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As Dickinson Center, Inc. (DCI) continues its efforts to provide area youth with appropriate services pertaining to suicide prevention, a recent $92,000 grant from the AJ and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust will ensure that these programs continue in the near future.
Students throughout Elk and Cameron counties' middle and high schools will benefit from the grant money, which is being utilized to fund the organization's Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS).
"As a result of the ongoing support of the AJ and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust, the 2011-2012 school year marks the fifth year that DCI will be able to be providing services to schools," said Jennifer Dippold, Dickinson Center Inc., Children's Prevention Services director.
The SOS Prevention Program is an evidence-based curriculum presented in DVD format, which is followed up with a brief written screening tool or follow-up activities designed to reinforce the program's message of "A.C.T."-- Acknowledge, Care, Tell. DCI staff present the program and provide supportive counseling or referrals to appropriate services for at-risk/high-risk students based on their answers to the screening questions.
The program is overseen by Dippold, along with supervisors Tracey Myers in Elk County and Tana Funair in Cameron County.
They all work together to identify and meet the needs of area youth through ongoing interactions with school guidance counselors and local law enforcement. Dippold said identifying at-risk/high-risk students and preventing long-term concerns are the goals of their efforts.
On Tuesday morning, Jack Goga, Dickinson Center, Inc. chief executive officer, along with numerous members of the DCI Signs of Suicide team, met with Robert Ordiway, Palumbo Foundation trustee, to formerly accept the grant. Also in attendance were City of St. Marys Police Chief Todd Caltagarone and Emporium Chief of Police John Lovett.
Dippold noted that Dickinson works closely with area law enforcement in hosting various programs.
"The collaborative function has given birth to a new program, Protecting Kids Online (PKO)," Dippold said. "Staff from both the City Police Department and Dickinson have given presentations to both students and parents in the past year."