I wrote a blog this past summer. I talked about Suicide Prevention Services need for more funding. We are 1 of just 7 such agencies in this country that offer all services for suicide prevention under one roof. We specialize in depression, grief, and suicide. We are not a one-size-fits-all agency. Several of you loyal Patch readers wrote beautiful comments in support of SPS. Several of you contacted me and began to do some fundraisers.
My daughter, fellow Patch blogger, Jen Slepicka and her 2 loyal sidekicks, Jillian and Rob, kicked into gear. The result? Last Saturday's Stars of Hope Lantern Festival.
While much has been written before and after the event, I want to add my words of thanks and praise. This single, first-time event, touched more lives than I could have imagined. Jen and I stood with wonder and amazement on our faces as hundreds and hundreds of people poured into the high school stadium. What touched me deeply were the amount of families that came out for this . My husband summed it up best on the way home when he said, "this was a community event." This festival was about "hope" not grief. While some people were indeed grieving, many, many others faces and hearts were filled with hope and love. I saw people at this event that I have not seen for years!
After the event, some of us went to Cobblestone (my favorite restaurant ) and we were, as usual, warmly welcomed. The people working there all know the infamous trio of Jen, Jillian, and Rob. They know me as well. They were buzzing about the lanterns, saying they had gone outside to see the "wonder of them". Robyn the Whitewater Ice Cream owner 's presence was also felt that evening. Robyn has done a great deal to support and raise awareness for SPS.
Many other lantern festivals will grow out of this. I hope that people will do those to raise both funds and awareness for SPS. Yet nothing can or will ever compare to this inaugural one. The magic hasn't yet gone away. The buzz continues. I want to thank the entire community of Yorkville and then Kendall County for their support. Coming into town I started to cry as I passed the signs, first on Travel Services of Yorkville:"Welcome SPS Sky Lantern Festival Stars of Hope". Next was the welcoming sign on the sign high outside of the Kendall Pub.
From what my daughter tells me, from the approval given by the school district to the support from city leaders, this was a great, community supported event from the very beginning. Every where she went asking for help, people reached out a hand and had a smile on their face. I am aware of recent suicides and suicide attempts in Kendall County. For years, SPS has quietly worked with your survivors, your schools, and your grief counselors.
It is our desire and plan to build a presence in your county and in your communities. We are looking for donated space slowly starting to have a presence there 1day a week. We receive no direct funding from Kendall County but we believe that our specialty is valued and needed. If you can help us to make this happen, please let me know.
I thank you Yorkville. I thank you to each and every person who helped to make this happen. I thank each and every person who came out that chilly evening. I thank you Jillian and Rob.
I thank you, Jen...I love you so much...
• Sky Lantern Festival This Saturday!
• Today is World Suicide Awareness Day. September 10th.