Nonprofit of the Month: The Shift Initiative

Writer / Renee Larr
Photography Provided

When experiencing grief, trauma, anxiety or despair, shifting your mindset can be difficult without an outside perspective. One local nonprofit, The Shift Initiative, is offering hope, help and resources for those looking to heal after life’s difficult times.The Shift Initiative

In 2017, Scott Fussell started the Fishers Running Club with friends. A vital aspect of the group was fundraising for local endeavors. In 2018 the club held a fundraiser benefiting the Peyton Riekhof Foundation for Youth Hope. Fussell says his personal journey fundraising for that foundation while training for the Carmel Marathon in 2019 sparked an idea.

“We held a mental health awareness event called Shift in 2019,” Fussell says. “We were raising a ton of money but not much awareness around mental health. A few weeks before the event, it felt like a launch rather than a landing, so The Shift Initiative was born.”

Fussell says the objective is to shift how people think, talk, act and care about mental health. The organization serves as a connection point to resources and relationships for families caring for emotionally intense young people.

He says the volunteer-led organization focuses on three areas: self-awareness, relationships and self-care. Fussell says they help parents and their kids better understand themselves, their unique strengths, and how they show up in relationships, using Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment and ongoing coaching.

The Shift Initiative“We empower parents with the skills to strengthen or repair relationships and to grow the inner wealth of their kids – especially those who are emotionally intense – through a six-week series that explores the fundamentals, vocabulary and relational strategies shared within Howard Glasser’s Nurtured Heart Approach,” Fussell says. “Finally, a big concern of ours is caring for the caregivers. Often, parents, leaders and educators exert tremendous energy and love caring for others and find themselves exhausted and feeling alone. To provide for those exceedingly vulnerable to compassion fatigue, we partner with Ignite Wellbeing to offer a multi-week skills course centered around bind-body medicine. In addition to those opportunities, we offer one-off programs for schools, corporations and organizations that focus purely on mental health awareness.”

Fussell says The Shift Initiative is a group of community members who are passionate about the mental health of the Fishers community. He says there is often a stigma attached to seeking assistance for mental health issues. He adds that there is a large amount of pressure in a community like Fishers to “have it all together” when, in reality, most people are going through the same types of issues.

“The community can support us, and each other, simply by telling your stories,” Fussell says. “Knowing we’re not the only ones going through some ‘stuff’ provides a level of comfort that can lead to the confidence needed to continue sharing with others, broadening your circle of support, and optimizing the chances of finding the right support.”

Fussell reiterates that The Shift Initiative is a volunteer-driven organization. Its impact is significant but will continue to be limited until the group can dive into the work full time. He notes that resources are limited.The Shift Initiative

“If you are someone or if you know someone who has a heart for this work and capacity to come alongside us, we’d love to have those conversations,” Fussell says. “This would expedite and scale our ability to ‘make Shift happen,’ resulting in struggling, confused or growth-minded families having greater access to trajectory-changing resources that can strengthen family relationships, develop the inner wealth of their young people, and make our community a stronger, healthier one in the process.”

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