As of March 2010, the Joao, Jose 'John' Santos Charitable Organization was incorporated in the state of NJ - A recognized NJ non- profit corporation 501 © (3). This organization was created in memory of a loving son, husband and father; a man with a heart of gold whose life was cut too short due to his debilitating mental illness. John was diagnosed with severe depression with pyschotic features; he became a victim of suicide in July 2004 -- shortly afer coming home from the hospital ER.
I started to raise public awareness and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in 2005. Participated on my first Out of the Darkness community walk in the Fall of 2005. Having never been involved in a fundraiser, besides helping my children's school on their holiday gift wrapping and help sell Girl Scout cookies. I had no idea and/or know how to start a fundraiser, but I needed to do it!! After spending many days brainstorming and writing many draft letters, I finally was able to create a letter and send it out. To my surprise, the following day I received my first donation!! Wow, and donations kept coming in after that. The kind words from friends/ strangers and their generous donations kept on empowering me.
I continue to be involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/NJ Chapter, raised funds and participated in their annual community walks the following two years. In 2007 was planning also to walk in the Overnight walk, in New York City... However, (God had his own plans for me...) Unfortunately, due to unexpected illness, I was unable to walk, but kept on being inspired by the amount of donations that I was receiving. And, in just two weeks I was able to organize the 1st community walk in John's memory at Duke Island Park, Bridgewater NJ.
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