The 4th annual Walk for Life will be held on May 10th at 11:00 am starting at the Cultural Center parking lot. There will be a 5K run starting at the same time for those wishing to go a little faster.  The run/walk will end at Lions Club Park.  Please join us and show your support for suicide prevention in the YK Delta.

For the third year Drews Foundation hosted A Place of Memory at the Cama-i Dance Festival. As has happened the past two years there were tears, smiles, hugs, thoughts, and so many other emotions connected with healing and remembering. By Sunday the emotional and spiritual energy in the room was so strong.
This year I was joined in the room by a very remarkable woman and three extraordinary young ladies from the Tanana 4-H Club. This is a group of empowered young people who are “Breaking the Silence” and talking about what they hate in their lives. (Abuse, neglect, alcohol and drugs, sexual assault and molestation, suicide, bullying and more) and what they love and how they would change things. Arriving on Wednesday they went right to work presenting at Bethel Jr/Sr High School health and PE classes. This continued thru Thursday and Friday . Friday afternoon, along with the TAAV (Teens Acting Against Violence) kids, they helped set up the Memory Room. Throughout the weekend they connected with young people from around the Delta. It was truly inspiring to watch, listen and learn. Please watch their u-tube video at Tanana 4-H Breaking the Silence.
I want to thank these young people and their leader Cynthia Erikson for an awesome job. Thanks to the TAAV kids for their great help. Every year they step up, do a wonderful job and make my work easier. Thanks to John Wallace for his continuing tech support and to Linda Curda who gave me permission to start this three years ago and who now is such a big supporter. Thanks to all those who visit the room-you are why we do this.

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It has been a busy time this past month as Drew’s Foundation patches have been crossing the great State of Alaska during the past month as our sponsored teams crossed the State using traditional and modern forms of transportation!

Drews Foundation would like to thank Iron Dog Team 19 Gux Lareau and Steven Boney for carrying our positive lifestyles/ suicide prevention message during the recent running of the 2014 Iron Dog Snowmachine Race.  There were so many good reports of their willingness to share their time and stories.  Having just arrived in Tanana for a mandatory layover the boys were spirited off to the school where they shared with the students.  They were gracious, humble and sharing (maybe a little cold and tired also) and much appreciated.  Many thanks to them for their continued support of Drews Foundation.  THANKS GUYS.

 

Just this past week both Pete Kaiser of Bethel and Mike Williams Jr. of Akiak finished the 2014 Iditarod on one of the toughest trails in memory. The Team’s perseverance and patience are inspiration to all after hearing some of the tough conditions that they faced during this year’s event. Hear what Mike had to say about us in his pre-race interview:

 

For our family the New Year brings hope and expectation as it does for most families. For us it also brings an anniversary. Three years ago this coming night our son took his life. This fact never leaves us nor does a day go by that its not thought about. And in 3 more days we will have the anniversary of when he was found and we got that phone call. These anniversaries will continue and with them the memories and yes the pain will return. As each one in our family deals with these dates in their own way we draw on our love for each other and our bonds as a family.

As the New Year begins take your strength, your smiles, your helping hands, and share them. Offer them to someone who seems to be in need. You will rarely be wrong.
And if you are low, depressed, in pain, or seeing no way out, call someone. Talk to someone. Stop for just a moment and reach out. Someone loves you, someone wants to help. Suicide is never the answer. Peace in the coming year.

Drew’s Foundation director Paul O’Brien was included in a group of Alaskan Survivors of Suicide gathered by the State to discusss the status of postvention systems and services in Alaska.  The group was also asked to consider the future of postvention in the state.  The results of these deliberations will be presented back to the state on how to enhance and improve systems and services in Alaska particularly with respect to those affected by suicide attempts and fatalities.   A report is in the works but more work needs to be done.  If anyone has specific ideas about how postvention services might be created and/or delivered please contact us at Drew’s Foundation with your ideas.  The statewide Suicide Summit is convening in early January and that will present an opportunity to further discuss these ideas.  Contact Paul at 545-3606 or e-mail at obrienak69@gmail.com.  You can also contact on our Facebook page.

Drews Foundation is happy to once again sponsor Pete Kaiser and Mike Williams Jr with a donation of Dr. Tims dog food.  These two veteran Iditarod mushers exemplify the positive lifestyle choices that Drews Foundation supports.  We believe that Pete and Mike Jr. are both good examples of how young people can be positive role models and good members of their communities.

Our donation is made possible through the generous giving of Speciality Supply and Northland Services.  Speciality donates the dog food and Northland provides the shipping. Our sincere thanks to both companies for their support.

Please watch for Pete and Mike during the upcoming mushing season.  Good luck guys.