Island County health organizations recently recognized eight South Whidbey High School students.
The Board of Health and Community Health Advisory Board named the South Whidbey High School Forefront Peer-to-Peer Trainers as the group winners of the 2019 Linda Lee Martens Community Health Hero Award.
Clare Martin, Dexter Jokinen, Emma Hodson, Maliyah Hjelmstad, Rakeem Heino, Alexa Johnson, Ashley Lynch and Chandra Wallace are part of a University of Washington-sponsored program to raise awareness of and prevent youth suicide, according to a press release.
The team was created in response to Healthy Youth surveys showing that between 22 to 26 percent of Island County eighth through 12th graders had seriously considered suicide.
These students volunteered their time to undergo training, give suicide prevention presentations and create projects to help the school “be a safe place for all students,” the press release states.
“It takes courage, strength and conviction to stand out among peers, especially in high school,” the press release states. “For standing out to advocate for life, these eight students are challenging the status quo and stepping up to be heroes that save lives.”
The Board of Health also named Mitch Incarnato as the individual winner for his work as a court appointed special advocate for children who have been removed from their homes.
He also volunteers with his food bank, at WhidbeyHealth Hospice, with South Water Stewards, at the Langley Whale Center and with Hearts & Hammers.