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Campaign kicks off
May 10, 2013

Mount Vernon kicks off a "You Matter. We Need You." campaign at the middle school this Friday. The event, which will include a big donation, begins at 2:15 p.m.

The school-wide assembly begins with a presentation about the campaign. That will be followed by 13 students and staff members getting their hair cut by stylists volunteering their time. The hair is being donated to Locks of Love, which provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children who have long-term medical hair loss.

Middle school counselor Jennifer Holub Tischer said the donation is a perfect fit for the "You Matter. We Need You." effort, which is "centered on the idea that every person matters and we all have gifts we can utilize to help others."

"You Matter. We Need You." is a campaign of Thrive Mustangs, which is part of the Community Resiliency Project. The Community Resiliency Project was formed after the deaths of three students by suicide. It's led by Dr. Mollie Marti, a Mount Vernon resident and psychologist. She spearheaded the movement to de-stigmatize teen mental health issues and focus on community-based youth building.

Thrive Mustangs' activities fit that mission, with the goals of suicide prevention and intervention, and helping youth develop relationships with positive, caring, trusted adults. Thrive Mustangs' efforts have ranged from putting on Mustang Leadership Camps (another one is coming in August) to facilitating mentorship programs.

"You Matter. We Need You." is the newest campaign, and it will extend into next school year. It includes wristbands for students, business card-style handouts, "pay it forward" challenges for middle school students and other activities.

Awareness is one of the keys, organizers say, and the message is for both youth and adults.

For youth, Tischer reported, the message is: "You matter. We appreciate you and are glad you're here. Ask for help from the caring adults dedicated to helping you grow and thrive. And pass it on by doing something to make life better for another. We need you."

For adults, the message is: "You matter. We appreciate you. Your time and talents are invaluable in our collective effort to raise healthy, resilient children.  Please contribute your time and skills to support the development of each and every child in Mount Vernon. We need you."

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