HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Changing the world has to start somewhere. For Suzanne Wolf, it started when her mother, Angela, died followed by a painful emergency thumb reconstructive surgery.
"I just thought, 'how much more pain can I be in? You know, God, what else am I supposed to feel?' I'm missing everybody and I just feel lonely and I don't know how to go on," Wolf said.
With her mother as inspiration, Wolf decided to leave her teaching job and start a nonprofit called Project Peace to support schools in a variety of ways. She collects books for lower-income families, and she collects stuffed animals to help special-needs students remain calm during emergency lockdowns.
"Kids that are on the spectrum get triggered by the alarms in our school," Wolf said. "I want them to be able to be trained to be able to grab their sack, grab whatever it is to comfort them to self-soothe."
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Peace stands for Promoting Empowerment, Awareness, Community, and Empathy. Project Peace has Wolf on the go. She packs her car with supplies almost every day with the intention of helping schools, churches, and other organizations.
From meeting a woman who saves victims of sex trafficking to collecting supplies at one church to bring to a ministry that serves women in crisis, to bringing school supplies to Traylor Academy in Denver after a triple murder within the school community, Wolf started making connections like this by working as a Lyft driver.
"I have honestly met more people that have impacted my world in terms of furthering Project Peace than I could've ever imagined," Wolf said.
She likes to connect people so they can help one another. At Traylor Academy, Wolf got a local business to donate a memorial garden for the victims of the triple murder.
"These teachers and this wonderful principal (are) doing so much to make a difference with so little and we have got to step up and help," Wolf said.
Wolf wants to turn her tragedy into a mission that's changing the world, one carload at a time.
"I honestly feel like I've been able to frame everything as a blessing in my pain, a blessing in my pain. I never would've thought that losing mom would have been that blessing, but it pushed me out of the classroom," Wolf said.
Wolf is putting together fundraisers through Project Peace with local businesses to help victims of the STEM School shooting. If you want to find out more, click here: http://www.projectpeaceprogram.net/
"To know that this is my passion and purpose is um, yup, it energizes me every day," Wolf said.
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