Youth suicide is a very real problem in the Ottawa Valley and the Pontiac, and Valley Heritage Radio is turning to its loyal listeners to donate and help those who are in need of assistance.
The radio station is set to host its 5th Annual Holly Jolly Radiothon and Open House on December 6, and this year the charity of choice is the Renfrew County Suicide Prevention and Crisis Centre for Youth & Families. This is a branch of the Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre.
“When we saw their application and realized the amazing work this group is doing across the Ottawa Valley and beyond, we knew it was a cause our listeners could get behind,” said station manager Jason Marshall. “Sadly, youth suicide is very real. This organization is working hard to help those in need before it comes to that, and also working to heal those who have lost a loved one to suicide.”
At the centre, young people and families will meet with professionals trained to offer help, support and advice without judgment. And according to Tom Sidney, director of the centre, there is very little wait time because when people need help, even a matter of hours is critical when it comes to mental health.
“The purpose of the centre is to keep youth safe from suicide, family units together during a crisis, to have people feel heard, and to limit the wait times for support services,” said Sidney.
The centre has four main pillars of support: walk-in clinics; a parent support group; community prevention and training; and post-suicide debriefing.
“We will help those families and individuals heal from a loss due to suicide. And we’ll reach out to the youth so they know how to reach out to us, which will directly save future lives,” said Sidney, adding the centre helps people in Renfrew County, the Pontiac, Ottawa and beyond.
All the money raised at this year’s Holly Jolly Radiothon will go directly to the centre so they can continue to operate their four crisis clinics – Petawawa, Pembroke, Renfrew and Arnprior. It will also help the centre create suicide survivor support groups, as well as give the centre an opportunity to create an awareness presentation for area high schools students so they know the importance or reaching out to help themselves, or a friend, in need.
“We feel this organization is vitally important for the young people in the region and their families, and we encourage our listeners to donate when our radiothon hits the air December 6 at 10 a.m. Young people are our future, and we need to take care of them today,” said Marshall.
Another reason to support this group, says Marshall, is they receive no government funding and in order to keep the doors open, they need the support of the communities they serve.
GREAT MUSIC ON THE THOMAS CAVANAGH STAGE
The Holly Jolly Radiothon will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 6.
The one and only Art Jamieson will host the event and people can contact the station at 1-613-432-9873 or 1-888-532-9870. Or they are invited to drop into the open house that day and donate in person.
The open house will include a silent auction, raffles and live music including Mike Fahey & Classic Country Revue; Rick & Bailey Rogers; Marleen Fawcett with Dale Ducharme, Gil Charron and Brian Ostrom; and the station’s Search for a Star winner Sonya Bergin and finalist Natasha Curley.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be making an appearance, as will a great lineup of VHR on-air personalities including: Andrew Cartwright, Dennis Harrington, Tequila Sheila, Jason Marshall, Mike Cloutier, Ray Chapeskie, Gerry Blandford, Lesley Galbraith, Jim Long, Rick Leben, Al Cruise, Gerry Bimm, Vic Garbutt, Rob Jamieson, Sheila Vandekemp and Angry Reta.
Find out more about the Robbie Dean Family Centre at www.rdfcc.com.
In the past four years, the Holly Jolly Radiothon has raised close to $60,000 for a number of local groups and organizations including The Bonnechere Manor Foundation, the Child Poverty Action Network, the United Way, Recovery Road, and the Champlain Community Transportation Collaborative.
The event is sponsored by Ontario Power Generation again this year.