Chinook’s Edge School Division and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools are the recipients of a $20,000 donation from the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation. The funds will be used to develop supports for youth who are struggling with suicidal ideation and self-injury. The school divisions will be working together to develop two protocols: 1. A non-suicidal, self-injury protocol, and 2. A suicidal ideation protocol.

“Our goal is to ensure staff have the resources and procedures in place to ensure support for youth who are self-harming or have suicide ideation,” said Marcie Perdue, Associate Superintendent, Chinook’s Edge. Perdue says work will include training for designated school staff to ensure they know how to help students, and when and where to refer them for additional support from community partners. “We are excited to work collaboratively with Red Deer Catholic to make a significant impact for students,” said Perdue.

“We have learned through the work we are already doing together with Chinook’s Edge, that collaboration has power, and the beneficiaries are our students,” said Jodi Smith, Associate Superintendent of Inclusive Learning, Red Deer Catholic Schools. “Between our two school divisions we serve 20,000 students, and in this work we are reminded that they are all our kids.”

“When Chinook’s Edge and Red Deer Catholic first approached us with this idea, Rick couldn’t stop smiling,” said Cindy More. Rick More said, “Teachers have so much of an impact with kids. It’s possible students will first confide in a teacher before they talk with their parents about their concerns in this area. Also, teachers experience pressure with everything that is expected of them in their work. We are excited about this project because we can see it making a difference.”

The Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation started after Lindsey More died from suicide almost eight years ago. Her parents, Rick and Cindy More, are active - through the foundation - in building suicide prevention awareness and programs for youth. The $20,000 donated to Red Deer Catholic and Chinook’s Edge came to the Foundation from the Penhold Bullarama event dedicated to Smiles Thru Lindsey. The Mores thank Kyle Daines and his committee, as well as the community, for the fundraising effort.

The school divisions plan to have both protocols complete by the end of the 2023-24 school year.