A random Facebook message to The Point put me in touch with a woman who is changing lives, saving lives and giving everyone "100 Reasons to Live."

Her name is Colleen Finnegan and she is the producer of Enspirited Projects and "100 Reasons to Live." She runs an after school creative program that integrates giving back to the community with the arts. The project is in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Monmouth and Manasquan High School.

This program is an artistic response to recent tragic events among the youth in our area; specifically Manasquan.

It all started at the Manasquan Recreation Annex, upstairs in the teen center on Atlantic Avenue.


The program began with a brainstorm of reasons to live on April 19th. There are now over 150 reasons on the list.


Students interpret the reasons on the list with videos, photography, drawing, painting, music, poetry, sculpture and more.  The interpretations are on display in the gallery. To date, 48 teens have contributed.


When: Thursday June 14th from 7:30-10p.m

Where: Manasquan Recreation Annex on Atlantic Avenue

There is a suggested $5 donation that will benefit the Mental Health Association of Monmouth and future projects.

Several students visited The Point studio's to tell us more about "100 Reasons to Live."

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2
Megan & Monica's Original Song
Nicole's Original Song

Matt's Personal Story

I was never an outgoing kid. I can remember worrying myself sick about everything. When I was a sophomore in high school I began feeling depressed and anxious all of the time. As the year went on, the depression got worse. I remember a particular day clearly.  I was sitting in the cafeteria with a few friends and some others that barely knew me. One of the girls in that group found me extremely annoying. My depression had hit an all time low and I planned to take my life that day. It wasn’t a passing thought, I was going to end my life when I got home from school. I had never said anything to anyone, but I spoke of my plans at the lunch table that day. I could have subcontiously been asking for help, but I was more or less telling them I wouldn’t be at lunch tomorrow. Lunch wrapped up as usual and the day continued.

When it became time for PE, I didn’t get dressed. I didn’t care. I sat in the bleachers as the rest of the class hit the track. I spent that time thinking and planning. Towards the middle of the period, I noticed a woman walk from the school and over to my PE teacher. The two began to walk over to me. I figured I was being written up for not participating in PE. The teacher and this woman came over to me and asked me to walk back to the building with them. I was told we were going to the principal’s office. When the woman opened the door the principal was standing there, and so was my mother visibly upset.

 Unknown to me, the woman who walked me to the office was the school’s therapist. Someone reported my threat of suicide to the teacher who ran a club I was a part of. Little did I know that the person who said something was not one of my friends, but that girl that found me annoying and hardly knew me. It turns out, I hardly knew her as we were in the same club and I didn’t even realize it. She heard something, so she said something. If she hadn’t, I may not be writing this now.

 I immediately went to a doctor and was diagnosed and treated for depression, OCD and anxiety disorder. They are things that I battle with everyday.

I commend every single person who is part of "100 Reasons to Live." The work they do is truly life changing and saving. I challenge everyone who reads this to fight the stigma of mental illnesses. Help others and understand others. Most importantly, if you ever have a hint that someone may want to harm themselves, TELL SOMEONE.

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