The Edmond Sun
BMX star and local legend Mat Hoffman knows what’s it like to fall from great heights and find yourself at one of the worst low points in life. He also knows how to climb back up and tackle life’s problems head on.
And that’s the message he is bringing to Edmond-area teens with a new Public Service Announcement that debuted last week by Be Edmond, a project of Edmond Family Counseling.
Hoffman joined other local residents in the project, telling teens that it’s possible for them to break through life’s challenges. If they fall, there are people here who will catch them or help them back up.
The PSA video, found at www.beedmond.com, is part of a larger project to put information in the hands of teenagers so that they can better help themselves and their friends who might feel powerless or stuck in a downward spiral.
Kathy Matthews, Be Edmond coordinator, said the organization is trying to provide the tools teens need to become more aware of how to find help with life’s daily problems. “We want to help teens be more independent in helping themselves,” she said.
That independence can be crucial when a teen is in crisis and thinks there is no way to find help. Be Edmond was generated after a teen suicide crisis hit Edmond. With 13 suicides in 2012 — not all of them teens — and more already in 2013, community members are looking for ways to help adults and teens alike cope with such a tragic loss of life.
Matthews said in one year’s time, Edmond Family Counseling has found several community partners to help create the Be Edmond program, which they believe will be a lifeline to teens who may not know who to turn to for advice.
Organizers have raised $20,000, thanks to a donation by Citizens Bank, to create a teen-friendly app with video content addressing topics as diverse as what happens when someone calls 911 to how to help a friend in crisis. The project needs another $10,000 before the end of June in order to have the app ready for launch at the start of the next school year in August. Without that funding, it could be an additional 6-12 months before the app launches, Matthews said.
While Edmond is viewed as a community of privilege — and it is blessed in many ways — that doesn’t mean that being a teenager is any more magical or easier in Edmond than it is elsewhere. Edmond teens have many opportunities — both good ones and bad ones. It’s up to families and community members to help our youth navigate life’s ups and downs, and end that feeling of isolation. There are hundreds of charitable options in Edmond, but we are hard-pressed to find one more worthy at this juncture than Be Edmond.
Secure online donations may be made to www.beedmond.com or mail or deliver a check to Edmond Family Counseling, 1251 N. Broadway, Ste. C, Edmond, OK 73034. Make checks out to EFC and indicate Be Edmond in the memo line.