About a month ago, I blogged about the fact that my agency, Suicide Prevention Services of America, was, yet again, facing financial difficulties due to the economy. This announcement, I'm sure, was similar to many others that people read every day or hear every day. The uniqueness of our agency, and the fact that so many people have been touched by suicide, may be responsible, in some small part, for the wonderful response I received.
The first person to respond was my daughter, and fellow blogger, and SPS Volunteer Facebook manager, Jen Slepicka. She created a lantern fesitval, arranged for it to occur which meant getting permission from any variety of places including the City of Yorkville, and began to market it to be held September 1 in tandem with Yorkville's Hometown Days. The drought conditions aren't in our favor so it needs to be postponed since the lanterns would be lit and fire safety is a huge concern. I have no doubt that this festival WILL happen because the cause is right and Jen's determination and commitment to SPS is as huge as her heart. Not only did her grandmother die by suicide but she has had several friends who have had relatives die the same way.
Next to respond was a fellow survivor who sells collectibles online. He is close to launching his wares with all of the proceeds coming to SPS.
Next was Jillian, yes THAT Jillian, my daughter's close friend who just happens to be the Editor of Yorkville Patch. She collaborated with Robyn, owner of Whitewater Ice Cream in Yorkville. On August 15, from 6-9 p.m., 50 cents for every item sold will come to SPS.
The awareness that these events will raise is beyond anything that I could hope for. While SPS has been around for 14 years, many people still don't know what it is we do - www.spsamerica.org.
"Build it and they will come" has, for me, turned into "Let them know and they will help." I also am quite aware that other people are stepping up to the plate and offering what little money and energy they have because they want to "make this world a bit safer and better."
About an hour ago, I received a call from Gina at the St. Charles Colonial Cafe. Each year, or even twice a year, Colonial has their "penny a pancake" day and I have heard that many, many people go there to eat. Gina said, in collaboration with longtime SPS supporter and Colonial Worker, Lizzie, that they would like to let us have the entire day. We can come in and give small talks to the customers. They are open from 5:30-10:00 p.m. Their servers will wear SPS t-shirts. Donation jars will be availble. Lizzie lost many friends to suicide when she was in high school. Again, the awarenss will be heightened.
Our annual "Here for Life" Walk, is Saturday, September 8, 2012. Last year, over 300 people came to participate. All food and beverages are donated. We strive to make sure that almost everything gets donated. Again, people come forth to help. Please watch our website and Facebook page for updates. You can register to walk and raise money or you can support someone who is already walking. All of these details are on our website.
Last Wednesday, at the SOSA (survivors of suicide attempts) support group that I help to run twice a month, many said they are planning to raise money and walk. Each person there has struggled and continues to struggle at times with depression and suicidal ideation. Depression knows no boundaries; it can come to anyone at any time. It doesn't care if you are rich or poor; it doesn't care if you are young or old; it simply doesn't care. It appears...There is still so much to be learned about this illness which can and often does lead to suicide.
Our doors remain open and we are staffed with outstanding clinicians who are known as suicidologists because they trained long and hard in this field.
If you know of someone who has died by suicide or if you have struggled with suicidal ideation or if you are a human being who could, at any time, be faced with either of the aforementioned, please help. I am grateful each and every day to so many.
Jennifer and my son, Michael, and I will be walking in memory of my Mom, Ellen Weber, who died by suicide on September 5, 1979. Our team is the JEMS (Jen, Ellen, Mike, and Stephanie). Won't you join us? If you can't join us, can you support us?
Jennnifer's son, Ryan, turns 6 the day of the Walk. What a great birthday gift to him to give something to honor the memory of a great grandma he never know except by stories we all tell about her.
The creativity of events, the willingness of people to help, and the determination of all of us to make a difference, has come together.
The universe is responding ...