointment, pain, hurt, trauma, and fear. Our programs help young people process these emotions towards emotional health and development of character. From this place of wholeness, anything and everything is possible.
What is the process when choosing programs for the organization?
We definitely are an organization that looks for a need. We ensure that all of our programs help the community proactively as well. The goal is not to always respond to the distressed but to essentially eliminate the population all together (at least attempt to). We then test the programs within small populations to view their success and them implement on a larger scale. We currently have only 3 major focuses with our organization and we are 6 years old, those core principles have kept up grounded and focused over the years
What is one thing you want the girls to understand, and take from Alive On Purpose?
Alive on Purpose’s aim is to help more young people (especially girls) reach their “happy”; to discover their unique identity and accept who they are flaws and all. With the growing incidences of bullying, peer pressure, and drug use among young people, it is clear they are crying out for help. Alive on Purpose responds to this outcry by helping youth learn healthy coping strategies that facilitate their individual growth and development. We help them to set realistic expectations for their lives and to set their own standards. Once this level of self-realization is reached, their “happy” has room to express itself. With a “happy” perception, optimism and opportunity abound. Simply – happiness is possible, we just have to find it.
How can one get involved with Alive On Purpose?
There are millions of people suffering in silence from Mental Illness. If you know anyone who is suffering and needs help please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255