I did an event for the Regional YMCA Leader’s Club Rally. Leader’s Club is a club for teens. I so enjoyed myself. I asked the rally coordinator, Janice, for feedback. Since it was the first time I’d done this suicide prevention and resilience type exercise with the teenagers, I felt like it went well due to the engagement but couldn’t know for sure. I started with my story and was entirely emotionally naked about how I felt when I heard the news and how I fought back to forgive myself after my son’s suicide and what I learned in that difficult process.
I am dying to do this exercise again as it had such a profound effect on me and the groups of teens I was with. They were hesitant at first and then they really engaged and then we were all into it. All of a sudden the hour was up and I wanted to add time!
This was the feedback. And yeah I’m still crying. It’s too late for my boy. But there are other teens struggling and I want them to feel that they are not alone. The kids I had were so open and transparent and came up to give me hugs.
I did want to thank you for sharing your story and taking the time to engage with the youth. Many teens left your class reflecting on life and ready to open up about the issues they were facing with the other adult teen/youth workers at the YMCA Leader’s Club Regional rally.
Your class was a bridge that encouraged teens and some of the attending parents to have those difficult conversations about self love, authenticity, depression and teen suicide. One teen in particular, who identifies as transgender, expressed how your class helped him identify and accept who he is becoming. He also shared he once thought about dying by suicide and was ashamed but after hearing that others were facing the same issues helped him realize he was not alone.
It warmed my heart to hear this as I know from experience this is something that many teens today are unable to do. I believe your presentation and activity was extremely helpful and while I am sorry about the loss of your son and his story, your willingness to share is saving the lives of many teens.
The post-its by the teens. Such a simple exercise.