Students at Phoenix Coding Academy are tackling a difficult topic and showing compassion for their peers.
Their efforts also have paid off in the form of an award. They worked together to turn more than 860 messages of hope into links in a Connections of Hope Paper Chain as part of a school competition sponsored by Teen Lifeline during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Students wrote inspirational messages, many of them in binary code, that could benefit any student, with the idea that students who are having a bad day could tear off a link, and take a positive message with them.
Phoenix Coding Academy won $1,000 in the Teen Lifeline contest for making the most links per student enrolled at the school. Students will decide how to spend the money but the goal is to use it on a project that creates lasting hope on the campus.
Teens and faculty from Phoenix Coding Academy participated in a special ceremony to encircle the Arizona Capitol building with the Connections of Hope Paper Chain in September.
Students at North High School also took part in the competition, making more than 1,400 links for Connections of Hope Paper Chain. Eleven high schools participated in the competition.
Lorry Bottrill, president and CEO of Mercy Care, which was a sponsor of the contest, said officials have heard many times at suicide prevention and awareness trainings for school employees that these kinds of connections students form make a big difference for young people who might be at risk of suicide.
Teen Lifeline is a non-profit, Phoenix-based organization that offers a safe, confidential and vital crisis intervention service for teenagers around the state. It aims to address the problem of teen suicide and to empower youths to make healthy choices through its peer-to-peer crisis hotline and text messaging service, as well as other programs. To seek help, teens can call or text Teen Lifeline at 602-248-TEEN (8336) or 800-248-TEEN. To learn more, visit https://teenlifeline.org.