Written by Natasha Hagan
Showing support to Rape and Sexual Assault survivors can be shown from a simple gesture of ‘Hope’ and willingness to help, with encouraging words such as: ‘Hope’, ‘Strength’, and ‘Courage’. Thanks to an inspirational young 13 year old Penn State girl named Kelsey Hirsch, the once started ‘simple gesture’ of wrist bands, to show support to the US Nation’s largest Anti-Sexual Awareness Organization named RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network), gives the reassurance of HOPE to survivors as a token of appreciaition.
“I made the decision to create Bands4RAINN after my parents talked to me about the Jerry Sandusky abuse case.” Says Kelsey Hirsch, creator of Bands4RAINN
Not only can survivors wear these as a reminder of how strong they are to have overcome their attack, but they can also wear them as a symbol of advocacy and bond they share with other survivors. However, you do not have to be a survivor to wear or have one of your own wristbands. To those who are not survivors, by having your own RAINN wrist band, it is not just showing your support to survivors, but is a symbol of your love to know that there is HOPE for them and that they are worthy of being loved back.
“If you look at the RAINN wristband you immediately see the words HOPE, STRENGTH & COURAGE. Those words described, sum up what RAINN is all about because it really gives survivors HOPE STRENGTH and COURAGE. Even though I am not a survivor, RAINN still gives me those things because I know that if it happened to me then I would get help!” says Vicky Beran
There are many great people who are going the extra mile to help RAINN
, by becoming official ‘RAINNmakers
’. However, it is from the influence of the young Kelsey Hirsch
with her bands4RAINN
project, that it didn’t just bring survivors across the nation together to help support this worthy cause, but has gone across the globe. It has reached awareness to countries as far as Austria, United Kingdom, France, Australia, and even New Zealand.
“It symbolizes that no matter how bad things are, they will only get better, and that survivors are never alone and we are all in this together.” says Andrew Morrison, RAINN Supporter from Scotland
There has been a significant amount of interest to help Kelsey’s phenomenal RAINN efforts so she can succeed past her new goal of $25,000 by next April. This gave the incentive for RAINN supporters and survivors from around the world, to come together and make a Bands4RAINN video. It was their way to reach out and show the world that no matter who you are or where you are from, you will always have ‘Hope’, ‘Strength’, and ‘Courage’. With over 70 people showing off their wrists wearing their RAINN wristbands for support to Kelsey’s Bands4RAINN project in the video, the amazing support from Jennifer Toof (reality TV star) and Kyler England (solo music artist and band member in ‘The Rescues’), they are heading in the right direction to having the Bands4RAINN goal reached.
“Currently, I have switched my goal to raising at least $25,000 by next April. I am coming out with a new t-shirt to help raise the totals quicker, but really just want EVERYONE wearing Bands4RAINN.” says Kelsey Hirsch
“I know for myself music gives me strength. In the lowest times of my life it's helped me to not feel alone and to release the pain in a constructive way. In those two ways I think music and RAINN have similar offerings to survivors who are working towards healing and moving forward with their lives.” - says Kyler England
Kelsey’s Bands4RAINN project has many supporters and each of them are as important as their own. However, it is from the support of Reality TV Star, Jennifer Toof that has given Kelsey the drive to carry on and make even bigger goals for her future RAINN efforts. Jennifer has been a big supporter of RAINN for many years, but it was only until recently after seeing Kelsey’s determination to making a difference, that is has given her a clearer picture on the urgency of helping RAINN. Other celebrities who show their support to RAINN are: KaDee Strickland (actress), Mick Foley (pro-wrestler), Christina Ricci (actress), Cybil Shephard (actress), Tori Amos (singer), and many others who have featured themselves on RAINN PSA’s.
“RAINN is a great charity that I have been supporting for years. I am so impressed by Kelsey's Bands4RAINN campaign because she is only 12-years-old and selflessly wanting to do something so good for others. Kelsey's philanthropy and dedication to the cause is definitely a huge motivator for me to want to do whatever I can to help.” says Jennifer Toof, reality TV star
Not only has Kelsey been receiving positive and very moving feedback of appreciation from survivors and supporters of RAINN, but she has even been getting well-deserved praise from the CEO of RAINN, Scott Berkowitz and his RAINN co-workers too. In fact recently, they were so impressed with Kelsey’s bands4RAINN project and her efforts for helping RAINN, that they honored her with this year’s HOPE Award. This award is not given to just anyone, but to very special recipients that have gone above and beyond to help their charity. Previous recipients have been: KaDee Strickland, Mick Foley, and Shonda Rhimes (creator of ABC’s Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy).
“Scott Berkowitz thanked Kelsey, calling her an “inspiration to all of us,” and presented her with the “Hope Award” for her dedication and support of sexual abuse survivors.” says RAINN
Because of Kelsey’s RAINN efforts with her Bands4RAINN project, not only has it given more survivors support, formed international friendships, and brought more awareness about rape and sexual assault prevention, but it has also given survivors the ‘Hope’ to get help, the ‘Strength’ to keep going, and the ‘Courage’ to speak up and be heard.
So support Kelsey and survivors today, by buying a RAINN wristband for just $3 because with your support, you are giving survivors ‘Hope’, ‘Strength’, and ‘Courage’.
Click Here to buy a RAINN Wristband
Support RAINN and become a RAINNmaker today!