The Live Initiative aims to help those who are hurting

Michael Anthony Curtis has written and produced songs for some big names in country music, but he’s hoping his latest will do more than reach the top of the charts.


Curtis and his recording partner, Doug Stokes, hope their song “Live,” will reach people who may be contemplating suicide and show them there’s a reason to keep going.


Michael Anthony Curtis
Michael Anthony Curtis

The genesis of "Live,” goes back to 2019, when Curtis was working with an Army group and discovered how prevalent suicide was within the Army’s ranks. That stuck with him, and the need to do more became greater one Sunday in church when the pastor told the story of a 10-year-old that had died by suicide.


“I haven't been anywhere where I haven't heard story after story after story,” Curtis said.


Curtis called his friend, songwriter Doug Stokes, and said he wanted to write a song about suicide prevention. His goal was to come up with a song that was about living. Curtis and Stokes ended up with the idea for their single “Live.”


“Me and Doug weren't trying to get recognition,” Curtis said. “It was to get the song out and give a message of hope.”


Once the song was written, they recorded it at Thrasher Sound Records in Muscle Shoals.


The song spent weeks at the top of the CDX Gospel and Positive Country chart, and Life Today created a music video to go along with the song.



Curtis and Stokes also had challenge coins made. The coin was designed so the word “Live” is always visible, and Curtis always carries some wherever he goes in case he runs into someone who needs a reminder.


“I want it to become a tool,” Curtis said. “I want the song and the video and the coins to become a tool that anybody can use to save people from committing suicide.”


Curtis and Kids to Love CEO Lee Marshall have known each other for years, so when Curtis was looking for a home for The Live Initiative, Kids to Love seemed like a good fit.


“This is something that can help a wide range of people," Curtis said.


Children in foster care suffer from mental health challenges that others do not. Traumatic histories, changes in living situations and inadequate access to mental health resources put them at a greater risk of developing mental illness. As a result, they’re also more likely to consider suicide.


One study found children in foster care were almost three times more likely to have considered suicide than children who had never been in foster care, and they were almost four times as likely to have attempted it.


“Kids to Love is here to find forever families for children and give them everything they need to live happy and productive lives,” Marshall said. “The Live Initiative is another way to address the needs of those children, by making sure they know they are loved and that there is so much more ahead of them in their lives.”


And Curtis continues to spread the word through the coins and with the song, which he recently performed at a Promise Keepers event in Texas.


“If it saves one, it was worth doing," he said.


If you would like to donate to The Live Initiative, click here.


The Kids to Love Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that has reached the lives of more than 290,000 foster children through its programs, which include food and clothing assistance, school supplies, and foster certification classes. Kids to Love is also a licensed child placing agency in Alabama. For more information about The Live Initiative and Kids to Love, visit our website at kidstolove.org.