For the Kids

Jaclyn and Scott Stapp Pay It Forward

Article by Ashley Hutcheson

Photography by Amanda Campbell, Suitcase and Camera

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

The way Jaclyn and Scott Stapp met have the romantic makings of a Hallmark movie. Scott chivalrously hailed Jaclyn a cab while she was visiting Miami, and they ended up maintaining contact long-distance for months before they attended their first outing together—fittingly, a charity event. Their faith-based approach to marriage and raising children has driven them to focus on others and encourage the community to do so as well. Scott and Jaclyn are the backbones of two strong, forward-thinking organizations that focus on the mental wellness of individuals while meeting the physical and material needs as well.

Jaclyn created CHARM: Children Are Magical with a strong focus on mental wellness. CHARM supports and encourages children while also creating arenas in which parents and guardians can get help for themselves. Just recently, CHARM put on its Back to School Bash. The Bash provides backpacks full of school supplies to underprivileged children. CHARM and its supporters understand that having necessary resources, like school supplies, bolster the children's confidence and allows them to come into the educational setting and concentrate on their lesson and not worry if they have the correct materials. The Bash also provides back-to-school basics like haircuts and dental exams, taking care of needs that boost self-esteem and encourage kids to be their best selves. Protecting the children’s time as kids is the success of CHARM. Helping to meet their needs in that way prevents underprivileged children from focusing on the "grown-up" issues and allows them to be children.

Scott founded the With Arms Wide Open Foundation more than 20 years ago. The foundation focuses on providing help to those affected by PTSD, addiction and depression, working closely with the armed forces and concentrating on children and their families. The organization supports overarching wellness of the person its treating. Having a pay-it-forward outlook and wanting to give back to each city and those who support him and his music as he toured, Scott began partnering with other groups, like Second Harvest Food Bank.

Both With Arms Wide Open Foundation and CHARM seek to open doors, find universal bonds and break down walls. The encouragement the organizations bring by allowing a safe space for people to have feelings, emotion and bring meaning back into their life is “like medicine,” Scott says. A large focus of his organization is music therapy. He can attest to witnessing the salve music can be for mental health. Specifically, with troops overseas, Scott wants to provide that taste-of-home-feeling to inspire, enlighten and lift up those having a hard time being away from family, friends and their normal environment. Having been in Japan post-tsunami, watching people who had lost everything, including their families, who had not spoken or interacted, respond to his music only deepens his efforts to reach out to those who need it.

Both hands-on parents, Jaclyn and Scott encourage their children to be empathetic, not only by example but also by bringing the children along and having them get involved. While glitz and glam follow the couple, there is a “don’t-bring-it-home” philosophy and positivity that runs through the Stapp household. When he isn't generously donating his time and talent, Scott is coaching his kids, the whole family is cruising downtown Main Street stopping at the ice cream shop or catching a show at the Franklin Theatre. Continuing to focus and use music as his tool, Scott’s third solo album, recorded right here in Nashville, drops in May with the first single hitting airwaves in February.

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