FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Ricky Godoy channeled his creative energy and infectious charisma into a company that strived to change the narrative surrounding mental health. His tenacity impacted those around him in a way that’s beyond words.
Now, Ricky’s Compass – a mental health nonprofit – is blossoming from the seeds Ricky planted. The organization is giving words and a platform to those who share Ricky’s vision of shattering the stigma. As of June 1, 2018, Ricky’s Compass’s journey in changing the narrative took another step forward as they were officially granted 501(c)(3) status.
“Once we received the approval, we felt like all the work that we were doing, all the closed doors, late nights and Saturday afternoon business meetings, was finally being validated,” Melissa stated.
Ricky couldn’t see his dream come to completion. On September 21, 2017, Ricky died by suicide. Yet, Ricky’s sister, Melissa Recarte, and close friends and co-founders, Alexis Thomas and Alexandra Zimmerman, were determined not to let his dream end with his passing. They launched Ricky’s Compass in the end of 2017 and have continued Ricky’s work of advocating and educating others on mental illness.
“Although this journey stemmed from such a tragedy, Ricky’s Compass has given me a new purpose and a way to positively deal with my grief,” Melissa said. “I know my brother would be so proud.”
With Ricky’s old camera equipment and creative spirit, Alexis, Melissa and Alexandra created “Diagnosed, But Not Defined.” The mini-series gives individuals a platform to share their journeys with mental health and advances Ricky’s mantra that a person is not defined by their illness. Each episode is available on the Ricky’s Compass websiteand YouTube channel.
“We are part of a generation that filters everything,” Alexis expressed. “We decided to take advantage of the power of social media by creating ‘Diagnosed, But Not Defined,’ so that we could show the real, raw and unfiltered side of life. Ultimately, our goal is to create an environment that fosters open dialogue regarding mental health and recovery.”
In between producing episodes, Ricky’s Compass has stayed active by initiating the organization’s first donation drive in May, Mental Health Awareness Month, and continually providing education and resources on mental illness.
So, what’s next?
Ricky’s Compass will be hosting their first event – promoting mental and physical wellbeing – on September 8, 2018, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Lidgerwood Park in Morristown.