BERLIN – Officials with the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program have announced plans to start a volunteer liaison effort in schools across Worcester County.
Dina Jones, outreach coordinator for the non-profit, said the program is looking for volunteers to visit each public middle and high school in the county once every two or three months to provide resources and contact information on the topic of suicide.
“We would like to have one, hopefully two volunteers, for each school,” she said. “We will try to accommodate people in their area.”
Jones said the program realized the need for such material after giving a presentation on suicide to students at Snow Hill middle and high schools and Pocomoke High School.
She said the presentation gave students the opportunity to ask questions, learn the warning signs and receive reference cards and wristbands with a hotline number.
“We gave each of the kids this information, and we realize they were taking more wrist bands and cards,” she said. “We thought if that information was at the guidance office for them to freely get, they would.”
In addition to providing materials and connecting teachers to classroom presentation opportunities, the volunteers will act as a point of contact for the schools.
For that reason, Jones said volunteers will be required to complete a one or two hour training course before entering the schools.
“The training is to make sure everyone is on the same page,” she said.
The training is to familiarize volunteers with information and resources regarding suicide, according to Jones. The material itself contains phone numbers, websites, warning signs and the like.
“Just going into the schools and helping them identify signs and talk about bullying and having that open conversation has been great,” she said. “We are trying to end the stigma of not being able to talk about it.”
Jones plans for volunteers with the program to visit Pocomoke, Snow Hill and Stephen Decatur middle and high schools. The program will also be reaching out to Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School and Worcester Preparatory School for further opportunities to provide materials and presentations.
“What we are hoping to do is find individuals who will provide an hour at most to provide materials,” she said. “It’s nice having that piece of paper there, even if you may not need it for months.”
Jones said those interested in participating as a volunteer can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-430-0627.
“The more they see, the more they are aware,” she said.
The Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program is a program of the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, and partners with organizations in a goal to end suicide.