Students plan rally to support suicide prevention
Aug. 15, 2018 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
A group of Northville teens wants to send a message to their peers.
Members of Color My World, a club at Northville High School, hope to make an impact on the more than 2,000 students at the school with a community-focused 5K color run/fun walk on Sept. 15 in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Awareness month.
Club members hope to raise funds to create and launch a series of peer-to-peer mental health awareness activities that will have a direct impact on their fellow students. Their message is that no one is alone and every life matters.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Michigan teens ages 12-18, according to national statistics. One out of six Michigan teens seriously consider suicide (in an average 12- month period) and one out of 11 attempt suicide (in an average 12- month period) according to The Jason Foundation/Detroit Behavioral Institute).
Color My World was founded by Annie Heitmeier, a 16-year-old junior at Northville High School to fill what she described as a profound need at the school: peers were sharing their feelings of sadness and struggle. The club was created to provide a safe, welcoming environment where students could work together to not only lift each other up but create more positivity in the school and to foster understanding about suicide prevention and depression awareness,” Heitmeier said.
“I wanted to do something meaningful to try and help my fellow students,” explained Heitmeier. “Being a teen in 2018 brings different stresses, fears and struggles that can be really hard to work through. This club offers a space where teens can share their feelings, know they aren’t alone and can work together to make a positive impact on the lives of others.”
Sarah Mathew, vice president of Color My World, agrees.
“I joined Color My World because the issues it focuses on are really important to me and to people I know,” explained Mathew. “It’s important to talk about issues because awareness is the way we can stop and solve these problems. People say things but don’t always take action. I’m really proud to stand up and take action for this important and meaningful cause.”
The Color My World Color Run/Walk will begin with check-in at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at Northville High School, 45700 Six Mile Road, Northville. The run/walk will start at approximately 11 a.m. and the event continues until approximately 1 p.m. The run, complete with color powder to reinforce the club name, will route through the adjacent Woodlands North subdivision and end at the high school track. The entry fee is $25 and includes a race t-shirt, color powder during the race, food, refreshments and music. All proceeds will go directly to support the club activities. Registration is online at https://colormyworld.redpodi- um.com/color-my-world-color-run Registrants are encouraged to register by Aug. 26, if possible.
“We’ve been really fortunate that the community, our club sponsor and our school administration have been so supportive of our club and this event,” said Heitmeier.
The high school band, Tink and the Lost Boys, as well as a local disc jockey, DJ Shon, are donating their time and talent to the event. The University of Michigan Depression Center and the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will also have onsite resources avail- able during the run.
The Color Run will also feature an onsite raffle. Highlights include: Autographed Kevin Love Cleveland Cavaliers’ hat and other Cavaliers’ memorabilia; a sterling silver friendship bracelet; gift certificates featuring everything from professional photography, movies, food and bike gear, ice cream, coffee, groceries, a shoe hostess party, mas- sage therapy and more.
The process of planning the color run and working as a team has had a significant impact on club members and leaders.
“I’ve learned that sometimes, people talk about great ideas, but sometimes never really follow through,” explained Jahnavi Rajagopal, Color My World vice-president.
“To actually come together…as a club, a school, a community and actually manage a huge event like this…it’s really amazing. Even if we help just one person, it’s worth it because we want to make a positive change in our community, come together and celebrate life. We’re growing as a club and doing things that are brightening people’s days and I think that’s a really lovely thing.”