The Story of TMI Project’s Partnership with Elise Gold and The Maya Gold Foundation
The story of how TMI Project came to work with Elise Gold was hard for me to write. Elise and I shared the dance floor in a local African dance class a few times and had some friends in common, but we didn’t get to know each other until she co-founded The Maya Gold Foundation after tragically losing her 15-year-old daughter Maya to suicide on October 2nd, 2015. I was deeply touched when I read about the foundation after it launched. I learned about her and her husband Mathew’s deep commitment to speaking about their experience, regardless of how painful, in hopes that in sharing their story they would raise awareness about teen suicide prevention and potentially save others from their daughter’s fate.
In 2016, The Maya Gold Foundation offered TMI Project a grant for a new program called, Our Bodies Talk Back. Through this program, we work with high school and college students to help them tell the stories of their experiences with sexual abuse, harassment, and objectification, some of which Maya had been facing prior to her suicide. TMI Project and The Maya Gold Foundation aim to help young adults and teens who’ve dealt with such issues to move out of isolation. We help them process their trauma among others who can identify, and then share their stories with a peer group who can also benefit from knowing they’re not alone.
When I asked Elise if she would accept this award she humbly said, “But I’m not the only one doing this work, it’s everyone at The Maya Gold Foundation.” This sentiment perfectly represents Elise’s collaborative spirit and her thoughtfulness. TMI Project is honored to recognize Elise Gold as a Voices in Action Agent of Change. We offer her this award as a symbol of her courage to share what no one should have to and her unwavering dedication to all teens facing struggle today. As we honor Elise, we also honor Maya’s father Mathew, her brother Adin, everyone at The Maya Gold Foundation and, of course, Maya herself.
TMI Project is honoring Elise, along with activist Tony Porter and three other Hudson Valley leaders and activists, on September 28th, 2017 at Voices in Action: Community Outreach Showcase & Fundraiser. We hope you will join us!