FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A group of middle school students is looking to spread some holiday cheer this season and a message. Handmade holiday cards were delivered by students of Ryan Middle School's suicide prevention club, also known as SOS. They presented their hand made cards at the nurse's stations for the patients and the staff at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
"S.O.S is a student lead suicide prevention program, and what I mean by student lead is we want students to come up with their own projects and ideas," said Ann Peak with student support at Ryan Middle School.
As they walked the halls of the hospital, they stopped to wish everyone a happy holiday.
"We do suicide prevention," said middle school student Aurora.
"So we talk about how we can help the community prevent teens committing suicide, so they can be like happy,"said Shindale, another Ryan Middle School student.
Peak says this is a great outreach program for students to help their peers who may or may not be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
"We know that peer to peer is much more effective and helping students helping themselves and getting them to an adult that cares," Peak said.
Peak says that she has seen tremendous success with this program.
"Oh my gosh, I have had so many students who are involved in this program. The first year I had 63 students, and every year since then I have had very high numbers. Students really want to help their friends," she said.
But a lot of time, students don't know what to do in certain situations, and this group gives them those tools to know what actions to take.
"I joined the group because I like helping friends if they're in need, and I want them to be happy because they are not the same if they're not happy," Shindale said.
"I've had a lot of friends go through this type of stuff, and being in this program teaches me how to help them," Aurora said.
And if someone's had a bad day, Shindale would say, "I would tell them that I care about you and that you matter. Don't tell yourself that you don't matter and let them know that you care about them," she said.
These students are continuing to do outreach, not only within their schools, but lifting the spirits of the community they live in.