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How Kelly Waite-Stabler Gives Back

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By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!

But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).

Here’s how Kelly Waite-Stabler, Haley Marketing’s Director of Client Services, gives back:

HIT: Film-maker and Speaker on Teen Issues and Suicide Prevention

Back Story

My best friend, Conny, is a social worker/counselor who works with teenagers. As we were talking about the work issues she regularly deals with, she mentioned a story idea (about these issues) that she had always wanted to turn into a movie.

My response was, “Let’s do it!” So in 2011, we wrote and produced a 30-minute film, set to music: Hallways.

Told through intertwined music videos, Hallways follows the story of a young girl, from age 5 through 16. The movie addresses several teen issues, including: neglect, foster care, peer pressure, depression, drinking, cutting, and teen suicide – serving as a catalyst to facilitate discussion.

We present the movie at high schools (to faculty and students), as well as other community organizations, to foster a culture of understanding about mental health issues. The film presents alternate coping skills to the negative behaviors and reactions that are all too common in teens. The entire project is designed to help young people contemplating suicide realize that they are not alone, and that there is always a better answer.

Why what do I love most about film-making and speaking?

Taking a concept from “nice idea” to reality was amazing. Having teens engage and respond to our film has been even more rewarding. Plus, I’ve been able to work with my best friend!

The Hallways project has pushed me outside my comfort zone in a lot of ways. Since we were on a VERY low budget, we used friends and family to act in the movie. So, I had to put my limited acting skills to use and make a small appearance in front of the camera as well. And while public speaking usually doesn’t typically make me nervous, talking to a room full of teens definitely keeps me on my toes!

Our hope is that, through our efforts, we can save at least one life.

The odds were definitely stacked against us…

Conny and I both work full-time and have four boys between us. At the time we were writing and storyboarding the movie, our sons were ages 14, 9, 9 and 4. Conny and I would sit around my dining room table with a laptop, papers strewn everywhere…and kids running everywhere, too! Friends would come in and out and help, and at times it was total chaos –I’m amazed we got anything done.

Still, I’m extremely proud of the final product and the good work we continue to do.

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