Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelli Hansen.
Kelli, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I lost my middle sister to a completed suicide in February of 2017 and I knew I couldn’t stand around and do nothing. I had an idea about creating a nonprofit organization for mental health and suicide awareness, however, I wasn’t sure how it all worked. I had been working with another nonprofit for years around adolescent risky behaviors, teen suicide and the chocking game, but we really focused on adolescence aspect and I wanted to bring the adult aspect into the picture. My sister struggled with mental health issues and was diagnosed with MS a few years before her passing. She was a CPR instructor and care giver to a paraplegic and diabetic. I knew I wanted to do something centered around offering CPR classes to the general public when I was talking to a friend who told me she was a Mental Health First Aid instructor which was in complete alignment with my goal in my head for my nonprofit. I voiced my goals out loud at the Greatest Year of the Life midyear retreat and was challenged to raise the funds to initiate the incorporation and bring to life my nonprofit. Challenge accepted and I was able to raise the funds in less than 24 hours to pay for the incorporation and file to be an official 501c3 nonprofit organization in June 2018.
I built my own website, had my initial idea for a logo drawn and started building a presence in the social media world. I asked my friend Sierra to be my MHFA class educator so we could spread the word and start building the Mental Health First Aid classes. We had our first-class in Nov 2018 with 8 participants and all participant fees for the class was sponsored by BCC Evolution with generous donations from the public. My goal was to continue building class participation and bring light to the mental health world by giving everyday people the skills to assist those in need. I was also one of those first participants and became a huge promoter for the classes.
Fast forward to today, BCC Evolution in less than a year of being incorporated successfully had 7 MHFA classes and sponsored a total of 56 participants. We have also added a whole volunteer program called the Love Wins Volunteer Program which has volunteer events like Capes for Superheroes where we make and design capes to take to the VA Hospital in Denver and the Children’s Hospital in Denver and deliver the capes to the real superheroes. This year so far, we have delivered 564 capes. Another event is Backpacks for Kiddos which we delivered 73 backpacks to families and alternative schools this year. And another event is Homeless Care Packages which has an event coming up soon but have already delivered 250 this year. We have partnered with several amazing people and companies already and are so excited for what the future holds.
Our 1st Annual Mental Health and Suicide Awareness film festival was in Sept and we had 52 tickets sold with 4 films shown and 4 speakers spoke about their story. BCC Evolution launched its own promo video at the event. It was the most amazing event I have ever had the pleasure of directing and went off without a hitch. I am blown away by the number of things I have been able to accomplish in a short amount of time and am looking to 2020 to be an even bigger year full of events and partnerships.
I work a full-time job at a telecommunication company during the day, am a mom, stepmom and spouse. And my heart and soul has been poured into making a difference in this thing we call life. My sister’s life mattered and if I can be a blessing for one person or one family that is my goal. And if I can share the stories that maybe haven’t been heard, I will keep pushing.
Mental health is a huge issue in this world and my belief is truly that together we can make an impact on this thing we call life.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely has not been easy. Not knowing exactly how a nonprofit works or how to become incorporated and then file to get approved as an official 501c3 nonprofit was one of my biggest struggles, but the lack of belief in my abilities to succeed has been the biggest hurdle I have overcame. Through the grief of losing my sister, I struggled but fought every day to stay positive. I finally found a tribe of people that believed in me more than I believed in myself and I also took the leap of faith to work with a personal coach and join a transformation academy to break through my doubt. Ever since working on myself, I have found like-minded individuals that have lifted me up and shown me all the things possible. First, I had to believe in myself, work on my fears and doubts to be able to open my heart to all the possibilities. Once I broke the pattern of disbelief, I started to soar beyond my imagination. I now have an open heart to all possibilities, but I also first got really clear on my goals as to what I wanted to accomplish with my nonprofit. I built my mission and vision and searched out people and ideas that aligned with my goals. You can’t do expect to do everything, you really have to get clear and learn to say no to things that don’t align with your vision. I was open to everything and it just wasn’t possible to do all the things that kept coming my way so I had to get even more clear on my goals to be able to say no or yes.
I still struggle with getting enough donations and building events, but I learn from every event we have. Learning is key, once you know where you’re going, then getting there is so much easier and it opens so many more doors than you can imagine.
What should we know about BCC Evolution? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
BCC Evolution is a nonprofit organization for Mental Health and Suicide Awareness. We offer Mental Health First Aid classes to the general public. Our volunteer events include Capes for Superheroes, Backpacks for Kiddos and Homeless Care Packages. We also have to sell BCC Evolution branded swag. We do events across CO to bring awareness to Mental Health and Suicide Awareness. We do an annual Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Film Festival.
I am most proud of the number of lives I have been able to impact through bringing light to this subject. The look on a person’s face when you give them a cape or a package when they are homeless or the kids that didn’t think they would show up on the first day of school with school supplies, that is what drives me. Also, the people that reach out to me to ask how they should help a friend or loved one when they think they are in a dark place and threatening suicide, being able to walk them through tangible steps to assist that person is a huge accomplishment.
The thing that sets us apart is we are still small so it is very personal. We are dynamic is what we offer. I actually don’t know of any other nonprofits that offer the classes like we do, but also have the volunteer dynamic. We have just begun so the sky is the limit. We have so much room to grow and that is so exciting.
It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Self-help audiobooks help me get motivated and create ideas. I use social media all the time, mainly Facebook, but also Instagram and Twitter. I use Canva to create posters and postings. I use Wix to build my website. Otherwise really anything on my smartphone is up for use. I look at other nonprofits in the same space to help build my website and try to be competitive with content. Making connection person to person is huge to be able to build a network. Networking groups are such a great place to meet people too.
- MHFA Class Participation is $75 per person without a sponsorship
- Website: www.bccevolution.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bccevolution/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BCCEvolution
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCC_Evolution
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi_hHg2hnaX12byeLVcrUsQ