On the day of, students gathered around a long table in the noisy dining room to hear Hawley’s pitch. He raised his voice to be heard over beeps from the kitchen and the clatter of ice from the soda machine.
“(The commercial) is going to promote the suicide prevention hotline number and it’s going to promote the crisis text line number,” he said. “Which are some really important numbers for people to know.”
No one involved would get paid. The video would only be released on social media, he said. The entire script took him about five minutes to write, he added with a laugh.
Despite the relaxed atmosphere the group’s motivation was serious: to give a voice to a growing issue in their community — student suicides.
In the spring of 2018 three students in the Greeley Evans School District 6 took their own lives in the span of a week. After reading about it in the local paper, Hawley decided to do something by starting a suicide awareness nonprofit.
Hawley is a suicide attempt survivor himself. So are his wife and daughter, he said.
Since starting his organization Hope4_2morrow, the Facebook group has amassed more than 700 followers. He’s hosted fundraisers, suicide prevention trainings and is planning his first 5k and community event, which will take place in September.
For his first PSA, Hawley decided to reach teens where they may be struggling — online.
“When I was younger, we didn’t really take (suicide) serious,” Hawley said. “But we need to start taking it serious. There are so many resources out there that aren’t known about.”
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