50 Years & Change by Francine LeFrak

Francine Lefrak

Posted on June 21 2019

50 Years & Change by Francine LeFrak

Many years ago my best friend, Joyce, died of suicide. It devastated me. It took me a long time to heal because I kept wondering what I could have done to help her and possibly prevented this tragedy. Just this past week, another person in my life died of suicide. For those of us that are left behind, it can be too much to bear.

What I have come to understand is that when someone ends their life, the part of them that they could no longer live with no longer causes them pain; although it is a significant loss for their loved ones. I learned a great deal from Joyce’s passing and it made me much more conscious of the pain that some people live with every day. It gives me comfort to know that she is no longer in pain, but I only wish there were more preventive steps available to her to possibly prevent her death.

One organization working to provide help to people struggling with mental health issues is the Trevor Project, specifically for LGBTQ+ youth. I first learned about this organization from Joseph Pino, the Director of Brand Relationships at The Same Sky Foundation Fund (a program under the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation). He is a very compassionate and philanthropic person that has supported the Trevor Project for many years. Joseph had told me about his personal experience growing up gay without access to a supportive community that would empower him to be his true self. The Trevor Project is a great resource for LGBTQ+ youth that offers community and support for those who may not get it elsewhere.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24.1 LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.2 In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt and 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.3

There is nothing worse than feeling isolated, alone, and invisible. Many LGBTQ+ youth struggle with mental health issues and do not have access to the care and support they need to live a happy life. The Trevor Project is a non-profit organization that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among this population and aims to make help more accessible.

In 2017, Same Sky launched the PRIDE Bracelet with the Trevor Project and donated 20% of every purchase to their mission of providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ+ youth. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York and we want to show the next generation that we support them.

We have come so far as a society to include and support LGBTQ+ people, but we still have a long way to go. It is organizations like The Trevor Project that are doing the hard work necessary to make a difference in the lives of those who need help. That is why we are donating 20% of every online purchase from now until the end of Pride Month to the Trevor Project’s mission and the remaining proceeds benefit the Same Sky Foundation Fund’s mission to empower women.

You can support the Trevor Project and Same Sky by shopping our beautiful jewelry at SameSky.com. Follow the link below to shop jewelry made ethically by women in Rwanda who are survivors of the Rwandan Genocide and women who were recently released from Hudson County jail in Jersey City. These women took part in artisan training developed by Same Sky to provide them with a job, an income, and financial security, allowing them to lift themselves out of poverty.

You can also learn more about The Trevor Project’s work at the link below and possibly donate yourself!


[1] CDC, NCIPC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010) {2013 Aug. 1}.  Available from:www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.

[2] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing