November 22, 2017


Jackie Lerch

Director of Youth Ministries


The holiday season keeps many of us busy with family, friends, parties, church events, shopping, cooking, and a thousand other things on our to-do lists. For some, this is a joyous time of year. For others, it’s not so easy.  Maybe it’s the recent loss of a loved one, or a yearly reminder of sadness during the holidays. For some, it is hard to find things to be thankful for or they just don’t feel the “merry” part of the Christmas season.

For the last several months, I have been privileged to serve on the WE MATTER Coalition. WE MATTER is an outreach coalition comprised of community stakeholders dedicated to suicide prevention and reducing the stigma associated with mental health needs.  WE MATTER provides educational opportunities, training, parent and youth support so that we may better connect, equip, and empower our community. Perhaps you have seen purple signs around town or purple t-shirts that bear the reminder to “Be Kind.” Our team started this campaign as a reminder to students, but it’s also a helpful reminder to everyone in our community.  Recently the annual Hershey vs Lower Dauphin football game was a purple-out with BOTH teams coming together to embrace this important cause.

One of the incredible opportunities we are able to offer to our community, completely free of charge, is suicide prevention training called QPR Training.  Many of us are certified in CPR and First Aid and I believe this is just as important. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Respond and focuses on training individuals to recognize a crisis and warning signs from someone who may be contemplating suicide. I took this class a few months ago and learned so much. Several youth leaders in our community have also taken it and we wanted to make sure this was offered to our pastors, volunteers, and parents of youth in our ministries.

The next training will be 6:00-8:00 pm Monday, December 4 at the Hershey Free Church.  To register, please email wemattercoalition@gmail.com.  Learn more at wemattercoalition.org.