NEWS | March 12, 2014

Base teen council spearheads program addressing teen suicide, self-harm

By Joint Base Charleston Youth programs

A project that focuses raising awareness on the issues of teen suicide and self-harm among teens was recently organized and presented to the local community by youth of Joint Base Charleston.

The Upside of Life project was conducted March 5, 2014, at Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston, S.C., by members of the JB Charleston - Air Base and Weapons Station Teen Councils.

Focusing on three areas - depression, suicide and self-harm, students from Fort Dorchester and Goose Creek High Schools were given the opportunity to speak directly and candidly with trained professionals who deal with teen suicide. In addition, presentations from the JB Charleston 628th Medical Group, the North Charleston Police Department, and Miss South Carolina Teen USA - K. Lee Graham, were part of the afternoon's activities. The Fort Dorchester Theater Arts students also presented two skits.

Created from an Air Force youth programming package entitled AF Teen Movement, teen councils worldwide were challenged to conduct a series of high-achieving programs and events that would have a major impact on their local communities. At least one of four pillars, or purpose objects, was required to be incorporated into the program for it to be recognized. The pillars included preparing teens for college, revitalizing teen programs, promoting science, technology, engineering and math careers, and achieving Keystone Club Gold charter status.

A Boys & Girls Club of America initiative, Keystone Clubs provide unique leadership development experiences and opportunities for youth ages 14-18. With a strong desire to achieve Gold charter status while making a positive local impact, the Charleston Teen Council created The Upside of Life.

"I was so proud of our group and staff leadership," said Dorian Holnes, Air Force Teen Council representative. "It was hard work preparing for this event, but it was well worth it. We received overwhelming praise and feedback from teen participants and I think we planted the seed that there are other options besides taking your own life."

Youth Program activities on the Air Base and Weapons station are affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club of America, YMCA and 4-H. Teens who are family members of active-duty military, reservists, DOD employees and military retirees are eligible to become JB Charleston Youth Center members.

For more information about youth programs, call the Air Base at 963-5684 or the Weapons Station at 794-7809.