Community meeting Thursday | RecordCourier.com

Community meeting Thursday

by Merrie Leininger

The school district and the family of Eric Marchant want to make sure something good comes from his death and hope to touch thousands of people in the Valley.

Carson Valley Middle School counselor Jodi Wass said 40 students attended a counseling session the first week of September.

Eric would have been an 8th grader at CVMS this year. He was 13 years old when he committed suicide in June.

“We wanted to address his death without making it a big production,” she said. “Because it happened over the summer, a lot of kids hadn’t had a chance to share their feelings.”

She said the students talked about their feelings and she distributed a handout on the stages of grief and loss.

Then, the group talked about turning their grief into something positive for Eric and his family.

Students and staff at Douglas High School started looking into the Yellow Ribbon Project last year, but it didn’t get off the ground by the end of the year.

Dori Draper of Douglas High School, is now involved with Wass in organizing community groups who want to help start the project here. Next Thursday an organizational meeting will be held at Carson Valley Middle School library at 1:30 p.m. to discuss starting the program. They hope many organizations will send representatives.

The Yellow Ribbon Project was started by another family who lost their 17-year-old son to suicide in 1994.

The Emmes discovered their son, Mike, dead of a gunshot wound in his car. He had been upset over a breakup.

Mike’s mom, Darlene, decided the best thing to do was to prevent others from giving up.

n Yellow ribbon. She created a card that, on one side says, “This (yellow) ribbon is a lifeline” with directions to give the card to a parent, friend or counselor if the cardholder needs help.

On the back are suggestions how to help a person who may be thinking about suicide.

The Emmes travel around the country talking about their experience and giving the cards out.

Wass said the district hopes to raise the money to bring the Emmes to the Carson Valley and speak at each of the middle and high schools and also give apresentation to the public over two days.

The cost is $500 per day plus airfare and lodging. Wass said the Marchants will use the money donated to them in memory of Eric to help pay fees. Pastor Pete Nelson of the Carson Valley United Methodist Church has offered to pay for the Emmes’ lodging.

Cindy Marchant, Eric’s mom, said their therapist gave them an article about the Emmes and she has called them to get more information about their program.

n Community event. “We don’t just want this to be a school program, we want it to be a community event. I think it is a program that will really appeal to the kids. I guess it’s not uncommon to have cards turned in the same day as the assembly,” Marchant said.

She said she recently talked to a 13-year-old girl who attempted suicide in April.

“I just can’t help but think there are a lot of those kids out there,” she said. “I think it is very necessary and this is the time for a program like this.”

She said only since Eric’s death has she discovered Nevada has the highest number of teen and adult suicides in the nation.

With money that has already been sent to them since Eric’s death, and with his savings account, they have about $1,500 to help pay for bringing the Emmes in.

Donations of come from all over the country and locally from people they never met.

“It was just amazing the amount of cards we got,” she said. “We really wanted to do something important with this money. We kicked around a scholarship idea, but that would only help one or two people. We want to help a lot of people.”

Marchant said she estimates the total cost for the program will be under $2,500.

Marchant said an account has been set up to help pay for the program at the Greater Nevada Credit Union.

For information, contact Wass at 782-2265.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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