Durango High School senior Brooke Buccowich wants everyone to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long or dark it might seem.
To help raise money for suicide prevention efforts in La Plata County, Buccowich started the Share the Light campaign in December through a partnership with the consignment shop ReLove, 1301 Florida Road.
The decision was partially driven by her aunt, who died by suicide in 2016, Buccowich said.
“My overall goal with this is to get the message across that there is help out there,” she said. “I found this was a great way to do it.”
Buccowich encourages people to donate lamps – or any piece of furniture – at ReLove on behalf of the Share the Light campaign. When the piece is designated as a donation for the campaign, 75 percent of the proceeds from the sale go to the Second Wind Fund, a statewide nonprofit that serves youth at risk of suicide, and 25 percent goes to the store.
Chris Weiss, development director for Second Wind Fund, said the organization works with local school districts.
School counselors can reach out to the organization if they have a student at risk of suicide, and Second Wind Fund will respond with a list of local therapists who will work with the student and his or her family at no cost. Weiss said Second Wind Fund received 12 referrals from La Plata County during the 2016-17 school year.
“The family can interview any and all people on that list, and typically get in with that therapist within a week,” he said. “Most first appointments take much longer. I even heard there was a 52-day wait to get in with a therapist, and when we are dealing with suicide, that’s not acceptable.”
The therapist bills Second Wind Fund for the appointment, and the organization will pay for up to 12 appointments, if needed.
Weiss said Buccowich’s work to raise money is invaluable. “I wish more youth would do this for us, particularly on the Western Slope,” he said. “It’s really awesome that she’s doing this because this is one hell of an issue throughout the state, particularly with places not in the metro area where not many resources are available.”
ReLove co-owner Julie Brown was so touched by Buccowich’s vision that she started to cry when she was presented with the idea.
“It took me by surprise, and I had to give her a hug,” she said. “I am so impressed by her.”
Brown said consignors have been receptive to the campaign. One woman even wrote a check to donate directly to Buccowich’s cause.
So far, eight lamps have been donated to ReLove on behalf of Share the Light, and three have been sold, Brown said.
If Share the Light changes even one person’s life, it will have all been worth it, Buccowich said. “It’s really heartwarming to know that this project has an impact on people,” she said.