The Community Overcoming Depressed Youth (CODY) Project will host its second Mental Health Mardi Gras on May 4.
This pro-social, free community event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Exhibit Hall at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. The purpose of the event is to celebrate the life of Cody Ledford, who died by suicide two years ago.
Cody was a member of La Plata County 4-H. I got to know Cody through many 4-H camps, field trips and county fairs. His smile was contagious, and we miss him dearly every day.
Our project team strives to find meaningful ways to engage youths and families struggling with mental health concerns. We provide a monthly Family In Need Support Group. This group, led by 4-H volunteers Rhonda Ledford and Jessie Kugle, meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at the fairgrounds. In addition, we provide events that destigmatize mental health issues and raise awareness about suicide prevention efforts.
The Mental Health Mardi Gras will have extreme games for youths to take part in. These include a 20-foot slide, human foosball, whack-a-mole and the hugely popular Meltdown activity. These fun games provide an informal setting to emphasize to all youths that “you matter.”
The event is also a celebration of all the important work our community partners have been doing on these topics. Many members of the La Plata County Suicide Prevention Collaborative will be on-hand to provide resources for youths and families. We are also organizing an educational training to provide intervention skills for concerned residents.
This is a free event and will be inclusive to all members of our community. However, this year, we will also offer a free pulled pork dinner for people who come with a ticket. Tickets can be obtained by calling La Plata County 4-H at 382-6465 or stopping by the Extension Office, 2500 Main Ave. Ticket-holders will be eligible for door prizes. Tickets are not required to attend but are encouraged.
The CODY Project thanks all of its partnering organizations and supporters for helping to promote and contribute to this event. The Mardi Gras really is a community effort. Mental health is not the easiest topic to address, however, we invite the conversations to move forward for the benefit of our youths and families.
If you would like more information about this event or about joining the project team, call me. The team meets the third Wednesday of the month at the Extension Office.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 Mental Health Mardi Gras.
Greg Felsen is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6463.Greg Felsen