W.A.I.T.T. 5


We Are In This Together End of July Recap!

We're very excited to tell you guys about the upcoming Laugh At Life comedy show, and we hope you will all be able to stop by and show your support. We're also still having a blast on Warped Tour. In this blog, we're featuring the very talented Lily McLaughlin's photos and inspiring story, as well as a personal story from Paulina Wojtach. It's been a jam-packed summer so far and we can't wait to see what August will bring!

Laugh At Life Comedy Show


Laugh At Life: Chicago-based comedians have teamed up to donate their time for a night of stand-up comedy at Adobe Gila's Cantina New City location. It's going to be a great night, so we hope to see you all there!

  • Start's at 7 pm on August 9
  • The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5 at the door.
  • 100% of the door donations go to our suicide prevention and education efforts.
  • Contact us at events@hftd.org with any questions or concerns.

Warped Tour Update

We've been on Warped Tour for over a month now, and the bands still rock, the crowds are still awesome, and it's so powerful having so many conversations with all the people who stop by our tent. We are definitely looking forward to the remaining few weeks of Warped, and we hope to see lots of y'all on the next few stops.

know hope knuckle puck

warpedlpm (1 of 1)-7

warpedlpm (1 of 1)-53

Featured Artist: Lily McLaughlin

In this WAITT blog,we'd like to introduce you to the awesome Lily McLaughlin. She's a hardworking photographer, with an inspiring story that we hope you can all appreciate. Lily took the Warped pictures in the post above this one, as well as the images featured below. Her work exemplifies the power of self-expression, and the way art can give you hope.

A little bit about me. Long story short, Art saved my life. I started writing poetry and eventually my work became so visual that I decided to start telling stories. "Art cannot be taught. You cannot teach something that has caused the hearts of broken to bleed, and the eyes of the blind to see. You cannot teach someone something that has given the mute freedom of speech. You cannot explain something to the majority that is meant for an individual. It is a passion not a lesson. " -Lily P. McLaughlin- My goal as an artist is to inspire others and bring people together.

When I take photos I aim to capture that story telling moment. Whether it be the look within someones' eyes or the way a musician interacts with the crowd. I create my stories through color, emotion and perspective.

Last year I was basically homeless, and now I'm traveling as often as I can , meeting some of the best people, and actually enjoying my life. As cliche as this sounds, it's not always going to be easy, in fact it will never be easy but it will always be worth it. Work hard, you have to work hard and you can't quit. you'll get told no more times than yes. Passion is something you see, not something you hear.

Capsize crowd moment.jpg

Cruel hand vocalist.jpg

dirt series 1 (1 of 1)-9.jpg

Thecolormorale.lily.p.mclaughlin (1 of 1) (1)

Warped crowd cleveland

To see more of Lily's amazing work, check out her Instagram: @lily.p.mclaughlin, Twitter: @LillyPearl, and Facebook.

The Power of Pets

By Paulina Wojtach

If there is one thing that most people know about me, it is that I love animals. I am not just a cat person or a dog person. I own two cats and volunteer with a dog rescue. I have loved animals since I was a child. Rather than playing with Barbies and baby dolls, I played with toy animals. I grew up having a Golden Retriever named Yoko Ono Koko from when I was just two years old. I remember coming home from school as a kid to tell her about how classes were and to ask what she did when I was gone. I also told her bedtime stories about how Princess Paulina and Princess Koko lived in a fairytale land. Koko lived to be eight years old, and I hope that those eight years were as great for her as they were for me. I guess that she is where my expression of myself with animals began.

Animals do not judge you. They love you no matter what. When you have a bad day, they are there to console you. When you have a good day, they are there to celebrate with you.

In my last semester of high school, I had become depressed. I had just started birth control. I knew that the pills often made girls feel emotional in the first few months, but this felt horrid. I went from being an A student to getting Cs. I wasn’t turning in homework. I attended my classes, but I never truly felt like I was present in them. I was pushing away friends. I kept telling myself that I was just going through the symptoms of starting birth control, and everything would be fine in a few months. I kept this all bottled up inside. I still felt a bit numb emotionally after almost a year.

With the stigma of depression, I feared going to anyone about how I was feeling. I missed having my dog to just tell everything to; I missed just having someone who could just listen to me without judging me for what I was going through.  I was not comfortable talking about what I was going through to anyone. My family was not ready to get another dog after Koko passed away.  So, I did my best to convince them to allow me to get a cat. I literally made a list of health benefits, both physical and mental, of owning a cat and a list of adoptable cats in the area and posted them on doors around the house. They finally gave in, and I went in to adopt a cat named Marty. Long story, short: I left the shelter with two cats, Marty (now Bilbo) and Golden (now Roxas). Bilbo and Roxas are the best sources of emotional support that I could ever ask for. When I am having a bad day or just feeling sick, they cuddle up with me in bed until I am ready to get up. When I am having a good day, I take them in my arms and we dance around the room. I can tell them just about anything and they listen. They also keep secrets very well, because, well, who are they going to tell?

I also started volunteering with the Illinois Alaskan Malamute Rescue Association about two years ago. Dog sitting for family friends every now and then just was not enough for my doggie fix. So, I decided to dedicate my Saturdays to driving over sixty miles south to walk malamutes and hang out with other volunteers. Volunteering with IAMRA was one of my greatest life decisions, because not only do I get to spend time with fluffy dogs, I met a whole bunch of people who are like another family to me now. And yes, dogs do listen to you as well as cats do. Except with malamutes - you will often hear a lot of sass coming back from them when they do not agree with things that you are saying.

Though I wish that I did get clinical help in high school, I am glad that I chose to express myself to animals. At home, I have my cats to keep me company. I have a reason to wake up every morning. I have a reason to come home in the evening. They are my responsibility. They rely on me. In return, they provide me with company and care when I need it most. They listen to me rant on bad days, and listen to me rave on my good days. With IAMRA, I also gained a lot. I am able to go outside on long walks to clear my head while spending time with fluffy dogs. I made lots of new friends. I am able to help dogs who are going through emotional times of leaving their homes and having to come to a new pace. I am able to see them learn to love and trust again. I would still probably be depressed if it were not for having animals as an outlet to express myself.

We See You Fam!!












To check out last week's WAITT #4, click here.

To see WAITT #3, click here.