M-W community suicide awareness/prevention forums begin Feb. 28

| 22 Feb 2012 | 04:52

    Smaller meetings to offer opportunity for questions and answers, By Nancy Kriz CENTRAL VALLEY - The Monroe-Woodbury School District will begin additional suicide awareness and prevention outreach efforts on Monday, Feb. 28, with the first of six parent/community forums. “This is just the beginning,” High School Principal David Bernsley said Wednesday afternoon. “We expect to be holding more at different locales. We want to create opportunities for everyone to come. This is open to anyone in the community.” The meetings will provide information similar to what was offered at the Jan. 27 informational gathering on sudden child loss, but this time will offer an opportunity for dialogue, questions and answers. That’s something Bernsley knows parents and concerned community members want to have. The smaller settings, mental health officials have counseled, will allow for a more personal dialogue, giving participants the information they want to hear and address the questions they want to have answered. Part of the meetings will include asking attendees to suggest topics for future parallel meetings, Bernsley said, adding officials will offer a menu of ideas to begin that dialogue, but topics won’t be limited to what school officials may initially offer as suggestions. “We also want to base future meetings on parents’ needs,” said Bernsley. Bernsley expressed his gratitude to the Monroe-Woodbury Clergy Association for its constant support as plans progress. “They have been great,” he said. “They’ve accompanied me to meetings with mental health officials … to the task force meetings … Rev. Alon White (of Grace Episcopal Church) has been unbelievable. She is a great, great person.” Bernsley said he will continue to reach out to other places of worship and community organizations to set meetings at other locales throughout the school district’s boundaries. “I want to get to other places as well,” said Bernsley, noting he encourages those groups to contact him if they have an interest in serving as a meeting venue host. Bernsley can be reached at the high school by calling 460-7000.

    Community forums
    The Monroe-Woodbury School District will hold six parent/community forums in the coming weeks. Each will focus on the same topic, giving attendees an opportunity to pick the day which best suits their individual schedules.
    All meetings beginning at 7:30 p.m. The venues are:
    Monday, Feb. 28, at the First Presbyterian Church in Monroe
    Thursday, March 3, at the Highland Mills United Presbyterian Church
    Tuesday, March 8, at the Highland Mills United Presbyterian Church
    Thursday, March 10, at the Grace Episcopal Church in Monroe
    Tuesday, March 15, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Monroe
    Wednesday, March 16, at Congregation Eitz Chaim in Monroe
    Because seating is limited due to each venue’s size, advanced registration is required. Information on how to register was not complete as of The Photo News’ press time, and High School Principal David Bernsley asked that people visit the high school’s page on the Monroe-Woodbury School District’s Web site, www. mw.k12.ny.us, for details. That information was expected to be posted late yesterday afternoon.