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Sunday, February 21, 2021 marks the three-year anniversary of Jake’s death.

 

While the pain and grief we experience is still palpable… we remain hopeful. There is so much to love about our community and the people around us. There is so much to remain hopeful for. Please celebrate this kindness, hope, and optimism by “Painting the Town Blue” with us this weekend. The last two years there was amazing community outpouring as the signature blue smile kept popping up on snowbanks all around town. We encourage you to do the same or come up with your own way to spread joy.

(BTW – please don’t permanently deface property… we like to use biodegradable spray chalk.)
And please share photos or videos of your smile on Friday using the hashtags #WeAreAllJake or #PaintTheTownBlue!
As always, if you feel hopeless and don’t know where to turn or know of someone who is having a hard time, please reach out. Among others, Crisis Line and Bridges of Hope are two great local resources. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available 24/7 – 800-273-8255, suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Kids Struggle Too

There’s no denying that 2020 has brought some significant challenges to families, businesses, and entire communities… and our youngest citizens are not immune to these trials and tribulations. If you are a parent, grandparent, or caregiver to a child, please consider their well being and mental health. Just as adults face uncertainty and anxiety, so do our kids.

Based on suggestions from mental health professionals at Cornell University, we’ve put together a list of five things that you can do to support healthy habits – both for you AND the kids in your life.

>> download a PDF version <<

We consulted with the team of mental health professionals at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and here’s what they shared:

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children.
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting).
  • Excessive worry or sadness.
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits.
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens.
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school.
  • Difficulties with attention and concentration.
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past.
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain.
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

It is important to check in with your child’s healthcare provider should you observe any of these signs or symptoms. Particularly if they are severe, or persist beyond a couple of days.

If your situation is more urgent, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Bridges of Hope, Crisis Line and Referral, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

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#WeAreAllJake

Smiles for Jake Mission

Smiles for Jake is a suicide prevention movement that spreads positivity through life-affirming actions, listening ears, and the message that everyone should have hope. Born in and spreading from a community that experienced the suicide of a beloved son, our short-term goal is to reduce the suicide rate and our long-term vision is to stomp out suicide worldwide.

Everyone should have hope.

By spreading proactive positivity while lending listening ears, helping hands, and open hearts, we spread the message that no one should have to live in despair and hopelessness.
Every person is loved, valued, and important.

Smiles for Jake Values

Reducing the suicide rate is a goal and a reality that will have a profound effect in the lives of people considering suicide, their family, and their friends.

In everything Smiles for Jake does, we seek to uplift people through positive actions, words, and feelings. We will harness the power of a smile to give hope.

Locally, Smiles for Jake will create a movement in our community, so our community will be known for its hope, its positivity, and its action.

Smiles for Jake’s long-term goal is to stomp out suicide. We will work toward this goal by spreading the message of Smiles for Jake as far and wide as possible, so that even people far beyond our community are touched by our message of hope.

Smiles for Jake Values

Smiles for Jake Influence

People need hope. Smiles for Jake is built on the promise that everyone should have hope—we believe those words, and we plan to spread the hope we feel.

Smiles for Jake exists to prevent suicide by being positive. Our movement will share positive actions like smiles and high fives, while helping people understand they are seen and loved.

Smiles for Jake is powered by people who are passionate about stomping out suicide, people who have been affected by loss and are tireless in their determination to address the problem of suicide head-on.

Suicide is a serious and difficult topic. We do not shy away from the hard conversations—we are honest about the challenges people face because we know that everyone needs to be able to talk about their problems, fear, and despair.

In all things, we show kindness because these are difficult matters and trying times. We know that suicide is an issue that requires tenderness and understanding.

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