Out of the Darkness – Into the Light

By Ivy Story

While suicide may be difficult to talk about, it is happening. Suicide rates are rising and it is a community’s job to support each other in dark times and to offer a safe place for those who may be struggling. Amy Ortloff is the president of OC3 (Our Community Cares Coalition). Ortloff is an advocate for suicide prevention and is working with Madill Schools to provide help to students. She explains that each week she goes to the high school student body, passes out snacks, and makes eye contact with students as she hands them their snack and asks about their day or how they are doing. Ortloff does the same thing once a month for local middle school students.

There are approximately 500 high school students and 400 middle school students. She says sometimes she’ll be having a hard day, but after talking to these wonderful kids she always leaves happier than when she arrived. Ortloff said the initial reaction to the program was not what it is today. Ortloff explained, “I think they didn’t know what to think of this random person coming each week and asking about their day and smiling at them.” But now, students wave Ortloff down if they come in late and smile when they get their snack or ask about how she is doing. It costs about $100 per week to feed students. Ortloff says she asks for donations when supplies get low. Donations can be made to OC3 or BanFirst.

 

 

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