Continuing The Fight This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When faced with the death of a friend, teenagers can be found huddled together crying and laughing over fond memories of the one who is gone. In some cases, they discuss the tragedies involved with the accidental death, while in others, they whisper about the tragedy of teen suicide.

According to studies, the greatest number of teen suicides are among gifted children who had one thing in common: a lack of self-respect brought on by a lack of love in their family. Sociologists tell us suicide is the third most common cause of death for those between ages 15 to 24. More than 7,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 19 take their lives each year. Suicide seems to be reaching epidemic proportions.

When I learned about the suicide of a classmate nine months ago, I forced myself to find some good that might come out of it. I found myself telling his friends how his actions, when alive, had set an example for others. But the phrase "an example" had no real meaning until I read a story about another boy who had taken his own life. After reading this article, I realized how something positive - suicide awareness and prevention - result from such a tragedy.

When Mike Emme died in Westminster, Colorado, his friends and family decided to speak out on the issue, so they started the Yellow Ribbon Project and the Light For Life Foundation. Beginning in his home town, it has spread throughout the United States, and even other countries.

I called Mike's mother and father in Colorado and asked how I could spread the message of suicide awareness in my area. The message of life started with that phone call, as did shipments of yellow ribbons, stickers, flyers and business cards that read:

"Yellow Ribbon Project"

In loving memory of Michael Emme. This Ribbon Is A Lifeline: It carries the message that there are those who care and will help. If you (or anyone else) are in need and don't know how to ask for help, take this, or any yellow ribbon or card, to a counselor, teacher, priest, rabbi, minister, parent or friend and say: "I'd like to use my yellow ribbon."

The Emme's story has been published in A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul and Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul which can be found in bookstores.

Be a lifeline, be aware and helpful, and dedicate part of your life to listening and helping others. That is the most helpful way to soothe the soul of someone who feels alone and afraid. If you or someone you know would like to receive a ribbon, card, stickers or more information on suicide prevention, please contact The Light for Life Foundation, 5209 Marione Drive, Carmichael, CA 95608. or visit the website at http://www.yellowribbon.org. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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