October 11, 2016 Updated: Today at 6:18 am
This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, The Gazette – Colorado Springs.
An atypical community champion is the recipient of this year’s Hero of Mental Health award, given annually for the past nine years by mental health provider AspenPointe.
Rampart High School English teacher Brittni Darras will accept the award at a luncheon Thursday at The Broadmoor. It starts at 11:30 a.m. and features author Mark Norwine as the keynote speaker.
Tickets are $50 and are still available; call 572-6100 or go to www.aspenpointe.org/heroes.
Widefield School District 3 student Jaxon Dees also will be recognized for winning a teen video contest. His rap video is about a friend who committed suicide and prevention. Jaxon will receive a $500 prize and his video will be seen on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Voice.”
The event also will include a one-mile suicide awareness walk with Norwine, starting at 4 p.m. Thursday at Community Prep School, 332 E. Willamette Ave., followed by a showing of the documentary, “Walking Man,” which features Norwine. The event is free and open to the public.
Darras, a Colorado Springs native, is being honored for her idea to write individual letters to each of her students in the spring, following a rash of teen suicides. After she found out that one of her students attempted to commit suicide, she said she felt helpless that she hadn’t seen any warning signs. So she decided to write a letter to the student, in the hopes it would help in the recovery process.
Darras then thought, “why stop there?” She decided to write personal notes to all 130 students in her classes in Academy School District 20, emphasizing her appreciation for each individual student and how differences should be embraced.