Almost one year ago, at 15 years old, Jamison Novello, took her own life. She was silly, funny, energetic, smart, authentic, sassy, beautiful, talented, and strong willed. She had the greatest laugh, a mega-watt smile, and the most genuinely-caring heart most people ever knew. She loved her friends beyond belief and worried about everyone, even people she didn't know well. The world needed more people like Jamison, not less.
Jama, her family nickname, would easily burst into a giggle and spit out whatever was in her mouth. She adored music, knowing song names before two years old. Later, it was hard to snap a picture without one headphone in her ear and one hanging down. Jama loved Starbucks iced caramel macchiatos more than I can say and a chocolate croissant wasn’t usually too far behind. There were always candy wrappers stuffed in her drawers, coat pockets, and the dryer. If you knew her, you can just picture her in that red pajama onesie, as if she had no others. She loved amusement parks and never met a roller coaster she wouldn't tackle. At 15 years old, she still enjoyed our family traditions more than anyone, including going to Santaland the first Wednesday of December, making her annual gingerbread house, hosting Christmas Eve, and opening annual matching Christmas pajamas with her siblings.
More than anything, Jama loved to dance. She trained five days a week at the world renowned Broadway Dance Center ("BDC"). She missed out on many things with family and friends, but everyone understood since dance absolutely meant the world to her. She danced through aches and pains, being sick, open sores on her feet. She was relentless.
She lived, she loved, she laughed, and she left but her life will not be not be summed up by March 21, 2019. Jamison's dream and light deserve to be carried on. This scholarship is one small way to give her that gift.
Thanks to our 2019 campaign, the Jamison Novello Scholarship at BDC, awarded $52,000 in scholarships by year end. THIS is the legacy Jamison deserves.
The second cause this campaign benefits is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ("AFSP"). Jamison's memorial Sweet 16 bake sale fundraiser raised $8,200. Another $4,200 went to the Jamison Novello Scholarship Fund, and a $4,000 check was donated to the Long Island Crisis Center in her name.
However, research is paramount and going forward, fundraisers will benefit Jama's BDC scholarship fund and the AFSP, as the largest funder of research. They fund scientific research, offer educational training for professionals, educate the public about mood disorders and suidice prevention, promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention, and provide programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk. In October 2019, friends and family created Team Dancing Queen in Jamison's memory and raised $4,520 for the AFSP.
Thank you for keeping Jamison's dream alive and for helping to prevent this tragedy for someone else.
To see the things being done to honor Jama’s beautiful heart, visit:
- Jacqueline Pereda
- Tara Marcellino
- Renee Kraft