Story by Liza Weidle
Cary, NC- This past year saw 2 suicide deaths at Green Hope High School. No one saw them coming, but the sister of one of the students, Victoria Bennis, is determined to help prevent future tragedies.
Victoria says, “Losing my younger brother John to suicide nine months ago has completely changed my life. It was as if everything that ever mattered to me disappeared. Things that used to make me happy seemed meaningless. I felt as if a part of me was gone and I would never be that same optimistic, cheerful woman again. But I didn’t give up.”
Citizens committed to awareness and prevention
In early May, a committed group of parents met with Green Hope High administrators including Principal Dr. James Hedrick and Coach Stephen Katz to talk about a youth suicide awareness and prevention initiative.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the group began meeting with health care professionals and non-profit organizations including “Save the Teens.” Once criteria for a PTSA Health and Safety Committee (headed by Liza Weidle, former PTSA president) was established, the group reached out to the Green Hope community.They held their first meeting on June 23.
Since then, more than two dozen parents, students, and community members have worked to plan the first annual “Save a Life” 5K event for Saturday, September 11, 2010.
“When I first received an email regarding the GHHS PTSA Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Committee I knew in my heart it was what I needed to be a part of. If I couldn’t go back and change the past, then I was surely going to make a difference for the future. Teenage Suicide is becoming an epidemic and something needs to be done fast! Our goal is to raise awareness of teen suicide and educate the community about possible solutions. The first annual “Save A Life” walk is our first step towards promoting a safer environment for our youth and with your help and support we can all work together to make a difference!” – Victoria Bennis
Registration is $20 and includes a pancake breakfast and a T-shirt.
Registration forms are available in the GHHS office and online at Active.com/running. They can be dropped off at Green Hope High School. If people are are interested in donating, but do not wish to walk, checks can be made to: GHHS PTSA and contact Liza Weidle.
Saturday, September 11, 2010 @ 9:00 AM
Green Hope High School
2500 Carpenter Upchurch Road
Registration Closing Date
Saturday, September 11, 2010 @ 8:59 AM
The money raised from the 5K will go towards bringing a Yellow Ribbon trainer to the Cary area to train committee members and other PTSA groups.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is based on the premise that suicide is not just about death, but rather about ending pain and that it’s OK to ask for help. Yellow Ribbon cards are distributed and carried as a simple, effective tool to use to ask for help when feelings of suicide arise.
The card has proven to be a lifeline because it is a reminder to young people that they have permission to ask for help, it helps them talk when they may not have the words and it tells the recipient of the card how to help the suicidal person.