Remembering loved ones lost at Survivors of Suicide Loss gathering

In accordance with Suicide Awareness Month, Six Nations Family and Child Services held a dinner and entertainment night within the Grand River Room of Six Nations Polytechnic for Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, on Saturday, November 21.

The room was filled with families seated around beautifully decorated tables, and each guest was offered a free full course meal, and a backpack full of informational gifts along with t-shirts with the slogan “Celebrate Life, Community Cares.” Entertainment was performed live by Mark Laforme and Logan Staats, and boards were placed within the room that offered information about suicide and prevention.

Manager of Child and Family Services Larry Longboat, explained that the dinner was not at all a fundraiser.

“It’s a Survivors of Suicide Loss Dinner, that’s what the day is today, so we’re having this to remember those that they have lost to suicide and to remember the ones that they still have with them,” said Longboat, in regards to the families and members of the community that attended the dinner.

“We had donations from the Carney Elijah Johnson Foundation to help us with the cost, and we also had help from Breaking the Silence, Brightening the Spirit,” said Longboat. “What we’re trying to do, is to start a campaign around suicide prevention and this is our kickoff event for that.”

“We’re going to be taking the t-shirts that have the slogan, ‘Celebrate Life, Community Cares,’ and that’s going to be the underlying thing. We’re going to be doing a series of posters throughout the year, and we’re going to try to post those throughout the community and within our building,” said Longboat.

Clinical Services Worker at Six Nations Child and Family Services Faith Rivers explained that the full idea of the posters will come to fruition by next year.

“At the end of the year when we have all twelve posters done, we’re going to put it together to make a calendar. So, that could be a fund-raising venture, or we could sell them for two dollars and the money that we get from that can come back into Child and Family Services and put into our suicide prevention program,” said Rivers.

Rivers said she believed everyone enjoyed themselves at the event, as Lana Henhawk’s catering staff began putting squares of cherry cheesecake onto serving tables.

“When we were up at the mic, I just asked the crowd what they thought about the evening so far, and we got a good response. Looking at how people are visiting and we’re taking pictures of the whole night and we’re going to post them on Facebook. So, it’s a beautiful event for the community to see and to witness and be a part of celebrating their life and that the community cares,” said Rivers, as she mentioned there was a board provided for guests to write their names, the names of someone they lost, or leave a message.

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