Power2Change and Design for Change Partner on Special Initiative to Help Middle School Students Combat Teen Suicide

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Conference to host youth from over 32 countries to share stories, build awareness, and foster inner-strength.

You don't know what is going on in a person's life. They might be depressed for something you have no idea about. You might think it's one thing, but it's something totally different. That's kind of what we learned during the empathy stage.

Power2Change (P2C), CSI Enterprises’ charitable support foundation, and Design for Change USA, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA, announced today their partnership to create transformation among middle school youth by addressing the issue of teen suicide. Through the annual Be The Change Conference held in Madrid, Spain, on November 10, 2017, and hosted by Design for Change, youth from over 32 countries will come together to share their community impact stories to build awareness and foster inner-strength and self-worth among their peers.

“This conference is part of the global Design for Change movement that seeks to empower kids with an “I Can” confidence to be the change they want to see in the world,” said Sanjli Gidwaney, Director of Design for Change USA.

A group of fifth graders from Sandpoint, ID will be attending the global Be The Change Conference as the Ambassador team representing the United States. They chose to focus on the issue of teen suicide following six teenage suicides in their hometown which took place within a two-year timespan.

Teen suicide is on the rise. The suicide rate for girls age 15 to 19 has doubled from 2007 to 2015 and has reached its highest point since the CDC started tracking it in 1975. The suicide rate for 15 to 19-year-old boys is also on the rise, up 30%. The problem gets exponentially worse when factoring in that for every 1 teen suicide there are 25 more attempted suicides among peers.

While the Design for Change Ambassador team has implemented ideas to prevent other teen suicides in their community, the lessons and skills gained through the overall Design for Change methodology are intended to help countless other young adults build the empathy, grit, perseverance and confidence to resist suicidal thoughts and create positive change in their lives and their communities.

"You don't know what is going on in a person's life. They might be depressed for something you have no idea about. You might think it's one thing, but it's something totally different. That's kind of what we learned during the empathy stage,” said Gage, a 12-year-old participating in the program.

The Design for Change program, which is intended to give youth the tools and experiences needed to identify and solve a broad range of issues that are important to them, begins with young people observing and listing the issues in their community that bother them. They then interact with others in their community to identify points of intervention and possible solutions. Next, they develop and implement a plan of action, keeping in mind the available resources, budget, time, and skills. Finally, they share the story of change and inspire others to get involved or start their own project.

“The global movement that Design for Change leads, is in complete alignment with our mission statement at P2C and we are proud to be able to support them in their efforts to empower young adults,” said Amy Schindler, Director of Operations for the Power2Change Foundation.

The Power2Change Foundation (P2C) was formed in 2016 by CSI Enterprises, Inc. (CSI), a leader in corporate spending solutions. P2C changes the lives of middle school youth by bringing together businesses, charities, and youth leadership through a legacy of giving that creates powerful transformations for non-profits, partners, and children. P2C supports initiatives that stimulate the academic, athletic, and personal development of young people around the globe with technology, funds, time, and knowledge. To learn more visit https://www.power2changefoundation.org/.

Design for Change is a global movement across 50+ countries that empowers young people to transform themselves and the world around them. Every year, students do projects in their own community that not only improve lives but help them build character and key 21st century skills. Using a simple four step process - Feel, Imagine, Do, Share - they have shut down drug houses, helped refugees living in American food desserts, addressed the teen suicide rate in their community and have done countless other projects in their local communities that have resulted in real change. Every year, Design for Change, hosts a global conference to bring change makers together from all over the world with this year’s conference being held in Madrid, Spain. For more information visit http://www.designforchange.us.

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Brooke Greenwald

Ashley Wells