Time to catch up on happenings within Drews Foundation. Have been dealing with some health issues and find myself a little behind.
Cama-i dance festival starts this coming Friday and runs thru Sunday. Once again “A Place of Memory” will be open and honoring and remembering those lost to suicide. Please stop by if you are at the festival. The room is always a place of positive spiritual energy and healing.
On April 12 and 13th The Winter Bear Project will be returning to Bethel with their powerful suicide prevention play based on the life of Athabascan Elder Sydney Huntington. The group will perform two days at the Bethel Regional High School. Performances will follow in Aniak on the 15th, Kalskag on the 17th, Nikolai on the 19th, and McGrath on the 21st. If you live in or close to any of these communities please gather your family and go see the play. It is very powerful and healing. A very positive message.
Our annual spring walk is in the planning stages and hopefully we will have information out next week. Stay tuned.
SEE YOU AT CAMA-I !!!!
Met some nice young people from Wasilla High School. (Camryn and Lance) They were in Bethel with Deb Casello promoting the You Are Not Alone program. This program teaches kids to mentor other kids on the signs of suicide and how to help if you recognize someone exhibiting any of those signs. Very cool program because kids are talking to other kids. We traded some wristbands and I watched their presentation to the Bethel High School student
Drew’s Foundation was happy to facilitate the travel of 7 young women from Bethel to an All Girls Wrestling Tournament held in Sitka, Alaska this past weekend, Dec. 5-6. The young women competed in a round robin tourney on Friday and a bracketed championship tourney on Saturday. All the girls got at least 6 matches and some had 10. Competing were Amber Wade, Cassandra David, Kelly and Haley O’Brien, Elisha Naneng, Andrea Wuya, and Allison Pleasent.
Wrestling teaches confidence, motivation, strength and teamwork. Our hope is that these young ladies, thru their own empowerment, can become role models and mentors for other young women. Women CAN do whatever they want and be successful at it, even something like wrestling.
Our special thanks goes out to the O’Brien family for their donation of air miles, to Kuskokwim Learning Academy administration for juggling tickets, and to all the girls that competed. Their performance and behavior were awesome.
Drews Foundation is grateful to be able to support Mao Tosi and AK PRIDE by donating some airline tickets for the groups recent trip to Bethel, Hooper Bay and Chevak. Mao’s group seems to really connect with young people and we are happy to support his efforts especially in Hooper Bay.
On this Veterans Day please be especially mindful of those who do and have served our country. Their treatment by those in charge of taking care of vets is a national disgrace. As common citizens please reach out to vets. Thank them for their service, give to Veteran Support Groups ands reach out especially to those recently returning from service. Remember the 22.
For the 4th consecutive year Drew’s Foundation is able to be a major sponsor of Pete Kaiser and Kaiser Racing. Pete continues to to “live his dream” and to promote suicide awareness across the YK Delta and the State of Alaska. We are proud to include Pete in our group of young people living positive life styles and making a difference in their communities.
Our heartfelt and continued gratitude go out to Chad Moore at Specialty Supply for selflessly supporting Drew’s Foundation and making our donation possible. Thanks also to AML for their freight contribution in getting the dogfood to Bethel.
Our region has experienced an increased number of suicides this past summer and fall. We all need to reach out to those around us and offer support and a caring attitude. I implore especially young people to look out for each other. You know who is hurting. I think we all know the “signs”. Let’s read them and take action.
School is back in full swing and people are settling into their routines with work and kids and sports and all those things that seem different from the carefree summer months. But this summer brought many challenges to our region. Prices are still super high and many struggle to make ends meet. We also had a rash of suicides. Sometimes all the efforts to spread prevention and awareness seem to make little difference and its hard not to get discouraged. But we just keep on for isn’t this what we tell people-THINGS WILL GET BETTER-NEVER GIVE UP. So in keeping with that, Drew’s Foundation has just tried to keep plugging away.
In late July we were able to send two young men to JRob wrestling camp. Carl Charlie and Alex “Boff” Larsen went to Ashland Oregon in late July for two weeks of intensive training. They were chosen because of their great work ethic and general deportment in the school setting. They are just the type of young men that we like to support as they set a good example for their peers.
In early September I and my son went to Kalskag by boat and I spoke to a gathering of the junior and senior high school students. I told them my story and the story of our family. how pain walks with us every day and how we still miss Drew so much. It was a very emotional gathering and many kids approached me after with thanks and nice comments. That made the effort so worthwhile.
The Winter Bear Project may return to Bethel. A visit to the LKSD school board obtained a commitment from the board to help sponsor two performances at BRHS sometime in the spring. There are lots of details to work out but we are very excited to have the possibility of bringing this powerful performance back to Bethel. More updates on this as the year progresses.
Today would be Drew’s birthday and it always brings memories and tears. I still ask those same stupid questions that have no answers and my heart still hurts so deeply. If you are thinking about suicide please call someone. never give up. Don’t make your little sisters and brothers and parents and family and friends go thru the pain you are feeling. Please don’t pass it on.