The Brighton Youth Commission (BYC) received the Pennock Center for Counseling Healing Hearts Award on Friday at the center’s annual Healing Hearts benefit event held at the Armory Performing Arts Center. The commission was recognized for the many impacts they have made in the community addressing mental health, especially with their annual SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness and Knowledge) Week.
Each year, the Pennock Center for Counseling recognizes an organization or individual who shows a commitment to improving mental health and substance abuse problems, who work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems, who work to connect those in need with mental health services or create programs to address mental health needs.
“We are extremely honored to receive this award because it highlights the important work the youth commission is doing to breaking down the stigma associated with mental health problems as well as their commitment to educating the community about suicide prevention and resources available,” City of Brighton Youth Services Manager Tawnya Russell said. “We are also so thankful for the continued support and partnership of the Pennock Center to help make sure SPEAK Week is a success year after year.”
The Brighton Youth Commission is a body of 22 youth and six adults appointed by the Brighton City Council to study matters and plan events impacting youth and families in the City of Brighton. One of their biggest projects, SPEAK Week, started in 2012 after the death by suicide of a dear friend and classmate, Josh Dillon. After experiencing the loss and feeling the impact on the community, the BYC wanted to find a way to educate their peers and community about the warning signs of suicide and provide resources to those in need. They started SPEAK Week in just two Brighton schools, providing a week of mental health education and ending it with a 5K community walk.
With SPEAK Week 2019 just around the corner (April 29-May 4), the youth commission anticipates SPEAK Week to take place in 15 schools! In addition to the 5K walk on May 4, they are working to not only offer education to students but also to adults and parents in the community. As SPEAK has expanded throughout the years, the BYC has worked to not only educate about suicide prevention and resources but to also break down the stigmas surrounding mental health.
About the Pennock Center for Counseling
The Pennock Center for Counseling is a nonprofit counseling center founded by past community member Mary “Penny” Pennock and the First Presbyterian Church of Brighton. The center, located at 211 S. 21st. Ave. in Brighton, provides counseling and psycho educational services to all community members regardless of income, religious affiliation or life situation. The center is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to serving those most in need of counseling services.