Our goal is to bring forth a ray of light to those who may be
suffering alone in darkness.
Our vision is a simple one. Provide resources, extend a helping hand
and a listening ear.
For simply asking…
"Are You Ok?" can change one’s perspective on living.
Our mission is to bestow love, compassion and empathy. Yes, it is a rough journey, but someone must travel it. So let’s no longer travel it alone, but together instead.
Nazarah's Heaven (NsH) is a nonprofit organization formed to assist, give guidance and most importantly, hope and a new sense of purpose to individuals who have dealt with and/or are dealing with mental illness. NsH was created to be a beacon of light and to act as an intermediary and liaison on the behalf of those in low and underserved communities seeking the proper assistance and resources for whatever it is they are battling.
We want to tear down the walls of shame and embarrassment and do away with the stigma that someone who suffers from mental illness cannot live a "normal" life or be productive. The individuals we look forward to proudly serving will feel a sense of importance. For the simplicity of listening, without judgment, can be life changing.
Tameka Smith, NsH’s founder, has three awesome sons. Since the age of 15, after her father passed way, she has battled the ever so crippling twins— bipolar depression and anxiety. And with it being something we now know is documented as being hereditary, and after much research and therapy, she had to come to grips with realizing all of her children struggle with various forms of it as well. As a child, Tameka was sexually abused. The confusion and trauma caused by that is one of the many things that altered her psyche. When crack cocaine was introduced to the world in the mid 80s, early 90s, her father was one of the many individuals who fell victim to it. Although he was what some would call a "functioning addict", it still weighed heavy on the family's hearts and took a heavy toll on the household. On August 5, 1993, her father, affectionately known as "Smitty", unfortunately succumbed to another addiction (alcohol) and passed away from cirrhosis of the liver. Addictive Personality Disorder falls under the mental illness spectrum as well.
While writing the vision and making it plain, the important milestones in NsH development are the many storms Tameka weathered. The countless, sleepless nights. The convoluted thoughts and desire to no longer live—for she felt she had no purpose. Every bit of turbulence, chaos, dysfunction, every tear shed, prayer said and lifted, every form of abuse endured, every up and down, high and low, feeling of aloneness and sadness, has prepared her for this endeavor. There were many times the question "God, why me?" was posed; however, when reflecting, and even while still in the midst and having difficult days, she knows it was and is building her to be someone who is able to fully understand and empathize with the many, many people whose lives are similar. For sympathizing simply is not enough. One of Tameka's mantras is "How can you shrink, if you’ve never been shrunk?"®™. You had to have experienced something life and mind-altering to fully understand and grasp the magnitude.
The nonprofit’s name, NsH, the butterflies and colors chosen for them, all have significant meaning. In 2007, another one of the mind-altering experiences Tameka endured—causing one of the umpteen lengthy bouts of depression and feeling of worthlessness—was giving birth to a beautiful, angelic baby girl. Sadly, due to underdeveloped lungs, she passed away. That beautiful, angelic baby girl's name was Nazarah Heaven. Prior to Tameka knowing what the outcome would be, she named her daughter Nazarah to pay homage to God. For Christians believe, Nazareth is the place Jesus was born and Heaven is the place where Christians aspire to go once they have crossed over.
The butterflies are a symbol of how one transitions from one phase in their life to the other. When Nazarah passed away, there was an arch of butterflies placed over the hospital's room threshold in the NICU, which is the staff's way of informing everyone an infant has expired. From that moment on, and to keep Nazarah close to her heart, Tameka became fixated on the beautiful creature. It is now her special way of never forgetting the precious gift of life God chose her to carry.
The colors chosen are the colors used in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness ribbon. After countless, intimate talks with various people and realizing mental illness has become an epidemic, now affecting the masses, Tameka realized her purpose and Nazarah’s Heaven was born.
If you live in Anne Arundel County, MD, the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency is a great resource for Suicide Prevention. To reach their Crisis Warmline, please call 410-768-5522.
If you live outside of Anne Arundel County, but reside in the State of Maryland, please call 2-1-1 (Option 1) or send a text to 898-211 to reach the State of Maryland's Crisis Hotline.
If you live outside of the State of Maryland, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is an awesome resource and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!