MORRISTOWN, NJ - There are inspirational cards, songs, bumper stickers everywhere we look that hope to make us smile or try to convince us to hang in there for a little longer. But there are times when we need something tangible to hold on to, that will give us a little encouragement to get through the day, a little hope that things will get better. We look for pennies on the ground, four leaf clovers in the lawn or a rainbow after a short summer rain shower to wish upon.
Now there is something else to look for...home-made knit hearts. These beautifully hand-crafted hearts have been scattered around Morristown, Morris County and across 30 U.S. states. The hearts are left in public places like restaurants, library book shelves, against a window or on an ATM machine with inspirational sayings like, "Beautiful minds inspire others', while others say "Your journey will be worth it", "Love is all around you", "You are beautiful" and "Your life matters".
The concept was created by Jill Kubin of Morristown who heard about a 13 year old boy named Peyton who died by suicide in 2014. According to his dad, Peyton loved singing, telling long stories and playing video games. His goal was to be a vet but Peyton took his own life after years of bullying.
"I wanted to find a way to help open a dialogue about teen suicide and bullying and help stop the stigma associated with mental health issues," stated Kubin. "I came up with the idea of having people from all over the world make hearts with positive messages attached and leave them for people to find. "We want people to come across our hearts and not only learn about our project, #PeytonHeartProject, but to also read the affirmation that is on the heart and know they matter".
The Peyton Heart Project is helping to give a voice to those who suffer in silence from depression and suicidal thoughts. Many people have joined the project because they have been left behind after a family member or friend has taken their own life.
"We have people sending us messages because they often feel that they want to do something to keep others from enduring the same pain they have been through", said Kubin.
Peyton's Dad, David James and Kubin connected through Facebook and together they collaborate on the Peyton Heart Project.
"Jill asked me if they could name the Heart Project after Peyton', remembered James. "She then sent me a box of hearts and I went around putting them where people could find them. When I would see someone post that they had found one, it was an incredible feeling. Just knowing that people out there want to help and that we are bringing awareness to a very serious, but silent problem plaguing our society, makes me feel like I am carrying on Peyton's spirit".
"I want people to fight for their lives", James continued. "I want them to understand that even though things may not always be good, they do get better and they need to keep fighting. I never want another parent to have to go through what I am dealing with, nor do I want another child to ever feel that suicide is the only way to end their pain".
To date, there have been over 1,000 hearts scattered across the globe. If you would like to help make and distribute hearts, click here.
When you are walking around, no matter where you are, keep your eyes open....maybe, just maybe you will find a heart.