Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide is March’s beneficiary in The Giving Year
(RED BANK – March 6, 2023) The Count Basie Center for the Arts and Bank of America have announced the third of twelve area nonprofits to be recognized during THE GIVING YEAR, the yearlong initiative to recognize and reward organizations for their contributions to the regional community.
Freehold’s Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS; www.sptsusa.org) will receive $1 from every Count Basie Center ticket sold in March, along with tickets for the organization’s clientele and volunteers. Founded in 2005 by two friends who lost teen children to suicide, the organization’s mission of awareness, saving lives and reducing the stigma of suicide has become more important than ever, as the prevalence of teen suicide in the post-pandemic era has skyrocketed.
“Our staff, supporters, volunteers, and Board of Directors are honored and grateful to be recognized by the Count Basie Center and Bank of America as a recipient of the Year of Giving initiative,” said Dawn Doherty, Executive Director, Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. “This opportunity to put a ‘spotlight’ on youth and teen mental health and suicide prevention will make a direct impact on our youth and their families.”
“I have never seen the field of mental health in the turmoil that we see today,” said SPTS clinical director Susan Tellone. “Prior to the pandemic, Monmouth County was moving into its’ third year of zero suicides for residents under 18 years of age. Since COVID, our community has seen over 16 youth deaths by suicide and our emergency rooms have been experiencing an unprecedented increase in visits for youth ages 5-11 presenting with a mental health crisis.”
“This is unacceptable. Our children need us.”
The SPTS is active in schools through its Lifelines Trilogy program, which sets foundations for a school’s competence in youth prevention by providing guidelines for administrative policies and protocols, professional development for administration and staff, resources for parents and an evidence-based curriculum for middle and high school students. Lifelines’ Intervention program assists schools in identifying and responding to students who may be at suicide risk, while its postvention programs assist schools responding to the loss of a student’s life by suicide. Parents, administrators or educators interested in learning more or scheduling trainings may do so by visiting www.stpsusa.org/training-programs or calling 732-410-7900.
“The work that the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide does to save lives and increase awareness around teen suicide in Monmouth County is vital,” said Alberto Garofalo, president, Bank of America New Jersey. “Together we need to do our part to ensure SPTS has the resources they need to provide our youth with proper support when they are most vulnerable.”
“We’ve learned from the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide that Monmouth County and the surrounding areas were making progress prior to the pandemic,” said Jeremy Grunin, Chairperson, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “However, the fallout ever since, stemming from the isolation and loss experienced by teens nationwide, has taken a critical toll. The work of this organization and everything that can be done to increase awareness, education and resources for parents and their children is more crucial than ever.”
Bank of America and Basie Center employees and board members started reviewing applications following announcement of THE GIVING YEAR initiative on Giving Tuesday last November. THE GIVING YEAR will focus on organizations serving causes related to arts and culture, health / wellness, food insecurity, diversity, equity and inclusion, or financial management or other services to underrepresented populations.
Organizations interested in consideration for THE GIVING YEAR may learn more and apply for consideration at www.thebasie.org/thegivingyear. Organizations need only apply once – qualifying applications will be considered on a rolling basis throughout 2023.
ABOUT THE GIVING YEAR INITIATIVE
THE GIVING YEAR will last throughout 2023, with the Count Basie Center for the Arts donating $1 from every ticket sold to one of twelve area nonprofits, with a different organization highlighted each month. Organizations will be eligible to receive up to $15,000 during their month, in addition to complimentary tickets for distribution to their volunteers and / or their beneficiaries.
Upon announcing THE GIVING YEAR in November, Basie Center and Bank of America officers presented the initiative as an opportunity to use the organizations’ platforms to highlight important work and causes throughout their service regions. In January, mental health nonprofit Shore House was announced as the inaugural Giving Year recipient, receiving $15,000 from the Basie Center and its patrons.
“The Count Basie Center is a unique nonprofit organization,” Basie Center Board Chairperson Jeremy Grunin explained. “In addition to our work in arts education, from classrooms in under-resourced communities to professional development opportunities for teachers, we have world-renowned performing artists on our stages almost every evening. We recognize the platform that affords us, and we feel it’s right to use that platform to highlight other organizations attending to vital causes in our region.”
“Bank of America and the Count Basie Center share many causes and concerns, especially the betterment of our communities,” said Bank of America’s Garofalo. “During ‘The Giving Year,’ we’ll use our long-standing partnership and platforms to highlight and reward the efforts of twelve area nonprofit organizations, whose commitments to our region help those who need it the most.”
“Part of our responsibility as a nonprofit organization is to look inwards and say, ‘What more can we do?’” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “And because we have this status as a place where world-class musicians, actors and performers come to play, we also have this opportunity – and responsibility – to lend our visibility to others. Bank of America and the Basie Center want THE GIVING YEAR to become a pedestal for organizations that deserve to have their hard work and purposes known and recognized.”
April’s beneficiary organization will be announced later this month.