Holidays can be a time of great joy for many but also a time of sadness. The Rotary Club of Middlefield Burton is tackling serious issues affecting teens this year. Most people know Burton for beautiful farms and maple syrup. As we have seen lately all cities are being impacted heavily by problems that were once in isolated regions. This is true in the recent rise in suicides among teens.
The Rotary Club of Burton Middlefield is tackling the issues of suicide in the community. Inspired by the Four Way Test speeches of local students they were driven to make a difference in the community. Burton Middlefield has seen three suicides of teens in the last three years. There is even a higher rate of attempted suicide. The students had just recently lost a friend to suicide and the teacher encouraged them to express their concerns about the topic by entering the Rotary 4 Way Speech contest as a way to heal.
The purpose of the speech is to apply the principles of Rotary International’s 4 Way Test to a current ethical issues. Students are challenged to identify a topic they feel passionate about and to adopt a point of view from which they will seek to persuade others. It should be something from the speaker’s personal experience or general knowledge. There are no restrictions regarding the choice of topic as long as it is not blatantly offensive.
Each part of the Four-Way Test should be addressed during the speech. They should be specifically stated, as the intent of the speech is to use the 4 Way Test to resolve an issue.
Each part could be used to prove either a positive or negative point. The Rotary Four Way test is as follows.
“Of the things we think, say or do:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Statistics show that suicide is climbing to be the number one cause of death among teens 10-14 in this country. The club was so moved by their stories that they began to partner with several community-based organizations to address this issue. By partnering with these organizations, they hope that they can share some of their solutions here with other communities. The organizations provide the mental health expertise and Rotary assists with funding for new and innovative programs within their region.
They partnered with Geauga Educational Service to implement youth led prevention with trained professionals to go to school to provide programs concerning mental health with their peers. This empowers kids to tackle the issue of mental health and customize their own treatment programs for youth led prevention.
An example of a project is that they had the students redesigned the posters for the hotlines to reflect things that an adult might not see when placing images in a suicide prevention poster that provides the resource numbers. The posters addressed issues the kids see that would cause a student to know that they are not alone and can get help with specific situations. These posters always reference professional resources to obtain assistance.
The Rotary Club supports NAMI a resource for families of those who have committed suicide or have people who have mental health issues. Suicide affects more than just the individual but the whole family. https://namigeauga.org/suicide-prevention-coalition-2/
Last but not least the Rotary Club also supports the food bank efforts and homelessness of veterans in their area. There is a rising rate of suicide among veterans. Last year they donated $7000.00 to the local food bank for veterans that serve 80-100 families weekly.
Rotary Burton-Middlefield’s focus is strengthening the community. The addition of suicide prevention to their missions will go a long way. If people would like to help in this effort, they are having a raffle fundraiser that will raise funds for these programs. Prizes include a car, jewelry, cash and much more. We are all in this together making the world a better place one community at a time.
The raffle details can be found at http://www.maplesplashraffle.com. “With over 52 Clubs and 1,900 members in Northeast, Ohio, we are committed to making a difference in the lives of others in our communities and beyond through our time, talents and treasures.” -Rotary District 6630