Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson was a sophomore in high school when she first became acquainted with Foundation 2.  As a child, Jessica grew up in an unstable home environment. She became a troubled and suicidal adolescent, and when she was 15 years old her mother brought her to the Foundation 2 Youth Shelter.  During her brief shelter stay and family counseling sessions, Jessica and her mom were able to:

  • explore solutions to troubling issues and build skills in order to prevent or resolve future conflicts,
  • support each other through listening and understanding, and
  • clarify strengths, values, and needs.

Jessica credits the tools that she learned at Foundation 2 with providing her better resources to cope with the trauma she experienced at home.  After her time with Foundation 2 she was able to return to living with her mom and follow a better path at her school.  She became involved in sports, joined student government and was involved in the Students against Drunk Driving (SADD) club on campus.

According to Jessica, “the tools I learned at Foundation 2 are critical for empowering youth to communicate and make better life decisions.”  She credits learning these skills in an environment in which she was cared for as contributing to her future success as a community leader.

Jessica is the Community Relations & Development Manager at Venue Works of Cedar Rapids and is an active volunteer in the community.  She is sharing her experience with others to encourage youth and families in need of shelter or family counseling to make the call to connect with life-changing services.  We appreciate Jessica’s willingness to share her story!

Barb Hand

Barb Hand describes herself as the member of “a group that you don’t want to be a part of but the best group you could join if you need it.” After Barb lost her husband to suicide she and several family members began attending Foundation 2’s Suicide Survivors Bereavement support group.

Barb said that it can be really difficult to walk into group the first time but that behind the door is understanding, friendly faces who know what it is like to lose someone in their life to suicide. After a suicide loss it is really important to find a place to talk through emotions without feeling judged, and group was just that place for Barb.

Foundation 2’s Suicide Survivors Bereavement groups for youth and adults meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. The group is led by crisis center staff but group members connect with and support each other as they process their loss. It is hard for anyone to really understand a loss from suicide, but talking with others who have been through the same experience can help you begin adjusting to the death.

Barb is sharing her experience with others to encourage those who have lost someone in their life to suicide to connect with help. Thank you, Barb!

Mike Farr

Mike Farr lost his son Garrett to suicide on September 22, 2017 after his battle with depression.  At the time of Garrett’s death, Mike was not aware of Foundation 2 services.  Garrett had connected with other community mental health services including a psychiatric hospitalization, but the hospital didn’t provide him with services in an environment in which he felt comfortable.

Mike believes that if Garrett had connected with Foundation 2 crisis services, including the hotline or chat and text, his son might still be alive today.  Dispatching mobile crisis outreach counselors to the Farr home could have connected Garrett and his family to help at home – an environment that felt comfortable and safe to the entire family.  Connecting to Foundation 2’s services could have changed the outcome for everyone.

Project SAFE of the Cedar River Corridor Area was created by Mike and numerous volunteers to initiate important discussions about mental health and suicide prevention.  They hold local community conversations to bring nonprofits (including Foundation 2) together to share information and resources so that everyone has a place to turn during a mental health crisis.  Mike has connected several people to Foundation 2 services since he lost his son.  Getting immediate help during a crisis can diffuse the situation and prevent death by suicide.

Mike is sharing his story to increase the awareness of Foundation 2 services.  We appreciate his willingness to use his story to save lives!

Additional Client Feedback

“Please let your staff know how much I appreciate what you do. It can’t be easy, but you are helping save lives.”
-Crisis Center Caller

“Mobile crisis Outreach (MCO) is awesome! I have nothing but good things to say about your program. Counselors were able to calm things down. I appreciate MCO; it has been the biggest help out of any agency/service I have tried. I am so glad DHS gave me MCO flyer.”
-Mobile Crisis Outreach Client

“You all make the world a better place with who you serve and what you do.”
-Foundation 2 Donor

“Your service was a blessing. I don’t know what I would have done without them; I was at a loss of what to do.”
–Mother of a J-FAST Client

“The Mobile Crisis Outreach service is fantastic! Counselors were really helpful, letting us know that we could make it through the weekend until seeing a doctor the upcoming week. We would have had no idea what to do if it wasn’t for MCO.”
–Mobile Crisis Outreach Client

“Thanks for sending out the Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis Outreach team yesterday. You have a lot of great people in these roles. They were very helpful. Please let them know that as soon as they left, my son was smiling and closer to his normal self. I got some good advice talking with them. They were helpful to both me and my son.”
– Mobile Crisis Outreach Client

“I was in the youth shelter over 20 years ago. I was beginning to become out of control and my mom was determined to straighten me out. Seeing that she was unable to do it herself, she had me become a ward of the state. During this time I was placed in the Foundation 2 Youth Shelter. I was scared, angry, had no self-esteem and was very suicidal. The staff slowly began to bring me out of my shell, built up my confidence and didn’t put up with my behavior. I want to thank all the staff who supported me was and the staff who work there now. I am married and have 3 awesome kids! I was the first of my entire family to go to college and am blessed with a wonderful career. Thank you, each and every one of you. Please know, in your mind and heart, you are making a difference! Every kid in your shelter is a gem; they just need someone to help them shine. Thank you to everyone who helped me shine.”
–Former Youth Shelter Client

“MCO was just a wonderful thing to have; very beneficial. The counselors that came out were phenomenal. It was a pleasant experience overall.”
–Mobile Crisis Outreach Client

“Speaking with your staff last night made me feel like I mattered.”
-Crisis Center Client

“Thank you to Independent Living Services staff for supporting a foster youth in my home- your support saved my placement.”
–Local Foster Parent

“It’s been 10 years ago around this month that I lived at the Foundation 2 Youth Shelter but I wanted to say thank you! At the time I thought you guys were horrible with all the rules and giving me a difficult time not letting me see my boyfriend. I’m sorry if I gave you all a hard time. I understand now that it was for my own good. I just wanted to let you know that I have come a long way from the girl who was pregnant, on drugs, and living on the streets. I am currently a mother and happily married! I have a successful career. When people are in the boat that I was in you can say there is still hope to change your life for the better. Because I am living proof! Thank you for all the help I will never forget the part you all played in my life.”
-Former Youth Shelter Client

“The work you do has a huge ripple effect and impact on many people. Good for you!”
-Foundation 2 Donor

“Foundation 2 has great staff and they are very helpful. For the longest time I considered Foundation 2 to be my home because they were always there to help when I needed it. I recommend this place for all youth and young adults- if you ever need help with anything whether it is school or aging out of foster care- reach out to them because they can and will help you.”
-Former Shelter and Independent Living Services Client

“We are grateful for the mobile crisis outreach program, for the times counselors came to our house, and for times we just needed to call to talk. I tell people about Foundation 2 whenever I hear they are also struggling. I honestly didn’t know if things would ever turn around, because they seemed pretty bleak for a long time. Thanks for checking in, and thank you for your great, caring staff!”
-Crisis Center and Mobile Crisis Outreach Client