September 21, 2021, is the International Day of Peace, an event created by the United Nations and celebrated around the world. This year, I celebrated the International Day of Hope in Manhattan Beach with STAND 4 PEACE, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about issues related to peace, including the importance of hope.
We gathered, along with dozens of community members of all ages, at the Manhattan Beach Pier to celebrate the importance of peace and hope by spelling out HOPE on the beach. Participants all held sunflowers, the symbol for hope, in honor of their mission to spread hope and peace to all individuals around the world.
I was honored to be a part of this incredible event, and humbled by the support and enthusiasm that we received at Manhattan Beach. It was inspiring to see so many people come out to support the cause and activate hope in their community.
This year, more than ever before, the International Day of Peace reminds us why it is important to share the science of hope with people around the world. Hopelessness, the antithesis of hope, has reached unprecedented levels globally, and is predictive of weapon-carrying at school, self-harm, accidents, and violence. Peacekeeping efforts must address hopelessness when advocating change. Without hope skills to combat the effects of hopelessness, we cannot create or find peace, as either individuals or a society.
I began teaching hope skills in 2011 to combat hopelessness as a method of suicide prevention. What started as a 12 lesson curriculum has grown into Hopeful Minds, curriculums and resources for teachers and parents, Hopeful Mindsets, courses designed to teach hope skills to target populations, and Hopeful Cities, a playbook that teaches cities around the world how to activate hope in their communities.
Throughout my journey, the one thing that has continued to surprise me is that, though we know that hopelessness is predictive of nearly every negative life outcome, very few people know what hopelessness is or how to overcome it. Without an understanding of hope, hopelessness, and hope skills, we cannot hope to achieve peace. That’s why STAND 4 PEACE and iFred stood together on that beach; we know that we must work together to combat hopelessness.
I am incredibly grateful for the work that STAND 4 PEACE is doing, and look forward to continuing to celebrate future International Days of Peace by spreading the science of hope around the world.
Kathryn Goetzke, MBA, Global Hope Ambassador, iFred Founder, Chief Mood Officer at iFred, The Mood Factory
Kathryn Goetzke is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, strategic consultant and global
depression advocate. She is the entrepreneur and innovator behind Mood-lites™, a brand that achieved over 35 million dollars in retail sales. As her role as Chief Mood Officer at The Mood Factory, her goal is to ‘Improve Moods’ by teaching consumers how to get in the present moment through engaging the senses. Armed with an MBA in International Marketing, an undergraduate degree in Psychology, over 20 years of experience with small and Fortune 100 companies, and a successful product launch of her own under her belt, she aims to do just that with her new line of product based on how scents impact moods and 21 Day Courses teaching how to rewire the brain.
In addition to launching Mood-lites, Goetzke founded a non-profit organization for depression called iFred (the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression – www.ifred.org) dedicated to eradicating the stigma of the
disease using the sunflower, a focus on hope, the color yellow, celebrity engagement, creating hopeful mindsets, and education on the biology of the brain.
According to the World Health Organization, there are 300 million people around the world with major depressive disorder, yet depression is treatable and episodes often preventable. She is most excited about her Hopeful Minds initiative
(www.hopefulminds.org), based on research that hope is a teachable skill and aimed at teaching kids around the world so they may be equipped to always create, maintain, and sustain hope.
Goetzke and her work has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Home, InStyle, Family Living, Scholastic Choices Magazine, and others. She has spoken at the United Nations, World Bank, Global Mental Health Conference, Mental Health Community Associations Conference, the Scent Marketing Institute, and more. She has been featured on multiple radio and television shows including BBC, WGN Chicago, CBS Chicago, Tasty Trade, and eWomenNetwork. Goetzke is a regular contributor to the Thrive Global and PsychCentral, writes regularly for iFred and The Mood Factory, and serves on advisory boards for FundaMentalSDG, the Global Mental Health Movement, and Women’s Brain Project, and is a member of the Founding Steering Committee Member of YMentalHealth, a global coalition for youth mental health nonprofits.
Goetzke has a Master of Business Administration degree in International Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, International Studies and Biology from Winona State University. She currently resides in Reno, NV, where she enjoys hiking, meeting new people, playing with her nieces, exploring the mountains, skiing, and solving complex global challenges.