CCM and Send Silence Packing to Give Faces to College Suicide
Friday, April 24, 2015
RANDOLPH, NJ — Just be happy. Stop feeling that way. It only happens to “those” people.
These are just some of the comments of misconception when it comes to mental illness. They are the sort of comments that can prevent helping those who eventually commit suicide, the second leading cause of death among college students nationwide.
Misconceptions and stigma are something County College of Morris (CCM) is hoping to combat when Send Silence Packing and its powerful images come to the college’s Randolph campus, 214 Center Grove Road, on Thursday, April 30, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a candlelight vigil to follow.
The event is an award-winning national public exhibit of 1,100 backpacks representing the 1,100 college students who die by suicide every year. It is a program of Active Minds, the leading national nonprofit organization working to engage students in the conversation about mental health. CCM is the first New Jersey community college to host the event.
To give a “face” to the lives lost, personal stories and testimonies written by families and friends accompany the backpacks.
“The impact is immense, as it puts a visual in people’s minds about what 1,100 really means,” says Joanna Leyko, of Landing, a CCM nursing student and the president of the college’s Active Minds chapter. “It means a large number of college students commit suicide each year.
“Our hope is it can change the perception on mental health. If people read the personal stories, they’ll see that it’s not just people who they believe are stereotypical who suffer, but everyone in all walks of life.”
Passersby will be invited to walk among the backpacks and read the stories of those who died. In addition, CCM’s Active Minds will hand out literature on mental health, suicide prevention and where to seek help.
“Send Silence Packing will give people a better understanding about suicide and mental illness,” says Jennie Abat, of Hackettstown, a liberal arts major and the vice president of CCM Active Minds. “Since mental illness is invisible to people who don't suffer from it, this type of illness does not exist because there is no proof that is visible to justify it."
The powerful outdoor exhibit sheds light on college student suicide and promotes a healthy dialogue around mental health. Statistics show more than half of college students have had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 10 have seriously considered attempting suicide.
CCM counselors will be on hand for those who feel they need to talk to someone. Representatives from the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse and the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance will also be on campus.
“The misconception that those who suffer mental illness are weak is a dangerous one,” says Shelsey Vazquez, a liberal arts major who leads the public relations for CCM Active Minds. “These are real people who suffer. There are individuals behind it.”
A candlelight vigil will be held at the end of the event, featuring co-founders of Attitudes in Reverse (AIR) Tricia and Kurt Baker as guest speakers. The vigil begins at 7 p.m. and will take place in front of the flagpole outside of the Student Community Center, with a rain site in the center’s lobby. The Bakers lost their 19-year-old son, Kenny, to suicide. Experiencing judgement and stigma about their son’s mental illness themselves, they wanted to create an organization to educate others on mental illness.
Send Silence Packing is co-sponsored by the CCM departments of Campus Life, Counseling and Student Success, and Special Events. The event came about after CCM Active Minds applied to the organization’s national chapter to have the event come to the college during its northeastern tour.
“We felt it was important to try to host Send Silence Packing here to bring people’s attention full force on the subject of mental health awareness,” Leyko says.
The club members say they are proud to be making history at New Jersey community colleges, and hope that it will encourage more to host the event and call attention to mental health awareness.
A video previewing the event and what the public can expect to see can be found on the CCM YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/E85vB4mx34s.
Morris County to Use Non-Profit "Green Vision" to Recycle County Government-Generated E-Waste
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Morris County has entered into a voluntary E-waste recycling agreement with Green Vision Inc., a non-profit electronic (E-waste) waste recycling organization. GreenVision trains and employs mentally disabled adults, to disassemble electronic waste, such as those generated by county government operations, for recycling.
Green Vision, based in Randolph, will collect outdated and unneeded electronic equipment accumulated by county government, and which by law is banned from disposal (landfill). The county will arrange to periodically haul outdated equipment to Green Vision, which will recycle the accumulated equipment at virtually no cost to the county.
|Freeholder Scappichio meets with Tim Butler, President of Green Vision.|
Green Vision has 27 employees and an even longer waiting list for jobs. It is the first organization in the state to educate, train and employ developmentally challenged adults in the business of electronic waste and to properly dismantle and recycle unwanted electronic equipment and devices.
“This is a win for everyone involved,’’ said Freeholder David Scapicchio, the board’s public works liaison, who toured the Green Vision facility in Randolph this week. “It provides valuable education, hands-on training and employment for mentally disabled adults, while offering a valuable service to county government, taxpayers and society. We are very pleased to be partnering with Green Vision.’’
Green Vision gives adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn and work in real life job situations, according to Green Visions’ Board President Tim Butler. The employees strip down virtually every component of the unwanted E-waste, right down to the wiring, for potential sale to a recycling market. The proceeds are used to help finance the nonprofit operation.
“This gives our clients the ability to have a paying job and to continue working on skills they have learned in school. They are working on employment skills and social skills. It helps to dismantle the stigmas of developmental disabilities,’’ said Butler. “Not only is Green Vision providing a service to our students by giving them meaningful job skill training, but we also are providing an environmentally sound “green’’ solution to county government and the local community.’’
Green Vision employees have recycled more than 135,000 pounds of electronic materials this year. Green Vision challenges students with tasks that allow them to use problem-solving skills while dismantling a wide variety of devices. As the E-waste is being taken apart, students sort the materials so it can be recycled, with less than one percent of the material requiring landfilling.
The state in 2011 enacted an E-waste recycling law that banned the disposal computers, televisions, computer monitors and laptops. For organizations with over 50 employees, such as the county government, this means contracting with a licensed E-waste recycling company, such as Green Vision. For smaller businesses as well as residents, the law requires manufacturers to provide free E-waste recycling programs which in Morris County are managed by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA) as part of its household hazardous waste program, participating municipalities and select retail outlets such as Best Buy and Staples.
For more information on Green Vision, please visit: http://gvinc.org/
For a full list of state-mandated E-waste requirements and recycling options, please visit: http://mcmua.com/sw_hhw_faq_electronics.asp.
Click here to view the database of Morris County electronics recycling drop-off locations.
Public Information Sessions Scheduled for the Sussex Turnpike Project
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The Morris County Freeholders have approved a long-awaited $4.7 million Sussex Turnpike intersection improvement project designed to enhance safety and traffic flow on the busy road that runs through Randolph, and serves as a commuter route to and from Morristown, the County College of Morris and Route 10 in Roxbury.
The Freeholders voted unanimously last week on resolutions to award a $3.97 million contract to the low bidder, Concrete Construction Corp. of Hackensack for construction; $497,328 to low bidder Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Lebanon for construction inspection services; and $165,872 to low bidder T.Y. Lin International of Hackettstown for construction support services.
Work is scheduled to start on the project will commence this month and be completed by the fall of 2016.
The federal government will pay more than $4.5 million for the work, with Morris County’s share to be $122,600 to finance police traffic costs, liability insurance and the relocation of a fire hydrant.
“This is a much needed road improvement project that will enhance motor vehicle and pedestrian safety at outdated intersections on this heavily traveled artery, and also improve traffic flow on this major commuter route that runs through Randolph,’’ said Freeholder David Scapicchio, the Freeholder Board’s liaison on public works issues. “The current configuration of intersections has long needed significant upgrades. We’re glad this project is finally going to happen.’’
Sussex Turnpike has been under design for safety and capacity improvements by the New Jersey Department of Transportation since the 1970’s. More recently, the state DOT project was transferred to Morris County for completion.
The following improvements will take place with the Sussex Turnpike Improvement Project:
- The intersection of Sussex Turnpike and Dover-Chester Road will be widened to accommodate left turn lanes on all approaches. A new traffic signal will be installed. Pedestrian ramps that can accommodate persons with disabilities will be installed.
- At the intersection of Sussex Turnpike and Calais Road, Sussex Turnpike will be widened to allow for installation of a westbound left turn lane into Calais Road. Calais Road will be realigned to form a 90 degree intersection with Sussex Turnpike. Underground signal equipment will be installed for a potential future traffic signal.
- The section of Sussex Turnpike between Harvey Terrace and West Hanover Avenue will be widened to accommodate left turn lanes at intersections.
- The traffic signal at Sussex Turnpike and Millbrook Avenue will be replaced and pedestrian ramps that can accommodate persons with disabilities will be installed.
- West Hanover Avenue will be realigned to intersect Sussex Turnpike directly across from Brookside Road. Approximately 800 feet of West Hanover Avenue will be relocated to install this improvement.
- A new traffic signal will be installed at the West Hanover Avenue, Brookside Road and Sussex Turnpike interconnection. Pedestrian ramps that can accommodate persons with disabilities will be installed.
- The existing drainage system along Sussex Avenue will be modified. A new detention basin will be constructed where West Hanover Avenue now intersects with Sussex Turnpike.
- April 28th at 10am: A pre-construction meeting will be held in the County of Morris Planning Department’s conference room for Municipal officials, NJDOT, utilities and the contractor.
- April 28th from 4pm to 6pm: A public information center meeting will be held at the Township of Randolph Municipal Building for property and business owners directly adjacent to the construction project. Property owners within 200’ of the project were notified with a direct mailing.
- April 28th from 6pm to 8pm: A public information center meeting will be held at the Township of Randolph Municipal Building for ALL residents of Randolph and other interested parties about the project. The Township has advertised this meeting to their residents through various electronic methods.
For more information on the project, please visit: http://morrisdot.org/projects/sussextpke.asp
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