The James Project is a new student organization that emphasizes depression and suicide awareness.
“We’re just trying to get the word out about suicide,” said Mallory Snowden, freshman psychology and criminal justice major from Midlothian. “In 2013, every eight minutes someone will have committed suicide, and for every person who commits suicide, 12 people will be hospitalized for a suicide attempt.”
Snowden started The James Project after suffering with depression in high school and experiencing the power of one person’s help.
“My sophomore year of high school, I was a really depressed person and I actually attempted suicide, so that’s how I came to Christ,” Snowden said. “The guy I was and am dating called me and was like, ‘You’ve got to stop this.’ I had no idea he knew, but he said God just told him that I needed someone there for me, and so I dropped everything and came to Christ.”
Inspired by this act of love and kindness, she changed her outlook and wants to spread awareness to people not only at ACU, but Abilene as well.
“We are a student organization but we’re trying to expand to the Abilene community so everyone feels like they have a place they can come and talk,” Snowden said. “We don’t want to exclude anyone from knowing and being a part of this.”
Snowden was struck with the idea last fall during ACU’s annual Summit week.
“I came here and had a dream about starting this during Summit,” she said. “In the dream I was drawn to a booth that was called The James Project and I took that as a green light from God to do it.”
The group is still in its early stages and is trying to garner membership, but it is rapidly growing.
“I just heard about it and it seems like a good idea,” said Kailee Cremer, junior psychology major from Albuquerque, N.M.
“I really hope to see a revival of empathy and sympathy on campus and around Abilene,” Snowden said. “You see all these people going through all kinds of pain but so many people are oblivious to the hurt around them.”
The James Project meets on the last Saturday of every month, with its last meeting of the year in April.
The group plans to start having candlelight devotionals in the fall.
“The statistic is every eight minutes someone will commit suicide, and during the devo, every eight minutes we have someone come up and light a candle so at the end of our meeting we can see how much happened in just one of our meetings,” Snowden said.
Snowden said she wants The James Project to not be a reminder of the darkness in the world, but rather a place of hope and inspiration for those struggling.
“I want to see empathy in people, I want to see people reaching out to others. There is so much hurt in the world,” she said. “I believe in the power of one smile. A smile can save a life.”
Students and anyone else interested can find The James Project on Facebook or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.