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Sanibel school hosts assembly focused on suicide prevention

By Staff | Feb 1, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Will Hutcherson, with the Youth Leadership Collective, speaks to the fifth- through eighth-grade students at The Sanibel School on Feb. 1.

The Sanibel School’s fifth- through eighth-grade students gathered on Feb. 1 in the cafeteria to hear from guest speaker Will Hutcherson, with the Youth Leadership Collective.

The non-profit organization partners with educators and parents to heal despair in teens.

“The number of suicide attempts in teens has doubled in the last 10 years,” Hutcherson said. “We do what we do to show students that no matter how bad things are, they can still have hope. They should never make a permanent decision based on a temporary problem.”

His presentation, entitled “Flip the Script,” consisted of games, interactive illustrations, videos and a 20-minute talk that covered topics like bullying, depression, family problems and other hardships that can contribute to despair.

“Some of you are believing the lie that no one cares about you,” Hutcherson said. “The truth is that there are people in this room who care about you. Your teachers and administrators are not your roadblocks to success. They’re your pathway to it.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Assistant Principal Jamie Reid, Will Hutcherson and Principal Charles Vilardi.

The purpose of the presentation was to encourage students to talk to a teacher or parent if they are thinking about hurting themselves or someone else. Hutcherson also explained that even though people may disrespect or bully them, it does not change their value. In fact, they have the opportunity to change the world through acts of kindness toward those around them.

“I think the assembly hit home with the students, especially about how they can change the world with acts of kindness,” Principal Charles Vilardi said.

The Youth Leadership Collective hosts assemblies across the country to promote positive school culture and help teachers build relationships with students. For more information, visit youthleadershipcollective.com.