Certified Replication Partners in Wyman’s National Network are successfully implementing Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® across the country. The National Network Spotlight highlights a partner and celebrates their positive outcomes.
Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) empowers students to lead successful lives and build strong communities by encouraging discussions on healthy relationships, setting goals, and through community service learning projects. However, its positive influence extends beyond lowering the risk of teen pregnancy and high school dropout. By hosting a school-wide suicide awareness walk, TOP® teens in Red Bank Regional High School in New Jersey, helped educate their classmates about the signs of suicide while learning about bullying and other mental health issues.
The idea for the walk originally came from Grace R. and Adam C., freshman TOP® teens who had personally experienced the loss of friends to suicide. It was quickly adopted by both of Red Bank Regional’s TOP® clubs, and the teens began to prepare for the event by creating a brochure about the walk and promoting it in the school’s study halls.
“Our county…has experienced several teen suicides over the past years,” said Annette LaBarbera, a TOP® facilitator through the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, Wyman’s partner in New Jersey. “Many of our students are aware of this and felt that [addressing teen suicide] would be a good community service project.”
The focus of the Out of Darkness Walk resonated with the Red Bank Regional community. Over a two day period, 370 students and teachers participated and raised over $2,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A portion of the funds raised will return to the school for use in programming related to suicide and mental health awareness.
“We are so proud of our teens for not only the Out of Darkness Walk but also for how much they have grown this year and the life skills they have developed as a result of participating in TOP®,” LaBarbera added. “Thanks to TOP®, we developed relationships with teens we might not normally reach.”