The compassionate work of a Belmont freshman is receiving national recognition.
Two years ago, Kelsey Kinsel of Las Vegas founded Salvation City, a suicide prevention organization that provides resources to teens battling depression.
This month she is one of five finalists selected by Glamour magazine for its 2011 Woman of the Year Readers’ Choice Award. Voting ends Sept. 23 and the winner will be announced at the end of the month. Read articles on Kinsel in The Tennessean and on MTV.com.
The two women with the most votes will go to New York City for Glamour’s Women of the Year red carpet event, where Kinsel said she hopes to touch toes with political celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama.
“It is not a monetary prize but it is a huge opportunity to spread the word about Salvation City and network with real influential women,” she said.
The award would be the pinnacle of her work that began when two friends committed suicide.
“I decided to do something to let people know if they were in the same situation they there are places that they can turn to help them,” Kinsel said. She since has been assembling an article compilation CD, creating posters and selling $3 wristbands to raise money to distribute suicide prevention resources to schools. Fox 5 KVVU in Las Vegas also have Salvation City a $1,000 grant.
Through Salvation City’s HOPE Poster Campaign, Kinsel sells posters and asks people to take pictures of them with it and upload their photos to social media websites. BMX rider Mat Hoffman and Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross already have committed to the HOPE Poster Campaign.
“It is hard to explain the impact that is can have one someone. It is hard to grasp that someone could take their own lives,” Kinsel said. “So many people have reached out to me and said ‘I have heard what you are doing and it helps big time.’ These are people who have lost friends to suicide or have struggled with suicide.”
The 10-song compilation CD features unsigned artists singing uplifting messages and will be released in November. While working on the CD, she had lunch with American Idol contestant Tim Halperin, who mentioned Belmont University was one of his top schools of interest when deciding where he would go to college and Kinsel decided it was the school for her. At Belmont she plans to study religion and minor in music business.