Butterflies to be released for a cause

Leslie Silverman
A butterfly release to benefit the Front Porch Coalition will take place at Watson Park at the Keystone Hometown Celebration on Sep 18.
 A butterfly release is a symbolic way to release loss or let go of any emotional  burden or trauma that no longer serves a purpose in a person’s  life. Many also participate in a release to provide a sense of community or to see the many butterflies simultaneously let go.
The release coincides with National Suicide Prevention month. The Front Porch Colation is a local nonprofit that works in suicide prevention. The organization is a cornerstone in  the lives of people in the Black Hills region who have been impacted by suicide. 
The organization is staffed by three people each of whom have been directly affected by suicide. 
“We’re bringing the conversation to the front porch to let the community know suicide prevention needs to be everyone’s business.” says Bridget Swier, director of outreach and communication. “Suicide loss is a demographic no one wants to be part of. We can all participate in lessening the impact of suicide in our community through education and having the tough conversations about mental health.”
The Coalition offers insight on how to have compassionate conversations on this delicate issue. 
The Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS)  team has served at least 100 people in 2021 throughout Pennington, Meade and parts of Lawrence counties. The Coalition offers  support classes and groups at no charge and fills a gap that exists in services to suicide attempt survivors or familes who have lost a member due to suicide. 
The Front Porch Coalition works with at risk children in the community. Swier explains,  “Our program for youth who may be at high risk for suicide is called Defying Defeat. We work with youth ages 12-18 who may be struggling with the loss of a loved one to suicide, may be at risk for suicide themselves, or need support navigating the many challenges today’s teens face.”
Law enforcement dispatches the coaltion in a suicide situation to offer much needed support.
During the holidays the Coalition steps up its efforts. For the first time ever the organization is hosting a survivors retreat Nov 19-21 as an opportunity for intimate connections for those who are on a healing journey.
The Coalition is always looking for volunteers, donations or sponsors so that these valuable services can continue. The non profit relies heavily on grants, fundraising and sponsorships
The butterfly release is an environmentally friendly way to support the Coalition and its cause. The Coalition has ordered 120 butterflies for the Keystone release. People can preorder their $10 butterfly prior to the release. If butterflies remain, walk ups will also be an option. 
The Front Porch Coalition is dedicated to making strides in the health care system.
As Swier puts it, “we have walked the walk and we use our tragedies to do something positive.”

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