My mom took her own life when I was six years old. She was 31. As I am quickly approaching the same age she died, I am fighting daily to make sure my story doesn’t end like hers. My name is Nikki. I’m 29 years old, a graduate from Grandview Heights High School, and a stay at home mom. I work at home by filming and editing videos for my YouTube channel (NikkiLeighLifestyle) where I have almost 60k subscribers and over 20 million video views. I’ve had this channel since 2010 and have received letters from all over the world and of all races and age...

"I am a scrappy activist and advocate. The seeds of my activism were planted and have bloomed in and out of seasons and pushed me ever closer to my purpose. Season One: Childhood I was born into a family of educators who spent their careers educating children in large urban school districts. Growing up I heard stories about children who were poor, lived in marginalized communities, and often did not have enough to eat.  Of the many stories that I heard there is one that stands out. My mother was an elementary school principal.  One morning my mother was called to the cafeteria because a first grade student...

"Backstory: June 30, 2017 I lived in my own apartment for almost 4 years in April. I call my place the Cozy Cottage. I never had any major issues with my neighbors, though at one point I had a neighbor that played extremely loud music all hours of the night and day, that I could feel and hear it through my noise canceling headphones. (Note: Sensory Processing Disorder). Anyways, end of June 2017 my Dad fell and broke his hip, so I was at the hospital with him from morning until 10pm. I knew I had new neighbors (a guy and a female) above me, because I had...

"Being Her Mama Has Made Me Strong" "When life flips upside down, you can either hang there and accept it or fight to flip it back. I chose to fight. Yet, I didn’t make that choice right away. No, there was a solid few months of self pity, followed by anger, then fear, and then eventually, and quite surprisingly, strength. This is important, because we often think that we have to choose an emotion and react immediately. We can only be strong, angry, scared, silent, or happy. Yet, in reality, we are typically feeling all of these things, all at once. We have become experts at displaying one...

#CauseCuisine "I grew up in poverty. My mother and step-dad were alcoholics and addicts. I got into drugs at an early age, and my mother signed papers for me to drop out of school. I guess you could say my upbringing was training for the life of human trafficking that would eventually choose me. I see what my human traffickers must have seen when they coerced me into that life – easy prey. My life changed in 2010 when I was put into a treatment program in lieu of serving jail time for criminal activity. After three years of continued sobriety, I started my job search and...

"My name is Jenny Aquino and I was born and raised in Columbus. I am an avid Justin Timerblake and Gilmore Girls fan. I also love spending time with my family and friends. I am a first grade special education teacher at an amazing school. I really hope that my story can help others that may be experiencing a tremendous loss. The last 3 years have been really trying on my family, and I would love others to see that it’s possible to celebrate your lost loved ones. 2015 was an exceptionally tough year for my family. It started out incredible, on January 14th I got engaged to...

"I was a normal kid growing up. I cheered ever since I was little and did it all through school. I went to The Ohio State University for college. In 2015, my sophomore year of college,  I started experiencing numbness on the right side of my body.  All of a sudden my body couldn’t do what it used to do. I thought I was getting a cold or something. So, I went to the chiropractor's office where I lived, and they thought I had a pinched nerve in my neck. Which I did. But, the chiropractor saw me everyday for a week and I wasn’t getting better. I...

"I am a mother of 3 loving children. I have 2 girls and 1 boy who are the light of my life. I am also a mother with a child who has cerebral palsy and cancer. In June of 2017, a routine MRI turned into something no mother, father, or family should ever have to go through. Trey was born with cerebral palsy which led doctors to order a routine MRI. After the MRI my family and I sat in front of a doctor as he told us that they found a tumor. After completion of a biopsy, it was confirmed that not only did Trey have a...

A Testimony of Courage "I'm a very passionate woman. I have a heart for the hidden cries in the inner city of single mothers and children. I love to feed the homeless--for I was once homeless with a new born baby.   I was born a crack baby at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. At five weeks old I got adopted by two wonderful people. As I began to crawl my left leg used to drag behind me. I also did not speak until the age of 4 years old. My mother kept me in therapy at Children’s Hospital. I wanted to share my story because its...

 "I moved to Columbus from Cleveland, OH in 2010. Shortly after the move I went through a difficult divorce and became a single mother of 3. I needed to find supplemental income to make ends meet and keep life going. I run an in-home daycare during the day and didn’t want to put my children through having a Mom with more than one full time job. I have always been in love with art and I’ve been painting as long as I can remember. I do not have an art degree and hadn’t explored earning an income through my painting beyond selling pet portraits; I...