HERRIMAN, Utah — Elementary school students are proving it doesn’t matter what age you are to make a difference.
Student leaders at Athlos Academy are concerned about the issue of teen suicide in their community.
Several students at Herriman High School, located on the same street as Athlos Academy, have taken their own lives this school year.
“One of the reasons people have suicides is because they think that no one cares about them,” said Isaac Cummings, an Athlos Academy 6th grade student.
While they are still a few years away from attending high school, the Athlos students understand the issue that is facing the community where they live and they can feel the sadness and grief.
The two schools are located on the same road, just feet away from each other.
Earlier this week, the Athlos students decided to do a service project for Herriman High School, and 22 students designed signs inscribed with inspirational messages of support.
“I made a poster that said, ‘you have a purpose in life,’” said 5th grader Mirra Patterson. “I think a lot of the things that have been happening is people thinking that no one cares and they have nothing to live for, but I think everyone has a purpose.”
Another student came up with a poem for his sign.
“You are unique, that's who you are, so why don’t you show them you’re a shining star,” was written on the sign held by Cummings.
Friday morning, the students held their signs and lined up on the sidewalk of South Mustang Trail Way to greet their older peers with the messages of encouragement as they arrived at the school.
“They were honking and smiling and stuff,” Patterson said. “I couldn’t help but smile, too.”
The small act of compassion didn’t go unnoticed.
“I teared up,” said Bethany Zeyer, a mother of a Herriman High School student.
She was driving seven high school students when they drove past the younger students.
“I thought, what a great community we live in that there was a need and people have risen up,” Zeyer said as her voice cracked with emotion.
The Athlos students hope the high schoolers hear their message.
“I want people to know that even if you’re different, there are still people looking out for you,” Cummings said.
They realize a small gesture of love and support can make a difference in the lives of others living in the community.
“We want to show them how much we love them,” said Ryleigh Herrera, a 4th grade student.
Resources are available to anyone who is having thoughts of suicide. The "SafeUT" app can connect individuals to a counselor.
People can also call 1-800-273-TALK. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts.