The Kalisha Memorial Project
Kalisha was born in Queens, New York on July 24, 1995. She was a beautiful and gifted child. She graduated Valedictorian of her elementary school, and received numerous accolades.
Kalisha had dreams of becoming a doctor and a writer. She was kindhearted, caring, and had a sensitive nature. She loved to sing and dance, and won many dance contests. She loved putting on productions for her family during the holidays.
As a result of an unfortunate accident at the age of 11, Kalisha broke her femur (main thigh bone) and for awhile was no longer able to dance or even walk. Kalisha became a target for cruel bullying and consistent teasing by some of her fellow schoolmates. She had a very difficult time coping although she received a lot of support from immediate family members.
Apparently, Kalisha felt that these challenges were too much to bear and decided to end her life on April 10, 2008. She died at the age of 12.
She left a note behind, expressing how much she loved her mother and brother and acknowledged her grandmother and uncle.
The mission of the Kalisha Memorial Project is to prevent death from suicide by providing information and supportive services, especially for those contemplating suicide and for those who have had to endure the above tragedy.
In 2008, after the funeral of her 12-year-old daughter who died from suicide, Ms. Celeste Clarke came together with Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Pastor of The House of The Lord Church, in an effort to address the growing suicide problem.
With the high rates of suicide among adolescents, young adults and middle-aged adults rapidly increasing, they decided that something had to be done about this preventable death. The Kalisha Memorial Project was established to promote a healthy outlook on life, provide education and awareness, and provide resources and support for people who may be struggling or contemplating suicide, as well as those who have been affected by a suicide.
In early May 2013, at the first meeting attended by Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Ms. Celeste Clarke, and Mr. Khorey Rice, a Youth Leader at The House of the Lord Church, Ms. Sharon Daughtry, the Executive Director of The Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance, suggested the name, “The Kalisha Project.” Later, the Rev. Daughtry added the word, “Memorial.” Thus, the name, “The Kalisha Memorial Project.” Min. Gloria Daniels was added to the organizing group.
The organizers continued to conduct weekly meetings. They developed a mission statement, a history, a bio of Kalisha, and objectives. In addition, a Press Conference was held on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 and the first Forum on Suicide Education and Prevention was held on Saturday, October 5, 2013
To deliver information and education (via forums, literature, workshops, lecture series, etc.)
To facilitate counseling (group as well as individual)
To support A 24-hour hotline
To coordinate referral services
To connect with speakers bureaus and other opportunities
To help facilitate visitation Programs and safe spaces (that includes visiting families in their homes, school visits, etc.)