In our times of great uncertainty and powerlessness, Arielle Caputo took action for the needy in the most admirable way. She does not have the luxury to write a check. Instead, she simply and humbly produced good deeds, which began to ripple far and wide. Caputo is reaching out to the American teen and saving lives. Her work in suicide prevention is making a life-living impact.
Flattery gets you everywhere and I first became aware of Arielle with a comment that she placed on the rad surfing website TheInertia.com where a short story of mine was featured. The comic tragedy, part of the anthology Gen F, tells the story of a surfer who attempts to end his life. Her comments were inspiring, fact based and provided links and toll free numbers to suicide resources. Who is this young woman?!
Life is not and has not been easy for Arielle Caputo. She is a young mother who recently earned her college degree, without the comfort and support of her family. She is now struggling to pay the rent, raise a daughter and pursue a career. Several accidents generated health challenges. The love of her life came and the love of her life went. Once her diploma was in hand, the energy, drive and focus of college evaporated, leaving Arielle in a solitary vacuum. She was mentally and physically exhausted. Her adopted city of Los Angeles suddenly became a very lonely place. Many tears were shed. The days stretched long and the nights longer. The tears did not stop.
Life offers us unlimited transformative moments. Arielle found her epiphany deep inside, "One day, I just decided enough was enough. I was going to be the person I was looking for." Caputo adopted the basics of kindness, random acts of joy and true action. She payed it forward. Once a week, she and her daughter began to visit various parts of the city and gesture with beauty, each in a unique way. These creative good deeds began to reverberate and echo louder.
Needing inspiration to begin the battle of the day, Caputo made a short inspirational video and placed it on Instagram. Then she made another, every day. Her little pebble began to make waves. A few followers grew to 19,000 in a very short period of time. Arielle provided a quiet, clear and earnest voice in a howling wind. People responded, many with cries for help. Arielle had become a familiar and dependable face to those who feel isolated and alone. She was not a stranger.
When you want answers, a suicide hotline can ask a lot of questions. The Millennial do not talk; they text. Many use Wi-Fi without calling capabilities. Most suicide on-line chat rooms require a lengthy questionnaire. Caputo began to receive many requests for time and attention, some of them alarming. How could Arielle best serve them?
In January of 2014, Caputo completed the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training course at the Los Angeles branch of the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Center and then she got busy. Caputo created a website, subtitled Dream Endlessly, Actively Pursue. It features a blog and an easy-to-access chat room. Should you not find her there, she is always available on kik, the smartphone messenger. Then she started a weekly in-person support group at the SHARE center in Los Angeles. Everyone is welcome.
To fuel the continuation of her Instagram efforts, the on-the-street good deeds, a full time job and a well-raised daughter, Caputo wished that she had a source of daily, direct, in-your-face inspiration. So she wrote a book. "Love You. Me. We: Your Daily Year-Long Journey to Happiness" was published in June on Amazon. The book offers a thought, an affirmation or an action to ponder or complete. It's a great way to start the day.
I am most impressed with Arielle Caputo's action. Many hear a call, but only a rare few take heed. We are living in very frightening times. Ancient sensibilities are lost in new and confusing static. The once reliable touchstones are harder to reach. Desperation is madly forcing many to quick and irredeemable conclusions. Simply, quietly and steadfastly, Arielle Caputo is saving lives and proffering hope.
The events of our apocalyptic times feel like a daily back alley beating. I am still trying to find my bootstraps, let alone pull them up. I bet Arielle Caputo will help me find them. The world can use more like her.
Caputo writes, "In the US in 2011, someone died by suicide every 13.3 minutes. This rate has been steadily increasing since 2005! I think most people are looking for hope, for answers, for more. Definitely sharing this. www.deapinlove.com National Suicide Line 1-800-273 TALK (8255) Teen Line 1-800-852-8336."