The Lou Ruspi Jr. Foundation, LRJ, is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to bring mental health education and wellness to schools, the community, and other entities through educational and interactive seminars and resources.
We engage our audience in a creative manor simulating real life experiences and discussions. We are fortunate, thanks to our generous sponsors and supporters, to provide these services free of charge to school districts and youth groups. Due to the large number of requests the LRJ Foundation receives for community and corporate seminars, a nominal fee may now be charged for these presentations. Hosting a dress down day or t-shirt sale can offset the minimal cost. Interested in making a donation? Please click here.
Lou (a.k.a Louie) Ruspi, Jr. was a charismatic and outgoing young man. From his loud, deep laugh to his bright, joyful smile, Louie’s personality instantly lit up a room. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved his family, including his nieces and nephews, dearly.
But what others saw on the outside was almost the exact opposite from how Louie felt on the inside…
From his teenage years, he dealt with environmental and mental health issues that escalated as he grew older. He began some therapy in high school for a short period yet seemed to internalize much of what he was dealing with. He went on, day after day, seemingly doing well. After graduation, Louie entered the workforce and after a few years, he began classes at Keystone College, majoring in biology. There, he excelled. Louie was in a wonderful place in his life… or so we thought.
On December 23, 2011, Louie took his own life.
A young man so smart, funny, joyful and determined to succeed had ended his life? How could this happen? Why?
With a stigma surrounding mental health issues and a lack of education and available resources, depression, mania, and possible bipolar disorder went undiagnosed. Louie did not want to end his life. He wanted the struggle and pain to end.
This is not about Louie’s story but the story of all those that can relate. Established in 2012 by sisters, Teressa Stann and Karla Farina, LRJ Foundation seeks to help those struggling and bring suicide awareness and prevention to our communities. Throughout Pennsylvania and Georgia, the organization targets students in grades 3-12 with hour-long sessions on topics ranging from depression and bullying to life transitions to empathy and kindness. We provide information on treatment options, teach coping skills, and provide resources for further outreach. Most importantly, these sessions are provided at no cost to school districts and community organizations wishing to become involved. Today, LRJ Foundation has given thousands of students the courage to open up and get the help they need before it’s too late.