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Parents, Students, and Community Members Invited to "Hurricane of Hope," A Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program

April 13, 2012

            Township High School District 214, in partnership with local social service agencies, is hosting a community event to bring the issue of suicide and depression out of the darkness.
            Parents, students, and community members are invited to Hurricane of Hope, a day devoted to raising awareness and open communication about teen suicide, depression, and anxiety, on Saturday, May 5, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Rd., Arlington Heights.
            The day's events include guest speakers, interactive games, a lap around the track in solidarity to A-C-T (Acknowledge, Care, Tell), and more. Keynote speaker and Harper College Adjunct Professor Frank J. Klawitter, M.Ed., MCP, will speak on the topic, "Weathering the Storm."
            "One of our missions is to break down the walls of stereotypes and stigmas related to suicide, depression, and anxiety," said Hurricane of Hope Co-chair and Prospect High School Principal Kurt Laakso. "We hope to reduce the incidences of teen suicide and attempted suicide by encouraging participants to take the A-C-T pledge and connect people who need help with those in the community who can provide it."
            Since 2006, seven District 214 students have committed suicide, four within the past two years. "Suicide is a tragedy that impacts families, friends, and the community," says Venetia L. Miles, director of community relations and Hurricane of Hope co-chair. "While every District 214 school has a suicide prevention program and resources available to help students, we were compelled to bring awareness to the issues of suicide, depression, and anxiety on a district-wide level with community participation."
            To connect people who need help with those who can provide it, a Community Resource Fair will be held the same day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Forest View Educational Center Field House. Agency representatives will provide information about mental health, career training, education, housing, transition services, and much more. Parents, school staff, service providers, and community members are encouraged to attend.
            The Hurricane of Hope/Community Resource Fair is being held in partnership with Erika's Lighthouse, Alexian Center for Mental Health, Elyssa's Mission, Omni Youth Services, North Cook Intermediate Service Center, and District 214.
            For more information, contact Venetia L. Miles at venetia.miles@d214.org or 847.718.7607.


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