Today we’d like to introduce you to Reese Free.
Hi Reese, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My heart has been broken so many times. I lost count of years ago. But I kept the saying “My heart gets broken everyday B” It’s a playoff of a Paid in Full line. When I say heartbreak it’s not just relationships.
My heart has been broken in so many ways. From dreams, ambitions, goals, love, visions, the list will go on. I got my heartbroken because of ambition. I have learned over the years that this isn’t a bad thing. It’s rather a gift than a curse. I really wanted to create a line of letterman jackets for people to wear that said The HeartBreak Club…Don’t be afraid. That had been done and I really wanted people to think about this concept. I coined Happy Heartbreaks. Because once you get over the pain of heartbreak, you learn a valuable lesson that you won’t ever forget. You grow and heal and eventually, you are happy again. When you look back at your past, you can maybe laugh or give others advice. You see that you made it. It was a Happy Heartbreak in the end.
So I started a pin line of hearts. I created a meaning of each heart for people to wear. It was wearing your heart on your sleeve. I didn’t want people to be afraid of their past and to not be afraid to be vulnerable. This became a movement. And this movement became a Charity. Happy HeartBreaks Inc. was created to bring awareness to mental health. We became a mental health charity July 1, 2021.
This was a journey that I wanted to share and build. I started doing research and growing out this concept. My official launch was Sept. 17th, 2021. We had National Black Man Appreciation day. An event for Black Men to come together, take a breather, relax and heal. We also raised money for young black male youth for Mental Care services. Why Black men first? They are the group most in need. African American men are four times more likely to die by suicide than African American women are. So I started with them and we branched out to Mental Care for All. We are continuing to grow and build. We are small but passionate and mighty.
I think everyone deserves access to mental care. I think everyone should be aware of what mental care is and why it is important. Especially now.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Launching any charity is never easy. There was a lot of learning. I am still learning. The biggest struggle is money. I actually started the charity with my own funds. Getting the word out and navigating through a pandemic as well has been extremely hard. We are on a very tight budget and we want to maximize the money going to those in need. It was so much to learn and grow from. Partnerships and sharing our story and mission have been our strengths. We just need to expand even more. We are fairly new so brand awareness is really key.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I got my biggest buzz from our National Appreciate Black Men Day. We made numerous news outlets which was awesome. It was an amazing event. Black Men Mental Care is a very important topic. For Black Men especially, it is a very hard topic and a bit of a Taboo topic to speak on among Black men and I am so happy that we started many conversations. We want to touch a community that needs help and we want to do that from ground zero. Mental Care For All.
Who else deserves credit in your story?
I want to thank our board members, my mentors, family and friends, and everyone who has supported us in any way. From attending an event to posting our story and website to wearing a donation pin. All of it is just incredible.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.happyheartbreaks.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/happyheartbreaks
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HappyHeartBreaks/
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/HHBCharity
Event Photography @Camera_head_ @TheBlackSwanStudio