P.S. I Love You Day
In 2011 Brooke DiPalma ‘18 and her family experienced a tragedy. After being dropped off at school by her father, DiPalma would soon be taken out, sent home, and told her father Joseph DiPalma, committed suicide.
Overwhelmed by the support she received from her high school classmates, DiPalma was inspired to start P.S. I Love You Day at her high school, in honor of the last words she and her father exchanged, I love you.
Eight years later, P.S. I Love You Day had spread to be celebrated in over 120 schools in various states, ranging from middle school to university.
DiPalma is now a senior here at Marist College and P.S. I Love You Day was held Feb. 9, 2018, in the Student Center. Campus clubs such as Her Campus, Naturally Foxy, and Student Council set up booths to amplify the importance of self-care, self-love, support, and kindness.
A part of this day is to end the stigma that surrounds suicide and focus on the reality of why it happens and how to prevent it. DiPalma emphasizes the importance of knowing it is not the person’s fault, and the act they committed was not truly them. As a community, people should focus on supporting each other and being the voice for those who no longer have a voice.
“I didn’t think my story mattered. When I was younger, I wanted to be the next Oprah Winfrey and I wanted to make a change. I would talk to my dad about making that change. To be able to see it right before me, it is humbling and exciting, I was a 15-year old that just wanted her voice to be heard” DiPalma said.
When P.S. I Love You Day first began at her school, DiPalma thought that if only one person wore purple she would be happy. When she created a youtube video for the day, she and her sister Jaimie thought that if 10 people saw the video it would be worth it. The video currently has 81,000 views, and each year over 100 schools are flooded with purple.
“I definitely did not expect it to grow into what it is today. I never thought it would move beyond my high school and to see it at 120 schools, even to see it at one other school and to see one person wearing purple, gives me chills every time.”
Brooke DiPalma (Center Middle) with her Sorority Sisters
DiPalma is studying communications focusing on Journalism and Public Relations with a minor in Political Science. Despite the incredible growth the event has seen over the past few years, she does not wish to pursue this event as a career.
“I don’t know if my dad would want my entire life to be dedicated to combating his loss and finding something to get over the loss.” DiPalma adds, “It was tenth grade NBC4 came to my school and I was so incredibly honored that they came to my school to interview me and my friends who started this idea. That's why I want to go into journalism, to share other people’s stories.
Manny Dettmann ‘20 and Taylor Hempstead ‘18 are board members for Naturally Foxy. “We wanted to keep the movement going and sit at our own table and see Marist people spread the love,” Dettman said. Hempstead (Left) and Dettmann (Right)
Emily Sommer ‘20 is Brooke’s grand-little in the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority said, “We work to create posters, sticky-notes, going through every social media platform spreading awareness to wear purple...this day is all about spreading positive energy and awareness for suicide and any other events going on. We are here to support each other as friends, family, and classmates.”
If a school wishes to get involved they can reach out through the website, fill out a form and in response, P.S. I Love You Day will send them a packet about the event. DiPalma is available for questions or any help she can offer to the schools.
“You have to see the light at the end of the tunnel and look back at the person you are and be proud of them,” DiPalma said, “It's the support from every single person, people are thanking me for creating this day. This is not a thank me its a thank you for allowing me to continue this day.”
For more information, visit the P.S. I Love You Day website: www.psiloveyouday.net