Friday, September 10, 2021

Windham resident striving to make a difference in our communities

Windham resident Chelsie Potter is a team
captain for the Out of the Darkness Greater Portland
Area Walk to promote suicide awareness on Sept.
19 in Portland. She's also heading up a bottle
drive to raise money for the American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
By Collette Hayes

Windham resident Chelsie Potter has been participating in charity work for most of her life. She has participated in bottle drives, food pantries, soup kitchens, a number of charity walks, fundraisers and local events to support local and national non-profit organizations and currently she is a team captain for the Out of the Darkness Greater Portland Area Walk to promote suicide awareness.

The event will be held Sept. 19 in the Fort Allen Park, Eastern Promenade in Portland. The walk is in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s bold goal of reducing suicide by 20 percent by 2025.

Potter is collecting donations for the event as well as sponsoring a glass bottle donation fundraiser. The deadline for making a donation to her initiative is Sept. 16 and she says that 100 percent of the money received will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

She’s continually looking for ways to personally improve herself so she can make a positive contribution to the lives of others. A few years ago, Potter completed training to become a Personal Support Specialist, allowing her to provide in home care and companionship to a number of senior citizens.

In addition, she has participated in training and has completed several walks and fundraisers for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Foundation as well as the Alzheimer’s Foundation and the Red Cross. Recently, Potter completed suicide prevention training from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and decided to collect donations for the foundation.

The Maine Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention focuses on innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs and reaching out to those who have lost someone to suicide.

According to Potter, a goal of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is to teach individuals how to start a needed conversation that might be difficult.

“If you feel someone might be struggling in some way, it is important not to be afraid to ask how they are doing beyond how are you,” Potter said. “Normalizing difficult conversations provides hope to those struggling. We have to dig deeper and connect with people on a more emotional level. Being willing to be vulnerable and to have those needed conversations might save a life.”

Many times, suicide is the result of the response to a traumatic event, Potter said.

“Often times individuals have no idea how to handle a situation when something goes horribly wrong like losing a loved one, experiencing a tragic accident or when one is being left behind,” she said. “During those challenging life events, individuals need resources for coping and a strong external support system available to them.”

Everyday events such as returning to school for students this fall during the Covid-19 pandemic, can increase fear, stress and worry for many parents and students, Potter said.

Teachers can help children with the transition from home to school by promoting social and emotional learning in the classroom. With the right educational support system including well-established and consistent daily procedures and routines that support expectations, students can become part of a strong classroom community where they feel safe to learn new things and thrive.

Potter said that she is sponsoring a glass bottle donation as well as collecting donations for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you are interested in donating to this cause, text her  at 207-699-6339.

To learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, call Shamera Simpson at 603-318-6517. Maine provides a Crisis Hotline for those needing immediate help, 1-888-568-1112. <

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments Help Improve Your Community.