TEEN SUICIDE SURVIVOR: “I WAS BORN TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THE BETTER.”
Monday, August 26
4:00 – 5:45 p.m.
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road
Bullied and harassed at school, physically attacked and ultimately beaten unconscious, 16-year-old Claire Tietgen of Overland Park tried three times to end her life, the first attempt at age 11. Her parents didn’t know.
Once her later attempts were discovered, Claire’s family intervened. Through hard work and a passion for mixed martial arts, Claire not only survived but has flourished. She developed her own YouTube show called “Bullied But Not Broken,” met Dana White, president of the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization and dined with MMA star Ronda Rousey. Perhaps most importantly, Claire’s experience was the impetus for her family’s starting the E3 (for embrace, empower, encourage) Sports Facility in Overland Park last year to help young people struggling like Claire did.
The Tietgen family story is important to hear for two reasons: suicides account for more than 60% of gun-related deaths each year and September is national Suicide Awareness Month.
Self-awareness is among the key lessons taught at E3 along with jiu-jitsu, yoga and fitness classes. The gym builds self-confidence and provides a welcoming outlet for at-risk kids to work out and talk about their feelings of depression and suicide.
Claire’s father Charlie Tietgen will join her to describe E3’s goals and its use of the Kolbe-Y Assessment in guiding at-risk kids from 4th grade to age 17 to understand what motivates them, thus helping to reduce stress, improve learning and ward off depression that can lead to suicide.
Join us August 26 to learn how Claire and her family successfully navigated these dangerous waters and now help other families do the same.
Our July program focused on how to support the increasingly at-risk population of young people identifying as LGBTQ. They are at much higher risk for homelessness, drug/alcohol abuse, survival sex work and suicide than non-LGBTQ youth, according to the presentation by Kim Shaw-Ellis, the LGBTQ Liaison and Diversity Officer for KCPD and an instructor at the Regional Police Academy.
She shared other troubling statistics and insights into the LGBTQ youth population including their three main areas of concern: bullying, non-accepting families and fear of being outed. July meeting minutes.
Following Kim’s presentation, CiCi Glasgow, Outreach & Education Manager of the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project/KC Passages, spoke about the Passages Youth Group, a safe, affirming place where LGBTQ youth ages 14 to 20 can socialize and learn. The group meets Wednesday nights at 40th and Pennsylvania in Westport.
After the program, GAGV attendees wrote personal notes of support to Passages participants to be shared at their next meeting. In addition to emotional support, GAGV members signed up to provide baked goods for the Passages weekly meetings plus help stock its Food Pantry and Clothes Closet.
Interested in contributing? Check out the group’s Wish List and bring your donations to GAGV’s August 26 meeting. Thanks in advance for supporting this worthy group.
Another Advocacy Opportunity
Congress is now on August recess, with members home for a six-week break. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to contact and/or visit your representative and senators about their stances on gun reform.
You can thank U.S. Representatives Sharice Davids (KS) and Emanuel Cleaver (MO) for being gun safety champions. Then let U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts (KS) and Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley (MO) know you’re holding them accountable for opposing common-sense gun reform. The House has passed HR8 requiring stricter background checks, while the Senate has failed to consider the companion bill S42.