Letter: 8 suicides occurred this year in Yampa Valley; REPS launches endowment fund to provide support for community
We had eight suicides in the Yampa Valley so far this year. Five occurred in Moffat County and three in Routt County. Eight is way too many when one is already too many.
I joined the board of directors of Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS), which services both Routt and Moffat counties, in October 2020.
Given these recent suicides, I thought it appropriate to advise our community about REPS’ history, its work and the processes by which it endeavors to fulfill its mission: “To preserve, protect and promote life by raising awareness and providing a lifeline of support and healing in our communities.”
REPS was started in 2004 as a state-funded pilot project.
I believe REPS is one of the most vital nonprofit organizations we have in the Yampa Valley. REPS has only one paid employee: Mindy Marriott, our executive director. REPS trains over 500 people each year in its certified programs for suicide prevention.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
REPS’ volunteers also intervene with the families of those who have experienced a suicide loss, assisting them through the grieving process.
Oftentimes, the suicide is violent, and the home, or other area where the suicide occurred, needs to be remediated. REPS arranges and pays for the remediation from the donations our community contributes to REPS.
I am delighted to announce that the REPS Board of Directors determined that REPS has finally achieved financial stability. The annual budget now has sufficient funds for REPS’ general operations and any contingencies that may arise.
Accordingly, REPS’ board recently elevated the organization to the “big leagues” by establishing an endowment fund.
On July 27, the REPS Endowment Fund account was opened at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, with a deposit of $10,000, to which YVCF generously added a matching grant of $2,500.
Once the fund reaches $25,000, a percentage of the annual earnings from the endowment will be used to defray REPS’ operating expenses.
If you would like to make a contribution to the REPS Endowment Fund to enable REPS to continue its very valuable work in our community, you can donate online at YVCF.org/reps, or mail a check to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, PO Box 881869, Steamboat Springs, CO, 80488, or call YVCF at 970-879-8632.
If you would like more information about REPS, its work, volunteering or trainings, contact Marriott at 970-846-8182.
James J. Moylan
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