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Inspiring Conversations with Laloboy Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laloboy Foundation. 

Hi Laloboy Foundation, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My son Adrio Romine died at 17 on May 11, 2019, the day before Mother’s Day. My favorite holiday. Not too long after his death, I decided to do something. I work with families for a living and one of the things that I see is my families cut counseling out of their budgets. They couldn’t afford it. This was a dangerous pattern, but I get why families cut this due to finances. We decided to open a foundation the Laloboy Foundation (“LBF”) to provide financial resources to families in need so that the children can receive counseling services. Our counseling services are for children that have financial needs.  At LBF  we have reached children in Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Laveen, Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Winslow, and other cities in Arizona.

What a parent needs to know about the process is it as easy as picking up the phone. There is a one-page application that they fill out and provide supportive documentation from the checklist they are provided. Upon receiving the application, we give a response typically within 48 hours. We can assist in providing a vetted counselor list upon the client’s request. We have several counseling providers that we work with that want to support our vision in helping families in Arizona. When we get a call from a parent, it surprises me how they heard about LBF. It is all because the community is starting to talk more about mental health and sharing resources to help one another.

There are days that are heavier than others, but what I do know is that Laloboy (nickname for my son Adrio) is still helping others. That is my son’s legacy. He has been helping his peers since kindergarten. He loved to serve and help others. My son was not just brilliant in academia, but he did care about others down deep inside. That is what I want others to know. He was a kind and helpful person first and academia second.

We want our families to have the confidence in calling us and allowing us to guide them to resources available for their families. Mental wellness is just as important as our physical health. We want to change the conversation. Mental illness does not discriminate! During the pandemic, everyone was experiencing isolation and I am thankful that the conversation of mental illness and mental wellness is being addressed and discussed. It appears that we are seeing the community start to come together to say “I am not okay”.

We need to educate the children and their families about what mental wellness looks like and not allow them to stay stuck.  In my personal experience, a friend/student was trying to help my son get help through a hotline. The friend says “let’s get you help”. My son says “no it would take too long and cost too much money.” The friend says “I will pay.” Here are two freshman students at ASU, they both thought it cost money. We need to ensure that parents and children understand that there is no cost to make a call for help.

After my son died, I learned within 48 hours of his death that he had a conversation with an adult on Reddit in the suicide watch chat area. My son talked to this adult when my son was 17. The predator knew that my son was 17. The predator spoke with my son for approximately 40 days and 120 pages of conversation. The FBI, Chandler Police, Freemont CA Police, and Klamath Falls Oregon Sherriff all said that they could not prosecute because no law exists in the US. They all said, “talk to your lawmakers.” That is what I did. Jeff Weninger Chandler Representative helped me start the process with new legislation in January 2020 to change the law. Making it manslaughter for an adult to instruct, aid, a minor with information that leads to the death of a minor child. On March 17, 2021, Governor Doug Ducey signed into law the HB2459 Laloboy Act. https://legiscan.com/AZ/text/HB2459/id/2249311 Video of signing: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=450996136150132

My goal is to share with other families: that it takes a village to raise today’s children. We as a village do not need to walk alone. Hence my tagline is “We walk together, not alone.” Keeping your children safe from predators was our family’s mission for getting the law passed. The helplessness you feel as a parent in not getting justice for our son was awful. I was left with no choice. I had to do something. The message that we wanted to send was to put the predators on notice that there is a consequence. Hopefully, this law HB2459 will curtail some of this activity by doing my part as a citizen. I am on a mission to have this law go federal. I have 9 states on my radar. I have heard back from 3 governors’ offices of 3 states. Gov. Ducey’s office is helping me connect with the other States to make this law federal.

INFO WAS PROVIDED JUST IN CASE YOU NEEDED SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Mark Curtis says it best

https://www.12news.com/article/opinion/on-the-mark/on-the-mark-teen-suicide-and-penalties-for-faceless-social-media-monsters/75-0fa94c4e-6d41-444f-ab35-65f9dce5e625

Final vote video for 3.11.2021: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6wqY5hKp14dFwhG59 HB2459 Senate Vote

Paolla’s testimony: 50:39 – 54:50

https://invintus-client-media.s3.amazonaws.com/6361162879/6057b9b734f3c982cc8290d3c879b0041b949dca.mp4

Great article on LBF

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix-breaking/2019/06/24/family-asu-student-adrio-romine-creates-change-laloboy-foundation/1436710001/

SONS HABITS WERE NORMAL TO US, this article helped us understand

https://awarenessact.com/15-real-habits-of-people-with-concealed-depression/?=aa&fbclid=IwAR0rYsS6CzGFKvoE936D0ReeG_SfCxhGRy9fq65cqrwRL647UqQLvZ9tSVo

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Getting the word out is the hardest. We started getting traction in July 2021. We have a few grants to provide some financial assistance for these families. We are a 501c3. The community can donate to LBF and receive a tax receipt for their charity donation. I am always looking for volunteers. I would love the opportunity to speak to school officials, counselors, social workers, teachers, etc to spread the word. They are my boots on the ground.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I am a divorce/business mediator. I specialize in working with high-conflict families. We take our families where they are and provide support during their journey. Our clients are not a number, their families matter to us. There is no right and wrong in our eyes it is about helping our families navigate their situation, find solutions that they can abide by in their co-parenting, and keep our families future-focused.

For our business owners, I have a lot of respect for business owners. I have been a business owner for 30 years. It takes grit to run a business. Running a business is not effortless. We understand what it takes to run a business and find a solution for the departure of the business or find a solution to their dispute. If there is a divorce involved and a business, we can help convey the nature of the business, explain what is needed expenses to run a business and why. By having the patience to explain the business process and financial needs for operations. We find that our couples can find a win-win outcome in the division or buyout of the business.

When a client comes to East Valley Mediator, they are not a number. What they think and say matters to their mediator!

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